Case History: California Drivers Advocates was retained to represent a Client whose driver license had been automatically suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles after the department received a Request for Re-Examination from a Veteran’s Administration doctor reporting that that he had suffered black-outs and fainting spells.
Our 64 year old client is a retired Naval Officer with 18 years of service to our country. He is highly educated, holding both a Bachelor’s Degree and an MBA. Currently he owns and operates his own business that requires him to drive extensively. The loss of his driver license was a devastating blow.
During the summer of 2016, our client was on an extended vacation and was touring the US by car. During his trip, he drove more than 6,000 miles driving coast to coast. One evening in August, he was driving through Virginia trying to make his way to a relative’s home for the night. He had driven more than 350 miles that day and was trying to make it to his family’s home before resting. While driving on freeway, he fell asleep at the wheel, and sideswiped a K-Rail. He stopped to ensure no one else was involved and then drove off the freeway to rest and grab a cup of coffee.
After returning to California in October 2016, he went to a scheduled doctor’s appointment at the VA in Loma Linda for a regular check-up. During that visit, it was discovered that his blood/sugar levels were dangerously high and he was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. While being interviewed by his doctor, our Client mentioned the incident that had occurred while driving in Virginia two months earlier and the doctor immediately jumped to the conclusion that he must have suffered a Lapse of Consciousness related to Diabetes. The doctor took the initiative to report the event to the DMV and that resulted in the immediate suspension of his driver license.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position is always crystal clear in cases like this. Because the information provided by the primary physician was that our client had suffered from “black outs and fainting spells,” it was presumed he posed a hazard to the motoring public and the DMV immediately issued an order removing him from the road. The DMV blindly relied upon the report of a doctor who was acting on two-month old information to take an immediate act. Essentially the DMV presumed the worst and decided to shoot first and ask questions later. It was the department’s plan to hold our client’s driver license in suspension until they were convinced he was safe to drive.
Our Defense: When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to schedule his “Lapse of Consciousness” hearing with the Driver Safety Office in San Bernardino.
As is our normal practice, our defense began with an extensive interview with our client. It is imperative that we understand exactly who our client is and how he got to the point of suspension. Understanding our client’s history and circumstance allows us to present them as a human being before the DMV, not just a number.
During the interview, we carefully examined our client’s personal history, medical history, driving history and criminal history. We examined the driving event that had occurred in Virginia and then carefully reviewed the DMV’s evidence.
After our interview was complete, we prepared a comprehensive plan to collect valid medical evidence to demonstrate our client’s fitness to drive. Appointments were scheduled with a new primary care doctor, cardiologist, neurologist and endocrinologist. Extensive tests were run and finally the consensus was that our client had fallen asleep while driving. There was no evidence of a Lapse of Consciousness related to diabetes or any other medical disorder.
After weeks of preparation, we were ready to present our case. Years of experience in representing drivers has taught us to be prepared for anything. Because of this, our client was prepared for a written test, a vision test and a driving test if required. Fortunately, none of that was required, but our client was fully prepared in the event it had been.
Without question, one of the most critical steps in preparing an Administrative Hearing is to prepare our clients to testify. When testifying, our clients must be knowledgeable of their medical condition, medications they take and the impact on driving. They must testify with great credibility and confidence. We spent so much time preparing our client for testimony that at the end of his direct examination, the hearing officer asked a total of two questions. This was because we addressed all of the department’s concerns.
If the DMV is in the process of taking you off the road, call us today. We can help!
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include Administrative Advocates, 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 or revoked because you suffer with a physical or mental disorder characterized by a Lapse of Consciousness or control, don’t despair. There are thousands of Californians with challenging medical conditions who drive every day because they can prove that they medically stable. Just because a person has diabetes, epilepsy or any other medical disorder, they may still be able to retain their privilege to drive.
These hearings can be won and you can be returned to driving. Let us get you there. Don’t let the DMV steal your driver license without a fight.