What is a ‘Lack of Skill’ Driver’s License Suspension in California and What Can I Do to Avoid It?

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.

If you are a senior with driving privileges in California, you may be especially susceptible to having your driver’s license suspended for lack of skill. Recently, a southern California man in his 70s was involved in a one-car crash with his car hitting a building. He asserted that the car mechanically malfunctioned. The police believed the man confused the accelerator and the brake pedal. In that case, the process was a one-step procedure, with the DMV suspending his license for lack of skill without even giving him the option of a re-examination. Even when that happens, you still have options to get your license back.

So, what should you do if you receive a notice from the DMV related to a potential “lack of skill’ issue and possible suspension? First, be sure that you act very promptly to contact qualified legal counsel. In some situations, the DMV may suspend your license in as little as five days.

If you are referred to the DMV for lack of skill and the allegations are not egregious, you will be given a chance to respond to the assertions made against you. If you don’t respond or if you do respond but don’t give the DMV the information they want, your license will be suspended. Our office can equip you to succeed at this hearing by providing insightful and experience-based analysis of your case and guide you through how the hearing will transpire. We can give you the direction you need when it comes to what things the officer will focus upon and helping you to understand the responses the hearing officer will be looking for in order for you to succeed and get your license back.

Any loss of your driving privileges can affect you negatively in many ways. It may harm your ability to earn a living and may even damage your self-esteem. Don’t lose your driving privileges without exploring all your options first. Consult the skilled San Francisco DMV defense professionals at Uthman Law Office. Attorney David Uthman has over 20 years of experience as a litigation attorney and almost a decade of experience as a police officer. At our office, we know the law and we know the processes, and we know how to use that knowledge to get results for you. Call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule your FREE initial consultation to get the help you need.

More blog posts:

Governor Brown Announces an Audit of the DMV Amid Skyrocketing Wait Times at the Agency’s Offices, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, Oct. 5, 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


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