California DMVs Reexamination procedure
If you receive a “Notice of Reexamination” from DMV, take it seriously—very, very seriously, including applicable time limits to respond---especially close deadlines. Otherwise your driving privilege is in major jeopardy. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§12818, 13800, and 13801, govern Driver Safety (DS) reexaminations.
Let’s face it---a person’s ability to legally drive represents a measure of freedom and independence for many, many people. Take that ability away and a person’s life will drastically change. A formerly independent person will become dependent on others, a situation sometimes leading to depression and even despair. Certainly some cases are clear but in the vast majority, people overcome and/or control medical conditions and can safely drive a car. A driver often has to make his case to DMV when there is evidence to the contrary.
Example: Client was in an accident where he fell asleep at the wheel. The investigating officer reported the accident to DMV stating that client may be an unsafe driver.
The DMV Driver Safety mailed a Notice of Reexamination to client. Client responded, without counsel, to DMV providing medical information and passing a written driver’s test. DMV then required an actual drive test. Client could not physically complete the drive test due to an injury and requested more time to heal, providing a doctor’s letter. The DMV refused and suspended the license. Client never received notice of suspension. A few months later, client was stopped for a traffic violation and the suspension appeared. A criminal citation was issued and client’s car was impounded for 30 days. Client then retained this California DMV attorney to represent him in the Reexamination proceeding and in the criminal citation. New medical information will be provided and the drive test appointment will be completed. Client’s suspension will be lifted. Moral: don’t ignore the Notice of Reexamination and consider retaining a lawyer to assist in the processs from the very beginning.
Example: Client had a history of minor accidents and DMV also received notification from client’s doctor that she may be an unsafe driver. This DMV Attorney requested a hearing and consulted with client’s doctor. The doctor, it seemed, simply had to adjust (lower) client’s medication. This adjustment enabled client to pass a new drive test and thereby rescue her driving privilege. Counsel presented the evidence and successfully argued for reinstatement.
Note that drivers are entitled to a hearing on Reexamination and may be represented by counsel at that hearing. Reexaminations may occur for the following reasons:
1. Your doctor tells DMV, with or without your knowledge or permission, that you have experienced a loss of consciousness or other relevant/related medical condition;
2. An EMT (Emergency medical personnel) on an accident scene observes you acting erratically in or about a car;
3. A police officer who stops you for a traffic violation, or is at an accident scene, believes that you may be an unsafe driver;
4. DMV receives letters from family members, friends, or neighbors claiming you may be an unsafe driver.
Upon receiving such Notice of Reexamination, your lawyer will contact DMV in writing, request a hearing or interview, as the case may be, and a stay of the suspension pending the outcome of the hearing.
Your lawyer will likely be familiar with the Driver Safety office and the Hearing Officers. The lawyer will review your driving record and seek to obtain the cooperation of your doctor so that a favorable report can be submitted to DMV.
DMV then has options and your lawyer will argue for the least restrictive. DMV’s options are:
1. No Action (the evidence is insufficient)
2. Medical Probation (Type I)—driving OK subject to following doctor’s orders;
2. Medical Probation (Type II): your doctor must submit periodic medical reports to DMV;
3. Calendar Reexamination: You are required to appear for a follow up reexamination.
4. Restriction: Specific restrictions are imosed----(restricted driving better then suspension)
5. Suspension with reinstatement possible upon a medical showing that your condition has improved
6. Revocation---severe cases where the likelihood of improvement is bleak.
Where DMV takes action that the driver feels is unjustified, DMV hearing options should be undertaken and court reviews of negative DMV decisions via writ of mandate may be challenged based on the advice of your experienced California DMV attorney.