Filing a false name or date of birth when applying for a California Driver License – As mentioned in other chapters of this site, the California Driver License is an enormously valuable and trusted document issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The California Driver License is relied upon by merchants and lending institutions to ensure they are dealing with truly identified person. The California Driver License qualifies the holder to receive a score of benefits and programs only intended for California residents. Finally, the California Driver License certifies that the card holder is qualified to operate a certain class of motor vehicle. Few government documents carry the power or the prestige of the California Driver License.
Consequently, the citizens of the State of California must be able to rely on the presumption that a person holding a California Driver License has been properly identified, vetted and qualified to hold the driver license. Because of this, the integrity of the DMV’s application process must be preserved.
One of the most classic ways that fraud is committed during the application process is when an applicant for the California Driver License misidentifies themselves by using a false name or date of birth. In the automated world we live in, a person’s name and date of birth are normally a reliable means to verifying identification. When a person knowingly submits a false name and/or date of birth during the application process for a California Driver License, it is often because they are trying to establish a new identity. Perhaps an applicant is running away from a criminal past or trying to avoid being found by an abusive ex-spouse. Even though an applicant may feel they have a valid reason for filing a false name or date of birth, it is still an act of fraud.
This type of fraud is often committed by a person who has never held a California Driver License; however, it is not uncommon for a person who already holds a valid driver license to file false information during the application to renew the driver license or to apply for another license under a fraudulent name.
California is a melding pot of various cultures where identification may be established differently that what is the norm in California. For example, in many Latin cultures, a male may have a first name, middle name and then two last names (mother and father’s name) and so it is easy for confusion to occur when the involved person uses a combination of the last names. This is not necessarily done for a fraudulent purpose but it certainly could be mistaken for a criminal act. Based on this it is not uncommon for completely innocent people to be caught up in the mistaken belief they have committed an act of fraud. Mistakes do occur.
To hold a person accountable for fraud, the DMV must establish that the involved party knowingly and willingly submitted a false name or date of birth during the application process with the intent of defrauding the state by obtaining a driver license with false information.
What are the penalties for using a false name or date of birth at the DMV?
If the DMV suspects that any person has committed an act of fraud by submitting a false name or date of birth during the application for a California Driver License, the department will immediately stop the application process and conduct an internal investigation. Once the DMV has reviewed its internal evidence, a decision will be to determine whether or not fraud has been committed. If the DMV concludes that a person has committed an act of fraud during the application process there are three possible consequences:
- The DMV will refuse to grant the driver license to the applicant and close the file. In this instance, the applicant may not re-apply for a driver license for one-year.
- If the suspected person already holds a California Driver License, the DMV will immediately begin the process to suspend or revoke the driver license. If the DMV is successful in suspending or revoking the driver license, the driver may not re-apply for licensing for one year.
- In addition to taking one of the above actions, the DMV may take the extraordinary step of filing a report with the local District Attorney’s office and ask for a criminal filing.
How can I protect myself?
Normally a person will learn they have become the focus of a DMV suspension or revocation action by receiving a notice in the mail. If you have received an “Order of Suspension/Revocation” which alleges you have committed and act of fraud, you should make no mistake, the DMV is not suggesting they may take an action against you. If you have received such an order in the mail, this means the DMV has already conducted its internal investigation and is convinced they have the information necessary to deny, suspend or revoke your driver license. By the time you receive the notice in the mail, the process of denying, suspending or revoking your driver license has already begun.
It is never a good idea to take on any government agency without guidance and the DMV is no exception. Before the DMV can deny, suspend or revoke your driver license, you must be given an opportunity to defend yourself and to present evidence that disproves the DMV’s suspicion. These hearings are known as Fraudulent Activity Hearings and are run very similar to mini-trials. Exhibits are introduced, objections are made, evidence is considered and witnesses may testify. The Fraudulent Activity Hearing is run in strict accordance with the provisions of Administrative Law. Few California citizens are versed in this area of law and even fewer understand how to fight the DMV
If the protection of your reputation and your driving privilege are important, don’t fight the DMV alone. Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates. Our team of former police officers, DMV hearing officers, investigators and scientists, have represented clients in every Driver Safety Office in California and in every type of administrative hearing conducted by the DMV. We specialize in Fraudulent Activity Hearings and are ready to put our training and experience to work for you. Call CDA today……….. We can help