Articles Posted in DMV Issues

In certain circumstances, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and to refrain from saying anything (because anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law). Not enough people exercise that right to remain silent. They speak too freely and say too much, and their openness eventually comes back to haunt them. That was the situation for one man seeking to get his driving privileges back. He lost his case, in no small part, because of the statements he made to a police officer at the scene of an accident. Always know your rights and use them, including retaining skilled California DMV attorney to help you reverse your license suspension.

The man in the case, M.C., was involved in a traffic accident in Bakersfield. M.C. had been drinking prior to the crash. A Bakersfield officer approached M.C. and started asking him some questions.

If you are a driver who is in a situation like M.C.’s, there are several things that you know for sure. You know you’ve been in an accident. You know that the person in uniform who is asking you questions is a law enforcement officer whose job includes, among other things, investigating the scene of the accident for possible criminal activity. Additionally, you know that you have consumed some quantity of alcohol, thereby raising at least some degree of possibility that the police will investigate you for, and possible charge you with, driving under the influence.

Whether you are facing a potential suspension of your driver’s license or have already had your license suspended, you may have options available to you to get your driving privileges back. The keys to success are to make sure you take all of the proper steps and do them within the appropriate timeframe. To ensure that you are availing yourself to all the avenues out there for you, retain the services of a knowledgeable San Francisco DMV attorney.

While it primarily focused upon the legal action pursued by a motorcyclist injured in an accident with an elderly driver, a recent case originating in Sonoma County also offers a real-life illustration of the license suspension and reinstatement process.

The plaintiff was Alan, whose motorcycle was struck by Elsie in 2013. Elsie was 89 when she was issued a driver’s license in 2009. In March 2011, Elsie had an accident in which she hit a parked car several times. Based upon that incident, the local police recommended that Elsie undergo regular reexamination by the DMV. In Elsie’s case, that meant that she was required to take a written test, a road test and have her vision screened. She passed the written test and doctors concluded that, other than some macular degeneration that affected her night driving, she could see well enough to drive.

Each case can present its own unique elements. Part of what can go into achieving a successful result is spotting those unique elements and using them to your advantage. Perhaps the police officer who encountered you did not do a proper job giving you a required admonition. Perhaps the officer did not even give you the admonition at all. All of these things can potentially be used to your benefit. An experienced San Francisco DMV attorney can advise and represent you in using your case’s facts to get your driving privileges back.

A case from Santa Clara County offers an example of how this can work. Police responded to a midnight single-vehicle accident. Once there, they found a badly damaged Porsche SUV and a driver exiting the vehicle who appeared to be “extremely unsteady on his feet.” The driver allegedly smelled like alcohol, had slurred speech, and seemed disoriented. The officer attempted to conduct a field sobriety test that involved asking the driver to follow the tip of his pen with his eyes, but the driver simply closed his eyes.

There are many good reasons to, as a driver whom the police potentially suspect of driving under the influence, refuse to participate in a field sobriety test. One of these reasons is that officers do not always perform the tests properly. An improperly conducted test can yield incorrectly skewed results. Once you participate, the officer can testify in court about his or her impression of your performance on the test.

There are many things that can derail your legal case. Your case may be unsuccessful because you don’t have enough factual evidence on your side. Your case could also be unsuccessful because of procedural deficiencies. One of the most preventable ways to fail is because you decide to handle your case yourself, and you make procedural errors that you could have avoided with representation from an experienced California DMV attorney. Achieving a successful result in your license suspension case, or any type of legal matter, involves more than just knowing the facts of your case and being able to present them. It involves having a familiarity with the procedural rules of your case and making sure that you follow them.

The case of one East Bay driver serves as a useful story of caution on this point. The case began when a local police officer in Antioch responded to the scene of a two-vehicle accident and identified what he believed was alcohol on the breath of one of the drivers. The officer also thought that that driver’s eyes appeared bloodshot and watery. The driver, Michael, told the officer that he’d last had alcohol more than five hours before the accident, when he’d had two drinks with vodka in them. He indicated to the officer that he’d been awake for 21 hours.

Michael underwent a blood test some 2½ hours after the accident. The test yielded a BAC of 0.08. The DMV suspended his license. After Michael elected to have an administrative hearing, the hearing officer upheld the suspension. The driver took his case to the trial court but was still unsuccessful. He appealed to the Court of Appeal, but once again the suspension was upheld. Significant parts of what plagued Michael’s case on appeal came down to procedural problems, which can be a common shortcoming when people decide to handle their own cases without legal counsel.