What is a Form DS-326? Any person who operates a motor vehicle in the State of California is subject to the oversight and evaluation of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The California DMV is an enormously powerful government agency with the authorization to remove any person’s privilege to drive in California for a myriad of reasons. One of the more common tactics used by the DMV to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege is because the department suspects that driver has a physical or mental disorder which makes them unsafe to drive.
The Form DS-326, also known as a Driver Medical Evaluation (DME), is a form prepared by the DMV that is provided to medical professionals for the purpose of documenting a driver’s physical or mental health. The DME is a five-page form designed to reveal any physical or mental disorder suffered by a driver, and their doctor’s assessment of their fitness to drive.
Page one of the form allows the accused driver to reveal any physical or mental conditions or disorders, their medical history and any medications that are taken. Pages two through five are specifically intended to reveal a physician’s assessment of that person’s prognosis, treatment regimen and fitness to drive.
The DME is not considered valid evidence by the DMV unless the accused driver has fully executed page one, and unless the reporting physician has signed and dated page five.
How does the DMV use a DS-326? If a driver is suspected of suffering with a physical or mental disorder which can affect their fitness to drive, the driver will very likely be dealing with the enforcement branch of the DMV, known as the Driver Safety Office. Scattered throughout the State of California, the Driver Safety Offices are the DMV’s version of a courthouse. The Driver Safety Offices are staffed by support personnel as well as DMV Hearing Officers. DMV Hearing Officers are the DMV’s version of a Superior Court Judge. These DMV employees wield enormous power and are often the final judge of whether a person is returned to driving or is taken off the road.
It is important to note that when a DMV Hearing Officer receives information that any person suffers with a physical or mental condition, it is automatically presumed that they are not fit to drive on our public roadways. This is 180 degrees from the theory that an accused person is “innocent until proven guilty.” The DMV presumes the person cannot safely drive and they put the obligation on the shoulders of the accused driver to prove otherwise.
The DS-326 is one of the primary instruments used by the DMV to evaluate the physical and/or mental conditions of the driver and to determine what action should be taken in regard to the driving privilege.
Some of the more common physical or mental conditions evaluated by the DMV are:
–Epilepsy or seizure disorders –Diabetes (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia)
–Cardio Vascular disorders –Pulmonary disorders
–Dementia/Alzheimer’s –Cognitive impairments
–Sleep Apnea –Narcolepsy
–Syncope (Fainting) –Vision disorders
–Hearing disorders –Immune System disorders
–Mental Health disorders –Habitual use of drugs, meds or alcohol
Virtually any physical or mental condition or disorder that can be thought to affect one’s ability to drive is subject to investigation by the DMV and can be documented on the DS-326.
If the DMV is demanding that you provide a DS-326, call us Now! If the DMV is demanding that you provide them with a DS-326, it clearly means that the department has either suspended or revoked your driver license; or that they are planning to do so. One of the most common mistakes made by California drivers is the assumption that this is “no big deal” and they can deal with the Driver Safety Office on their own. This is often short-sighted and ends with the suspension or revocation of the driver license.
If the DMV has focused upon you, don’t leave anything to chance. Don’t assume there will be a quick fix. Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates. We will provide you with a free evaluation of your case to determine if you are safe to proceed on your own, or should have the guidance of one of our advocates.