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Fraudulent Application Involving a False Custody Statement

What is a False Custody Statement at the DMV?  –  There is no question that the California Driver License is among the most trusted and therefore, the most coveted government documents issued by the state. Although there are several benefits derived from the possession of the California Driver License, one of the most obvious is the privilege to drive motor vehicles on public roadways. For the most party, this privilege is reserved for those persons who have achieved the age of 16 and complete the entire examination process.

In a few instances, however, an applicant may apply for special permits or restricted licenses that require the authorization and signature of a custodial parent. The primary permits requiring a parental signature are the:

  • Application for Driving Permit “Learner’s Permit” (DL Form 44);
  • Application for Junior Permit (DL Form 120);
  • Application for Critical Need Restriction (DL Form 694).

Application for Driving Permit:  The process of applying for a California driver license often begins with a young person seeking to drive for the first time. Gaining the knowledge and skill necessary to apply for a driver license can take time and patience. The California Legislature recognized this and provided a mechanism for young drivers to learn driving technique and skill through practice driving with other licensed drivers or instructors.

Application for Junior Permit:  The California Legislature recognized that in today’s world, there may be instances where a person under the age of 16 years, may require a special need to drive. The Junior Permit is issued to a candidate who is at least 14 years of age, but not yet 18 years of age. This candidate may apply for a Junior Permit if:

  • The applicant lives in an area where public transportation is not readily available and that limited driving is the only way for the applicant to get to and from school;
  • The applicant or one of his immediate family members suffers with a physical or mental condition requiring doctor’s visits and that limited driving is the only way for the applicant or his immediate family member to attend such appointments.
  • The applicant lives in an area where public transportation is not readily available which prohibits him or her from getting to work and that the applicant’s income is critical to the welfare of the family.

Application for Critical Need Restriction: In those instances where a driver who is under the age of 21 has suffered the suspension or revocation of his or her driver license for an alcohol related event, the California Legislature has recognized that there may be instances where a “restricted” driver license may be necessary to the life and well-being of the driver and his family. Following the suspension or revocation of an underage person’s driver license, he or she may apply for a “Critical Need Restriction” to allow limited driving if they can demonstrate a hardship caused by the suspension. To demonstrate a hardship, the applicant must be under the age of 21 and must establish:

  • The applicant lives in an area where public transportation is not readily available and that limited driving is the only way for the applicant to get to and from school;
  • The applicant or one of his immediate family members suffers with a physical or mental condition requiring doctor’s visits and that limited driving is the only way for the applicant or his immediate family member to attend such appointments.
  • The applicant lives in an area where public transportation is not readily available which prohibits him or her from getting to work and that the applicant’s income is critical to the welfare of the family.

PARENTAL CONSENT:  In the application for the Driving Permit, Junior Permit or Critical Need Restriction, the application must bear the identity and signature of the “custodial parent.” It is critical to establish that the one person most responsible for the applicant, and in the most contact with the applicant, certifies the age and identity of the applicant, or the “hardship” or “critical need” to be true before any Permit or Restricted Driver License will issue.

There are countless examples of “non-custodial” parents or even strangers signing the custody statement in the application in order to secure a driving privilege for a person who otherwise would not qualify. Any person who knowingly and willingly signs a false Custody Statement on a DMV application has committed an act of fraud. If the applicant is aware or participates in the fraudulent application bearing a false custody statement, he or she is equally responsible for an act of fraud and both persons are equally subject to sanctions by the DMV.

All applications for driver license, permits or restrictions are signed “under the penalty of perjury.” When applying for a Drivers Permit, Junior Permit or the Critical Need Restriction, both the applicant and the purported custodial parent sign, under the penalty of perjury, that the information contained within the application is true and correct. If any person files an application with the DMV which misrepresents that he or she is the applicant’s custodial parent, it is an act of fraud. Also, if any applicant allows an application to be filed with the DMV bearing the false identity of a custodial parent, the applicant has also committed an act of fraud.

Applicant: If an applicant has committed an act of fraud by filing an application for Drivers Permit, Junior Permit or Critical Need Restriction bearing a false custody statement, the DMV may deny or withdraw any Drivers Permit, Junior Permit or Critical Need Restricted driver license that was issued. Also, the DMV may refuse to issue a driver license to the applicant until one year has lapsed, or the applicant has reached the age of 18 years; whichever is longer.

False Custodial Parent: If any person has committed an act of fraud by signing a false custody statement on any application to the DMV, he or she may have their current California driver license suspended or revoked by the DMV for period of one year.

How can I protect myself at the DMV?

If you are an underage applicant who has allowed a “non-custodial” parent to sign a false custody statement for you, or if you are the person who actually did, you each are subject to sanctions by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that can involve the suspension or revocation of your driver license.

If you have received an “Order of Suspension/Revocation” in the mail in which the DMV accuses you of fraudulent activity, the DMV is telling you that their investigation is complete and they are convinced you committed an act of fraud. The order is not suggesting that you may be in trouble; it is telling you that YOU ARE in trouble.

Whether you are 100% guilty and made a mistake, or if you are 100% innocent and the DMV has the information all wrong; you are entitled to fight to protect yourself. Before the DMV can take any action to suspend or revoke a driver license, the accused must be given an opportunity to reverse that action by participating in a Fraudulent Activity Hearing. This type of hearing is a complicated and frustrating area of Administrative Law, especially for those who have no experience in the matter. The Fraudulent Activity Hearing is run similar to a mini-trial where evidence is presented, witnesses may testify, and legal arguments are filed. Also, the Fraudulent Activity Hearing is audio recorded so any statements, comments or admissions that a driver makes in a hearing are subject to being discovered by a police agency or District Attorney. The bottom line is these matters are too complicated to attempt on your own.

Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates (CDA). We have been fighting and winning administrative hearings with the DMV for years.   We have the knowledge, the experience and the desire to keep you driving when others are not up to the task. Call us today, we’re ready to begin working for you.

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