How Road Rage Has the Potential to Negatively Impact Your California Driver’s License
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.
Even if you did not assault anyone while behind the wheel, that does not mean that you are “in the clear.” A great many actions can get you referred to the DMV for possible license suspension. A law enforcement officer who discovers a driver who was engaging in certain behaviors behind the wheel, like verbal threats, obscene/threatening gestures or anger-fueled erratic driving, can make a referral to the DMV for possible license suspension. Additionally, a private party can report a driver’s incident of aggressive driving or road rage simply by filling out the proper DMV form and signing it. The DMV is required to investigate any properly completed and signed report.
The DMV can pursue suspending your license under one of two possible avenues. The DMV can proceed with your suspension as a “lack of skill” case or it can pursue suspension as a “negligent operator” case. So, what do you do if the DMV is considering suspending your license due to road rage? The DMV will inform you whether yours is a “lack of skill” or a “negligent operator” matter. Either way, you are entitled to a hearing before a DMV hearing officer, but you must request that hearing and must do so properly and within the allotted time-frame.
Once you get your hearing, it is important to be prepared. You’ll be allowed to present evidence and witnesses. You’ll be allowed to challenge the evidence on the record against you. The hearing officer will be seeking certain information and will be looking for certain answers from you if you are to persuade the officer and get your license suspension reversed.
To be sure you have the preparation you need to get your license back, you need legal counsel who is keenly familiar with this process. At the Uthman Law Office, our San Francisco DMV defense professionals have the experience you need to keep you on the road. Attorney David Uthman has over 20 years of experience as a litigation attorney and almost a decade of experience as a police officer. We know the law, we know the process and we know what it takes for you to get results. Call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.
More blog posts:
The Difference Between a Lack-of-Skill Interview and a Lack-of-Skill Hearing and What These Processes Mean to Your California Driving Privileges, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, Nov. 9, 2018
California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System, and What You Can Do if the DMV Suspends Your License, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, Sept. 7, 2018