What is an unlawful examination at the DMV?
There is no question that the California driver license is one of the most sought after documents issued by the State of California. By issuing a California driver license to an applicant, the California Department of Motor Vehicles certifies that the holder of the license: Has demonstrated proper proof of identification; Has demonstrated proper proof of lawful presence in the state and Has demonstrated that he or she possesses the requisite knowledge and skill to operate a motor vehicle.
For an applicant to be awarded the California driver license, he or she must pass a vision test and a written examination that demonstrates the person’s knowledge of traffic laws and road signs. By challenging and passing the written examination, the applicant demonstrates that he or she possesses enough knowledge to safely drive on the road with the rest of us.
The danger presented by a person fraudulently obtaining a driver license by cheating on the written examination is immeasurable. Allowing untrained and unskilled people to drive a motor vehicle can result in indescribable misery and property damage. This is why it is unlawful for any person to circumvent the written examination process, in any way.
Classically fraudulent activity during the written examination occurs when a person is:
- First applying for the issuance of a California driver license, or;
- Applying to renew or upgrade their existing driver license.
The most common instances of fraudulent activity during the written examination process occur in three ways:
- A person taking the written examination cheats by referring to a “crib sheet” or “cheat sheet” for answers to test questions. There are many examples of applicants writing notes on their arms, hands or clothing. Some applicants will boldly open a Driver Handbook to search for answers to test questions. We have seen cases where applicants will use smart phones or other electronic devices to search for answers to questions on the written examination. We have even encountered instances where an applicant has used sign language or lip reading to communicate with another person situated nearby to assist the applicant in passing the test. The use of any means, whatsoever, to circumvent the valid testing of one’s knowledge is unlawful.
- A “stand-in” person actually performs the written test in place of the true applicant. For more information, see the topic of “fraudulent application” elsewhere in our site.
California Vehicle Code section 14610.5 (a)(1)….. determines: “It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, distribute, or use any crib sheet or cribbing device that contains the answers to any examination administered by the department for any class of driver’s license, permit or certificate.
California Vehicle Code section 14610.5 (a)(2)…..determines: “It is unlawful for any person to impersonate or allow the impersonation of an applicant for any class of driver’s license, permit or certificate for the purpose of fraudulently qualifying the applicant for any class of driver’s license, permit or certificate.”
California Vehicle Code section 14610.5 (b)…..determines: “A first conviction under this section is punishable as either an infraction or a misdemeanor; a second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a misdemeanor.”
What are my rights if accused of an unlawful examination?
There is no question that occasions arise when a person will legitimately violate the law by cheating on a written examination at the DMV. Even when a person has made a genuinely poor choice and has acted unlawfully, they are entitled to be defended.
In some instances, however, a DMV employee may be mistaken in their assumption that they caught a person cheating on a written test; in this case, the allegation is just wrong. What often happens is that a person who is taking a written test honestly and legally gets distracted or frustrated with a difficult question and then acts impulsively to look up an answer from a study source. This is often an unconscious act and without any ill will at all. While this person has violated the “letter” of the law, they may not have violated the “spirit” of the law.
In either instance, an accused person is entitled to their rights. If you have been accused of fraudulent activity, you have the right to:
- Challenge any evidence against you;
- Cross-examine any witness against you;
- Present your own evidence;
- Present your own witnesses;
- Testify on your own behalf;
- BE REPRESENTED BY A PERSON OF YOUR CHOOSING;
- Be provided an interpreter if necessary;
- Be provided a “Notice of Findings and Decision” in writing;
- Appeal any adverse decision.
If you have been accused of Fraudulent Activity by cheating on a written examination at the DMV, you should be clear that you are charged with a serious offense. The DMV will act quickly to deny, suspend or revoke a driver license unless you move quickly to prevent it. In the worst case scenario, the DMV may refer the matter to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.
Before any of this can occur, however, you are entitled to defend yourself by demanding a Fraudulent Activity Hearing at your local Office of Driver Safety. These are complicated, evidentiary hearings where evidence is presented, witnesses may testify, objections are filed and legal arguments are made. These hearings are similar to “mini-trials” and must be handled correctly.
Call CDA today. Let our team of DMV Defense Experts begin working to protect you.
The DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates use a team approach to DMV defense. We are made up of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators and forensic scientists. Whatever your case requires, we are ready to provide. Beating the DMV at its own game is our calling. Protecting your driving privilege and your legal rights is our passion. Don’t take on the DMV alone. Call us today.