What is a Financial Responsibility Hearing at the DMV? California’s compulsory automobile insurance laws make it mandatory for every person who owns or operates a motor vehicle to be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to be financially responsible for any injuries, death or property damage that occurs as a result of a traffic collision. Prior to 1974, there was no legal mandate of this type and so it was common for those persons who were injured or suffered property damage in traffic collisions to not be compensated for their pain, suffering or losses.
Today, California’s Financial Responsibility Laws mandate that any motor vehicle operated on public roadways must be covered by auto insurance or some other form of financial responsibility. If a person is involved in a reportable traffic collision and cannot demonstrate that their vehicle was properly covered, the driver’s (and in some instances the owner’s) driving privilege must be suspended or revoked.
For the DMV to take a suspension or revocation action against a person’s driving privilege for Financial Responsibility, requires that they establish the following:
- That a reportable traffic collision occurred. A reportable traffic collision is one that involves:
- Any injury to any person, however slight.
- Any fatal injury
- Any property damage which exceeds $750.
- That the driver or owner of any of the involved motor vehicles was not covered by some form of Financial Responsibility at the time of the accident. Fault in the accident is not a consideration.
If the DMV begins an action to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege for failure to maintain Financial Responsibility, the accused person is entitled to schedule and conduct an administrative hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles, known as a Financial Responsibility Hearing.
Why do I need a Financial Responsibility Hearing?
To put it bluntly, if you are accused of violating California’s Financial Responsibility Laws, you must conduct a Financial Responsibility Hearing or your driving privilege WILL BE SUSPENDED.
The process of conducting a Financial Responsibility Hearing normally begins with a person going to their mail box and discovering a letter from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. They will find an “Order of Suspension” prepared by the Financial Responsibility Unit of the DMV in Sacramento. The order will inform the person that their driver license is about to be suspended because they were involved in a traffic collision and did not provide proof of Financial Responsibility.
If this is a simple mistake and your vehicle was properly insured or covered by some other form of Financial Responsibility, you need only fax your proof to the Financial Responsibility Unit at (916) 657-6320 and the matter should resolve quickly.
On the other hand, if there was any lapse of coverage, if your accident did not involve damages exceeding $750 or if no one was injured or killed, you may have a viable defense. Even if you fear the allegation against you is correct, you should still fight for yourself as the DMV has the burden of proving their case, and sometimes, they cannot.
The DMV does not punish a person more severely for fighting to protect themselves. If you fight and lose, the penalties are identical to taking no action at all. Don’t allow the DMV to steal your driving privilege without a fight. Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates and allow an expert in the field to take the fight to the DMV.
The initial contact with the Financial Responsibility Unit at the DMV must be made within the first 10 days following the preparation of the “Order of Suspension.” That initial contact must be conducted correctly to ensure a hearing is granted and that a Stay of Suspension is put in place so you may continue driving until the outcome of the hearing. Don’t attempt this on your own.
CDA is ready to begin working for you now!
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates is a team of professionals, whose entire focus is scheduling, conducting and winning administrative hearings at the DMV. Because DMV defense is all we do, we do it very, very well.
Our defense team is made up of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators and scientists who are all focused on one thing………… Keeping you driving.
We have represented drivers in every category of administrative hearing run by the DMV and in every Driver Safety Office in the state. Whether your DMV issue is in Northern California, the Central Valley or San Diego, we’ve been there. We are standing by right now to help protect you.