Scheduling an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing
If you have applied for, or are the current holder of an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, you are among the most trusted professional drivers in the State of California. If you are asking us how to schedule an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), something has occurred that is placing your Special Certificate and your professional driving career in jeopardy. It is likely you have received notification in the mail that the DMV is acting to refuse, suspend, or revoke your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate to operate emergency ambulances. This is not a warning letter that the DMV MAY refuse, suspend, or revoke your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate. This notice is much more ominous than that. The “ORDER OF REFUSAL/SUSPENSION/REVOCATION” is the DMV’s notice that they have received information that makes you ineligible to operate emergency ambulances and that they are taking you off the road………. Period!
This is not a game, this is not a warning. The action has already begun and it is your obligation to take the steps necessary to reverse it.
The Notice of Refusal/Suspension/Revocation received in the mail will document the reason for the action, the effective date of the action, and the fact that you have a right to a hearing. To schedule an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing you must make contact with the Driver Safety Headquarters in Sacramento. The law mandates specified periods of time during which a driver must make this initial contact. For those drivers holding the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, you must take action to protect your Special Certificate within 10 days following receipt of the notification or the DMV’s action will take effect as scheduled. To be clear, that is 10-days from the date the order was written.
To properly schedule a Special Certificate Hearing, a driver must:
- Take immediate action to ensure that a proper, written, request for Special Certificate Hearing is received by the proper division of the DMV Headquarters Office in Sacramento. It is in your best interest to make both a written request and a telephonic request.
- Request that the hearing be convened at a Driver Safety Office of the your choosing. The DMV prefers to set these hearings at the Driver Safety Office closes to your home, however, in some instances it may be in your best interest to schedule your hearing at a location that is known for being more “friendly” to Special Certificate holders.
- Make every effort to ensure your case is assigned to a favorable Hearing Officer.
- Consider filing a request to “Stay” the suspension or revocation of the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate. The DMV has a practice of refusing a request to stay the suspension or revocation of a Special Certificate without a foundational finding that the driver’s continued operation of a specialized vehicle will not endanger the public. Every effort should be presented to establish a foundation basis for a Stay of the action so that you may continue working while your case is developing.
- Back up any and all communication with the DMV in writing. It is common for the DMV to misplace information or forget conversations. Things will often “fall through the cracks” and if you are unable to prove your timely communication with the DMV you can end up losing your right to a hearing.
If the loss of your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate is something you simply cannot endure, you have no choice but to fight the DMV. The best course of action is to contact the DMV Experts at California Drivers Advocates. We know how to properly access the DMV to schedule a hearing. We know how to apply for an order to Stay the action and, most importantly, we know how to win an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing.
It is critical that you be represented by an Administrative Advocate or attorney to insure that the special certificate hearing officer correctly reviews all of the evidence.
What Happens if I Fail to Schedule an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing?
The short answer is that the DMV’s intended refusal, suspension, or revocation of your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate WILL take effect as scheduled. At that moment, you may not operate an emergency ambulance. In most instances, this will cause an employer to suspend or terminate your employment because they must be able to rely on both members of an ambulance crew being able to drive.
Suspensions or revocations of this nature are for a one-year period of time. Generally, a person is eligible to apply for reinstatement of their Special Certificate after that period of time, however, there are some instances where the period may be longer.
The California Vehicle Code makes it perfectly legal for the DMV to seize your Special Certificate with little or no evidence to support the action. By sending you the Notice of Refusal/Suspension/Revocation, the DMV telling you that they are taking you off the road, but they are inviting you to show them why the action is not warranted.
What happens at an Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate Hearing?
Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate Hearings are run in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the California Code of Regulations (CCR). These proceedings are run very much like a mini-trial. Evidence is presented and argued. Investigation are explained. Experts and witnesses may testify. Legal arguments are waged and legal decisions are rendered. To be successful in a hearing of this nature, you or your Advocate must have a commanding knowledge of the California Vehicle Code, the Evidence Code and DMV doctrine and protocol.
There is so much riding on this hearing that is simply must be dealt with correctly.
Steps to a successful Ambulance Driver Certificate Hearing: Remember that Ambulance Drivers are among the most trusted of all professional drivers because they are responsible for safely transporting the most vulnerable people. Because the preservation of one’s Special Certificate is so important, a great number to things come into play in the preparation of a hearing:
- Retain the Services of an expert in conducting Ambulance Driver Certificate Hearings. As soon as you receive your “Order of Refusal, Suspension or Revocation,” you should telephone California Drivers Advocates. Retaining is us simple and quick.
- Request a Special Certificate Hearing. Immediately upon being retained as your representative, we contact the “Special Certificate Unit” in Sacramento to request a hearing and a stay of suspension. This contact is made both in writing and by telephone so that nothing fall through the cracks. As long as our request is made within 10 days of the date the order was written, the DMV must grant the hearing. In almost all instances the DMV will deny a request to stay the suspension. It does happen but it is very, very rare.
- Conduct an intake interview. Once we have be retained and a hearing has been set, we then begin the real work. This begins with an extensive interview where we learn all about who you are as a person, your medical history, driving history, employment history, and criminal history. We need to explore in great detail the issues that are the point of interest for the DMV. Knowing all we can in the beginning is vital to success.
- Prep a “Game Plan.” A Game plan is essentially a check list of things to be done. This may include visiting a variety of physicians if we need to prove you are fit to drive. We may have you collecting documents or contacting witnesses for us.
- Study the DMV’s Discovery. California Law mandates that the DMV provide us copies of any documentation they intend to use against your client. We share this information you and begin exploring the case to uncover weaknesses or inaccuracies.
- This is probably the single most important step in preparing for an Ambulance Certificate Hearing. We will know what the DMV thinks and will begin a detailed investigation to rebut that information. This step my include review of medical or legal evidence. This may include scene inspections. It may include locating and interviewing valuable witnesses. The bottom line is we must turn over every rock to find and create an aggressive defense.
- Compiling Evidence. In this phase of the case, we are compiling and preparing all of the evidence we intend to introduce at the hearing. The Government Code requires that we present only relevant evidence that is timely and properly presented. The Government Code also requires that we present our evidence at least 10-days before the hearing.
- Preparation for Testimony. In this phase of the case, we prepare you for testimony at your hearing. You absolutely must testified but you absolutely must testify in the correct manner. Essentially, you have to say the right things. With a commanding knowledge of your case, we prepare a list of “Direct Examination Questions” that we present to you in advance of the hearing and then we practice your testimony until you are completely ready. We also prepare you to be cross-examined by the hearing officer.
- Conduct the Hearing. Once we have filed all of our evidence with the hearing officer and have prepared you for testimony, we are ready to conduct the hearing. Presently, the DMV is conducting all of their administrative hearings by telephone. Whether in-person or by telephone, we are with you every step of the way. We represent you, we speak for you and we guide you. Evidence is presented, testimony is taken and arguments are made. In the end, the hearing officer will announce the hearing is closed and that he/she will be making a recommendation to the Certificate Action Review Board (CARB).
- Review by Certificate Action Review Board (CARB). The Certificate Action Review Board is a panel of three professional members; one each from the California Highway Patrol, Emergency Services, and the DMV. The CARB meet once per month to review the recommendations of Hearing Officers at the end of a hearing. It is the CARB that makes a final determination on your Special Certificate……… not the hearing officer. The decision of the CARB is final and can only be appealed to the Superior Court.
- Final Decision. The possible outcomes are:
- The CARB can send the case back to the Hearing Officer for additional work.
- The CARB may sustain the suspension/revocation and you may not reapply for one year; from the date of suspension/revocation.
- The CARB may “Set Aside” the suspension/revocation and your Special Certificate is immediately reinstated.
- Follow-Up. We will be there for any final follow-up. Final conversations with the CARB, the hearing officer or your employer. Any final work to ensure you are once again operating emergency ambulances.
Let us Schedule Your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing.
If you fail to schedule an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing, the only person who loses is you. Don’t let this happen. Call CDA now! If the DMV is acting to refuse, suspend, or revoke your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, it is critically important that you react immediately and with great care. If your career depends on keeping your Special Certificate, you simply can’t afford to make mistakes. There is no other path to maintaining your Special Certificate. You simply must fight, fight, and fight. The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been scheduling, conducting, and winning Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearings for years. Our experience, our training, and our devotion to our craft are a winning combination.