Articles Posted in DMV Issues

They are the sights and sounds no driver ever wants to see or hear. They are flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle pulling you over, or the disheartening thump or crunch of your vehicle colliding with another. While these things may have an immediate impact on you in areas like expense, they can also impact you in a longer-term sense -– through points on your driver’s license. Accumulating too many points in too short a period of time could mean losing your driving privileges, which can have dramatically harmful collateral impacts on your life, including losing your ability to do things for your family and perhaps even losing your job. If you’ve been assigned points, there may be a way to get that reversed, however. To get as many points as possible reversed, be sure you’ve contacted a knowledgeable San Francisco DMV attorney.

First off, there are some types of infractions that do not result in points on your license. These can include things like non-moving violations (such as a license plate light that isn’t working). When it comes to a points-based license suspension, these violations won’t factor into that calculation.

One-point violations include a variety of things. Anything from speeding to making an unsafe lane change to running a stop sign to causing an accident will generally net you one point on your license. Two point violations generally involve more serious offenses like a DUI, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, speeding at 100 mph+, and reckless driving.

New and changed laws that took effect January 1 will affect drivers in California. The following information was issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Temporary License Plate Program (AB 516, Mullin): Designed to reduce toll evasion

Licensed California dealers, of new and used vehicles must attach temporary paper license plates on a vehicle at the point of sale before it may be driven off the dealership lot, if that vehicle does not display license plates previously issued by the DMV.

Like any governmental agency, the DMV is an imperfect machine and, while those responsible for deciding who drives and who doesn’t may have good intentions, that “imperfect machine ” may still sometimes take away driving privileges from people who shouldn’t be sidelined. When that happens to you due to your alleged history of lapses of consciousness, you need to be sure you have skilled San Francisco DMV defense counsel on your side.

The array of medical maladies that can cause lapses of consciousness are varied, ranging from epilepsy to sleep disorders (like sleep apnea or narcolepsy) to diabetes to other seizure disorders. You should be aware that the lapse of consciousness that triggers DMV action need not be a massive seizure or total blackout; it can be something as simple as falling asleep at the wheel. The DMV has various means of learning about a driver’s lapse-of-consciousness-inducing medical disorder, although it often happens as a result of being informed by a physician. In other instances, the DMV may obtain information from a family member or an anonymous tipster.

It is very important to keep in mind that, if the DMV determines that your condition represents a danger to you or others on the road as a result of your propensity for losing consciousness, it will seek to suspend or revoke your driving privileges in a very quick manner. As a result, you may find that your driving privileges were suspended or revoked immediately.

A lawyers association has standing to sue the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for alleged waste of government funds in conducting unfair administrative hearings. The California Dui Lawyers Association (CDLA) brought a taxpayer action claiming the DMV wasted funds by violating the due process of drivers in DMV’s administrative per se hearings. DMV administrative per se hearings determine whether automatic suspension of drivers’ licenses are warranted after drivers are arrested for driving under the influence.

The DMV Administrative Per Se or APS System

The DMV’s “administrative per se” or “APS” system is used to suspend a driver’s license following an arrest for driving under the influence. Under the administrative per se law, DMV must immediately suspend the driver’s license of a person who is driving with .08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood. An administrative per se hearing does not impose criminal penalties “but simply suspends a person’s driver’s license as an administrative matter upon a showing the person was arrested for driving with a certain blood-alcohol concentration ….” Continue reading

California law gives the DMV the authority to suspend a driver’s driving privileges for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons involves physical or medical problems. These conditions can range from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s to diabetes to cataracts. If the DMV is considering taking your license due to medical problems, you have options. Talk to a skilled San Francisco DMV defense attorney to find out more about how you can possibly avoid this type of license suspension.

The DMV is tasked with ensuring that all those with active California driver’s licenses can drive safely. When the DMV contemplates suspending a driver’s license, there are certain conditions that can commonly cause a possible suspension. One problem is loss of consciousness. That can trigger a suspension whether or not you were driving when you blacked out. Other conditions can include epilepsy or anything else that causes seizures, sleep disorders (including sleep apnea), Parkinson’s, dementia, diabetes, heart problems or vision problems/deterioration.

Certainly, the ability to drive legally is something that is very important to many Californians, including seniors. Driving privileges represent independence, freedom and self-reliance. Loss of those privileges can cause many damaging things from a loss of self-esteem to a loss of employment. With all that in mind in making these decisions, the DMV is supposed to balance a driver’s need for personal mobility against the public’s need for safety on the roads.

Whether you’re a law school graduate taking the bar exam, an investment professional taking the Series 7, a high school student taking the SAT or ACT for your college applications or an individual taking the written exam required for your driver’s license, you know the stress and pressure of needing to perform on a written test. Unfortunately, that pressure can sometimes cause some people to seek a “leg up” through improper means, such as cheating. And that fact also unfortunately means that the DMV, in its effort to root out cheating, may sometimes identify certain examinees as cheaters when they really weren’t. The consequences of an assertion by the DMV that you cheated on a written driver’s exam can be very serious in California, so if the DMV had made such a claim you should take it seriously and engage in all the necessary steps to protect yourself, including contacting a skilled San Francisco DMV defense attorney.

A person can engage in what California calls “fraudulent activity” in a written DMV test in several ways. One way is to sit for the test and to cheat (by actions such as using a “cheat sheet”) during the completion of the exam. Another way is to have someone pretend to be you and take the exam in your place. These actions aren’t just against DMV rules, they are a violation of California law. If a person is found guilty of having violated this statute, the state can prosecute the violation as a misdemeanor crime, which means that the violator could possibly face a fine or even jail time.

Certainly, most people aren’t going to jail for allegedly cheating on their written driving tests. However, the consequences are still very serious. Perhaps the DMV required you to come in to take (and pass) a written test in order to complete the re-examination process and avoid a lack-of-skill suspension. An allegation of cheating will result in an automatic declaration that you failed the test, which means that you will lose your license and that the suspension will be in place for 12 months.

We’ve probably all seen it while behind the wheel. Some may have even done it. “It” is road rage or aggressive driving. Whether it’s the tailgating, the screaming, the horn-blaring, the high-beam headlight flicking, the obscene gestures, the brake-checking, the swerving, the abrupt lane changes or other actions, road rage and aggressive driving create dangers for everyone on the road. For those that engage in aggressive actions, there may be an additional risk, however: the suspension of driving privileges. While a license suspension for road rage or anger issues may be appropriate under the law in some situations, it might not be in others. If you’ve had your driving privileges suspended due to alleged anger issues, you may have options for reversing that outcome. As always, talk to a knowledgeable San Francisco DMV defense attorney to find out how you should proceed to get your license back.

Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported on a Sacramento area road-rage incident that left both drivers dead. The drivers collided while on Interstate 5. They exited their cars. They fought, which left one man dead. The other tried to flee, but walked into traffic and was run over by another vehicle.

While most road rage incidents don’t escalate to that level, there are still lots of ways to encounter trouble due to road rage. If a driver commits an assault on another driver, passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian, then that driver may have violated Section 13210 of the Vehicle Code. If a driver is found to be in violation of that statute, it generally means a six-month suspension for a first offense, and a 12-month suspension for a second offense.

One of the most frightening non-criminal bureaucratic actions the state can impose against you is the suspension of your driver’s license. That suspension may affect not only your sense of personal freedom but your very livelihood. If you find yourself facing a possible loss of your California driver’s license based upon a “lack of skill” suspension, you should be aware that there can be several steps to the process, which means that you have several opportunities to present information that may help you avoid this kind of license suspension. To work toward avoiding this suspension, it is important to understand the difference between a lack-of-skill interview as opposed to a lack-of-skill hearing, and how you need to handle each type of event. As with any type of situation that may impact your continued ability to drive legally, make sure you’ve retained an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney to give you the advice you need.

As noted above, an interview is very distinct from a hearing. The interview phase takes place near the beginning of a lack-of-skill case. One mistake that too many people make is that they fail to appreciate the seriousness of a loss-of-skill interview. They do not recognize the risks facing them and walk into the interview ill-prepared. These unprepared drivers may not be ready for the questions they get from the hearing officer and, due to that lack of preparation and knowledge, do not know how to respond properly to the questions they’re asked. When that happens, this interview process may go badly and be enough to lead the DMV to issue a suspension.

If the DMV does suspend your license after the interview phase, then the hearing phase may follow. To get your case to a hearing, though, you have to act properly and quickly. You must make a valid request and get the hearing scheduled within 14 days. At your hearing, the outcome you’re looking for is a reversal of that suspension of your license. To get that outcome, it once again (just as in the interview phase) comes down to solid preparation and giving the hearing officer what he/she needs to hear/see in order to determine that you are, in fact, safe to drive.

Everyone who has gone through the (often stressful) process of obtaining a driver’s license knows “the drill.” You have to pass a written test and you must also pass a “behind the wheel” exam to get your license. What’s more, you may have to take (and pass) one or both again if you’ve had problems behind the wheel and been referred to the DMV for supplemental testing. Many people are able to pass these tests on the first or second attempt. However, what do you do if you find yourself struggling with the road test? If you cannot pass this behind-the-wheel test, even after multiple tries, should you just give up and accept that you will be unable to drive legally? No, you should not. You still have options. To learn more about ways to deal with your struggles with your driving test, contact a knowledgeable San Francisco DMV defense attorney right away to learn how you may be able to drive going forward.

There are actually several ways that you can be referred to the DMV for a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE). You may have been involved in a traffic violation, traffic accident or unsafe driving observed by a law enforcement officer, or you may have been referred by a medical provider. (Doctors are required to inform the DMV about any conditions that could impact a driver’s ability to drive safely.)

As you can see from these descriptions, seniors can be one group that is particularly susceptible to being referred to the DMV for supplemental testing. Even an ordinary accident may trigger a referral if you’re a senior and you were legally to blame for the accident. Also, if you experienced a major medical event, that illness alone could lead to the referral.

You don’t have to be in a large urban center like San Francisco or Oakland to be somewhere where traffic violations are a concern. In fact, recently, the police department for the northern California city of Eureka announced that it had received a $60,000 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety to engage in a “year-long enforcement and public awareness program.” In addition to things like DUI checkpoints, the police indicated that the program would seek to crack down on speeding, traffic signal and stop sign non-compliance, and distracted driving.

While most people consider a moving violation to be serious, as it may involve a steep fine and possibly points on your license (if it is not successfully challenged), there are some encounters with law enforcement that can trigger even more severely negative consequences. One of those possible consequences for some is the “lack of skill” suspension of your driving privileges. If you’re facing that scenario, don’t delay. Contact an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney right away.

A lack of skill suspension can be triggered by any of a variety of events. Those can include accidents, failing to pass a written test, failing to pass a driving test or a referral from law enforcement based upon your moving violations or alleged erratic driving. In some situations, this process may take place in multiple steps. For example, say a woman in her late 80s has an accident in which she strikes a parked car several times. Police respond and the officer requests that the DMV perform a regular reexamination of the driver. Failing to appear or appearing and failing to pass (either the written test or the driving test) could trigger a lack-of-skill suspension.