Articles Posted in DMV Issues

People v. Tran, 2019 WL 5958335 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2019)

Background:

Robert Tran was convicted of reckless driving, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23103, subdivision (a) and was sentenced to three years’ probation with 30 days in custody.

Evans v. Shiomoto (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 21, 2019, No. D073969) 2019 WL 5886970, at *1–7

The DUI stop, arrest and suspension

Evans was pulled over for driving with his off-road-only lights illuminated while on a “highway,” in violation of Vehicle Code section 24411. The officer observed signs of intoxication and Evans consented to a chemical breath test that registered a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent.

People v. Cooper (July 18, 2019, No. B286201) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 648].

A jury convicted defendant and appellant Sheila Cooper of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a prior driving under the influence offense. On appeal, Cooper contends the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress statements she made to police during field sobriety tests administered at the police station. Cooper claimed a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights under (Miranda).

The accident and Cooper’s demeanor

Governor Newsom has selected a technology consultant from Silicon Valley, Steve Gordon, to modernize the DMV’s decades old computer system which is in part responsible for the long wait times and dysfunction which has beset the agency. Anticipating long wait lines as Californians obtain Real ID’s- federally mandated identification cards-the Governor aims to restore trust in DMV operations after the agency mishandled the rollout of an automatic voter registration system.

Governor Newsom is thinking outside the box in not appointing a career bureaucrat to head to DMV, but a Silicon Valley outsider. It should be interesting to watch. Often times when people with business backgrounds enter government service, they run into trouble because they are not used to dealing with the general inherent governmental bureaucracies and inefficiencies. The DMV has long been mired in bureaucratic missteps and poor access.

Gordon applied for the job on the DMV website and the Governor credited his initiative and background at Cisco systems, where he was Vice President of technical services from 1993-2011. Gordon’s experience addressing things that were going wrong should help improve customer service at the DMV where wait times in excess of two hours is a regular occurrence. DMV Director Jean Shiomoto retired in December.Newsom took office in January and formed a “strike team” to fix the DMV, calling the department “chronically mismanaged.”

Everyone knows that certain offenses can result in your accumulating points on your California driver’s license, and everyone should know that those points are a serious matter as too many points in too short a span of time can result in the loss of your driving privileges. Most people know generally what kind of infractions result in points – things like speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, hit-and-run, and having an accident where you’re at fault, to name a few.

However, it is possible to be completely sober, driving under the speed limit and be involved in no accident and still incur a ticket that results in points. How? One way it happens is when you’re ticketed for improper child safety restraint. As with any charge where points are on the line, always be sure to consult an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney to discuss the legal options available to you.

California Vehicle Code Section 27360 is the law that requires drivers to secure certain child passengers in a specific way. The law applies to all children under the age of 8 years old. For kids age 2 through 7, they must be in a proper car seat or booster in the vehicle’s back seat, unless they are more than 4’9” tall. For children under 2, they must be in a rear-facing car seat in the vehicle back seat. That rule also applies to older kids who are under 40 inches tall and under 40 pounds.

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.