Elderly individuals and those suffering from certain medical conditions may face driver’s license suspension or revocation if they pose a threat to public safety. In order to assess medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive safely, the DMV may require drivers to complete a Driver’s Medical Evaluation (DME). If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked at a DME hearing, you can fight to keep your license at a Medical DMV hearing.
Assessment of Your Fitness to Drive
If you suffer from certain medical conditions, you may have to submit to an in-person evaluation by the DMV to assess your current fitness to drive, also known as “reexamination hearing” or “P&M hearing.”
Before this hearing, you will receive a notice of re-examination. Upon receiving notice, you need to:
- Complete a DME evaluation form with your doctor’s assistance, and
- Show up for an in-person evaluation that will be scheduled within 10 days of receiving notice. This evaluation, or “DMV hearing,” will include a review of your DME form as well as a written, vision, and/or driving test.
The DMV may order this evaluation if you suffer from:
- A disorder that leads to “lapses of consciousness,”
- A disorder that has caused you to experience a lapse of consciousness or “episode of marked confusion” in the last three (3) years and could do so again, or
- Any other physical or mental condition that can affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely1
Moreover, state law requires doctors to report patients to the DMV when they have been diagnosed with certain conditions. The conditions that trigger a physician’s reporting duty are the following:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Epilepsy or seizures
- Macular degeneration
- Vision disorders including cataracts
- Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy
Doctors also have discretion to report patients if they find their ability to drive questionable. This can be a problem for elderly individuals who may not actually pose a threat to public safety.
Depending on your “re-examination” results, the DMV may suspend or revoke you driver’s license. There are many factors that the DMV will consider in deciding whether to revoke your license. Some of the factors include:
- Concentration abilities
- Vision and hearing evaluation
- Affirmative steps taken to control your condition
- Doctor’s recommendation
- Reaction time, coordination, and strength evaluations
- Medical history and any prior driving incidents
Possible Defenses at the DMV Hearing
Luckily, you have the right to be represented by counsel at your DMV hearing. If your attorney can show that you are able to drive safely despite your medical condition, you may be able to maintain your driving privileges. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich know the legal defenses to help you keep your license. Some defenses might include:
- You are currently able to safely operate a vehicle, even if you’ve had issues in the past
- You are taking active measures to ensure you can drive safely, such as enrolling in a driver safety course
- Your condition does not affect your ability to drive because you are taking medication to keep it under control
Presumption of Unfitness to Drive
If you have been deemed unfit to drive safely, you have the right to challenge the DMV’s decision at a subsequent administrative hearing.2 It is important to note that you have limited constitutional rights in matters governed by administrative law, including a DMV hearing.
Unlike a criminal case, where all defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, the DMV is empowered to presume that you are not fit to drive. Moreover, you have no constitutional right to counsel. Therefore, your only option is to hire a private attorney to help you fight to keep your license.
Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you are facing the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney immediately. License suspension or revocation is a time-sensitive issue. The sooner you are represented, the sooner you can arrange to have your experienced lawyer start taking action to help you keep your license.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully representing our clients at DMV hearings for over 30 years. We can help you achieve the best possible result in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. Veh. Code § 12806(c)↩
2. Veh. Code § 14100↩