Case History – California Drivers Advocates was retained to defend a client whose driver license had been automatically suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV took an immediate suspension action against our client’s driving privilege after they received a Confidential Morbidity Report from an Emergency Room Physician reporting she had suffered a Lapse of Consciousness while driving and that she was habitually using opiate pain medication.
Our 60 year old client has been disabled for the past three years as a result of a failed surgery to correct Spinal Stenosis and a diagnosis with Schizophrenia.
In October 2015, our Client was in a bad place both physically and mentally. She was recovering from surgery to correct Spinal Stenosis in her neck. The surgery had gone badly and had actually made the situation and her pain levels much worse. As a result, she had become addicted to the use of opiate pain medications and had stopped taking her mental health medications. She was just a mess. She was driving home from a doctor’s appointment when she became disoriented and blacked out. She ended up crashing into an embankment, but fortunately no one was hurt.
The responding law enforcement officers determined that she was under the influence of pain medications and she was arrested for DUI. Although she was prosecuted in Court, the DMV was prohibited from suspending her driver license for a DUI, because she had no alcohol in her blood stream.
The DMV did, however, suspend her driver license because of a physical or mental condition as reported by the emergency room physician.
DMV’s Position- The California DMV’s position is crystal clear in matters of this nature. Throughout a person’s driving career, the DMV will monitor all drivers to ensure they maintain the Knowledge, the Skill and the Physical/Mental fitness to driving. If the DMV receives information from any source; in this case a physician, that an adult has suffered a Lapse of Consciousness or Control; especially when driving, the department will identify that as a clear and present danger to the safety of other drivers and will immediately suspend the driving privilege of the involved party.
So, even though the DMV could not take an action against her for DUI, the department still was able to jerk her off the road for a presumed physical/mental condition that made her unfit to drive.
Our Defense- When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to schedule her “Lapse of Consciousness Hearing” with the Driver Safety Office in the City of San Bernardino. Because the license had been suspended for a Physical or Mental Condition, there was no opportunity for a “Stay of Suspension.”
Our defense began with a detailed interview of the client to determine her complete medical history and the details of what had occurred. We then embarked on a structured and focused path to collect affirmative medical evidence for our case.
As the case began, it became abundantly clear that our Client was not stable and would require some additional time to gain her doctors’ support for a return to driving. As a result, we cancelled the hearing until our Client could establish a period of stability.
Time passed and our Client worked diligently to achieve medical stability. She completely discontinued the use of opiate medications and began controlling he pain levels with Tylenol, exercise and stretching. We were now ready to begin collecting our evidence.
At our direction, our client met with her Primary Care Doctor, a Neurologist, a Psychiatrist, a Pain Management Doctor, and an Optometrist. The DMV would presume the Etiology of the event was for the habitual use of pain medication as well as a mental health disorder. The DMV would expect us to rule out all possibilities of a reoccurrence. It was our goal to present a broad spectrum of valid medical evidence that all physical and mental conditions were stable and under control. We sought to explain that this was an isolated incident that had been properly addressed and that our Client was no longer a danger to driving.
In every instance, extensive medical testing and all of her doctors medically cleared her for driving.
We had thoroughly prepared our Client for all of the possible events that could occur in a hearing. As a result, when she was directed to take a written test, she was prepared. She passed with a score of 100% and passed the vision test.
At the hearing, the assigned hearing officer accepted all of our affirmative evidence without objection. Because our client is a woman of such unblemished integrity, she walked into the hearing confident and ready to tell her story. Because we had taken so much time to prepare her for testimony, she was able to tell her story with great accuracy, honesty and resolve.
The Hearing Officer asks very few questions in cross-examination and then scheduled our Client for a behind the wheel driving test, which she also passed.
Ten days later, we received an “Order of Set Aside” in the mail that completely reinstated our Client’s driving privilege.
Call CDA Today. Let us put you back on the road.
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include former police officers, DMV Hearing Officers, Investigators and Scientists. Our training, our experience and our reputation provide any driver the best opportunity to win their Administrative Hearing.
If your driver license has been suspended because you suffer with a physical or mental condition characterized by a Lapse of Consciousness or Control, don’t despair. Even if it takes time, we’ll be right there with you. You would be astonished how many people are driving right now, simply because they can prove they are medically stable. Let us get you back on the road.