Articles Posted in DMV Issues

Everyone agrees that driving while distracted is a bad thing. What everyone does not agree on, however, is how best to go about encouraging drivers to put down their cell phones while behind the wheel. Currently, the California legislature is considering a bill that would increase the penalties associated with texting or otherwise using a phone while driving. As California lawmakers explore upping these penalties, it is important to keep in mind just how damaging these infractions can be for you financially. If you find yourself needing to challenge this kind of violation, be sure you have skillful San Francisco traffic ticket and DMV defense counsel on your side.

CBS Sacramento reported that, on May 16, a legislative committee passed Assembly Bill 47. As originally written, the bill would have tacked a point onto the license of any driver ticketed for texting or holding a phone while driving. The bill, however, has already undergone some changes. As currently amended, the bill says that you get a point on your license if your cell phone violation is your second within a 36-month period.

Of course, the option of traffic school may exist for you. If you are eligible for traffic school, then you can use that process to avoid having that point tacked onto your license. For those eligible, this means that you would not have a point added to your license unless you rack up at least three texting-while-driving violations in that 36-month window.

Uber and Lyft under increased pressure for more intensive background checks

Uber and Lyft have conducted their own background checks on drivers in most states with little or no oversight and have used lobbyists to shape legislation that would regulate how they perform background checks on drivers. However, under a demand for more protection for passengers from drivers’ with criminal records, many drivers are being terminated from driving for Uber and Lyft.

Uber background checks

There are many different bases upon which the DMV may decide that it is proper to suspend your driving privileges. Obviously, one way to maintain your driver’s license is to avoid things that can lead to suspension. Other times, though, when you’re on the wrong end of an improper suspension of your driving privileges, the correct step is to utilize the administrative and legal systems to fight back and get your license back. When that becomes necessary, look to an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney to help you.

One action the DMV can take is to place a “hold” on your license. While this may sound somewhat innocuous or less serious, it isn’t. A DMV hold can prevent you from renewing your license or can lead directly to a license suspension. One way that you can get a hold placed on your license is by failing to appear in traffic court. If you get a ticket, your ticket will contain a court date listed on it. If you don’t show up for that court date and don’t otherwise resolve your ticket, then the DMV places a hold on your license under Vehicle Code Section 40509.5.

You may have heard that California changed its laws regarding traffic court and license suspensions in 2017. Be aware that that 2107 law ended the practice of suspending licenses based on your failure to pay your traffic ticket fine, not your failure to appear in traffic court.

San Francisco’s Red Light Ticket Cameras, designed to take photos of cars that run a red light have not been operating since January, 2019 as they are undergoing replacement by the SFMTA.

The SFMTA’s Automated Enforcement Program uses a network of automated cameras to enforce illegal red-light running and illegal right turns.

Red-light cameras take automatic snapshots of both the front license plate and the driver’s face when a vehicle enters an intersection after the light has changed.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has very wide-ranging powers in that it can suspend or revoke a driver’s driving privileges for a lot of different reasons. One of the more common reasons is alleged concern about your health and whether you’re medically able to drive safely. If that issue arises, the DMV may contact you and ask you to complete a “Form DS 326,” also known as a Driver Medical Evaluation form, or DME. Your temptation might be to think that you can handle this type of issue on your own. Don’t make that mistake. Your ability to continue driving legally could hinge on any one of the responses contained on that form, and even a small mistake may cost you your license. Before you do anything else, reach out to an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney about your situation.

The DMV website states that it only requests a Form DS 326 “when medical information is needed to evaluate a driver’s medical condition in relationship to safe driving.” That all probably sounds fairly harmless on the surface. But think about this: the DMV licenses more than 26 million drivers. Certainly, a DMV with 26 million licensees won’t just go around just asking for doctors’ notes from random drivers. In actuality, the DMV only requests submission of this form from drivers that it suspects may not be safe to drive, either because of a physical disability or a mental problem. If they’re requesting the form from you, they are probably giving serious consideration to suspending your license.

The DS 326 is five-page-long form with 13 sections. The form instructs you, the driver, to complete the first three sections and for the medical provider whom you select to complete Sections 4-13. In your part, the DMV asks you to offer up a short history of your health, and to swear that you’ve told the truth in your answers. The remainder of the form is medical information provided by the doctor you select.

In almost any type of legal matter, there are certain things you definitely should do and things you definitely shouldn’t. For example, if you get caught speeding, do not try to invent some off-the-cuff lie to create a purported justification for your speeding, and don’t double-down on that lie after the original lie has been exposed. Instead, you should contact a knowledgeable DMV defense attorney about your options.

Similarly, if you get a notice of re-examination from the DMV as a result of your alleged seizure disorder, there are definite do’s and don’ts. Definitely don’t ignore the notice. Do reach out with all due speed to an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney to help you determine what you next steps should be, and to prepare for them.

The legal action of A.K.A. was a case study in the do’s and don’ts of DMV notices of re-examination. For A.K.A., his troubles with the DMV began after he was involved in an accident in 2006. This triggered the DMV’s issuing a notice of re-examination. This notice occurs if the DMV believes that it may have reason to suspend your license due to your lack of “ability to operate a motor vehicle safely due to… a physical or mental condition.”

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