The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is an administrative body that deals with driver’s license issues. The DMV may initiate a inquiry into a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle on several different grounds. Here, only medical issues will be discussed.
The DMV may initiate an investigation or evaluation of your ability to drive after receiving information from any source including the driver, family/friends, medical professionals, law enforcement, and others. Often, the DMV Driver’s Safety Office is provided information about a licensee’s medical condition during the Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing following a drunk driving arrest. Even if the licensee prevails at the APS hearing and their license is reinstated and the suspension order is set aside, they may receive notice from the DMV that due to their medical condition, their driving privileges are again being threatened.
Upon receiving the information, the DMV will do one of several things. They may have the driver and their doctor fill out a Driver Medical Evaluation, or DME. If the driver fails to cooperate, their license will be suspended. If the documents are submitted, and it is determined that the driver is not a risk, no action will be taken. If further information is needed, the DMV may conduct a reexamination of the driver. If it is believed that the licensee is an immediate safety risk, their license may be suspended or revoked immediately.
The reexamination is also called a Physical and Mental Evaluation, P & M Hearing, or a medical suspension hearing. It is held by a hearing officer at the San Diego Driver’s Safety Office, not the local DMV. During the hearing, the officer will review all the supporting documents and the licensee is given an opportunity to present evidence in their defense. The licensee’s evidence should focus on their current ability to safely operate a vehicle.
After the hearing, if the hearing officer determines the driver is not a safety risk, the DMV will not take action against the licensee’s driving privileges. However, if the officer does find a safety risk, the driving privileges may be suspended until the medical condition is corrected or revoked if the condition is deemed incurable.
If additional information is needed, the hearing officer can schedule a follow-up reexamination. They may put the driver on Medical Probation I, which requires the driver to comply with their medical regimen. They may instead place the driver on Medical Probation II, which requires annual reports to the DMV. In addition, the DMV has authority to issue a limited term license, requiring the licensee return at a future date for another reevaluation, a restricted license, or suspend or revoke the driving privileges.
For many, the loss of their privilege to drive means loss of mobility and independence. Do not go into these hearings without proper counsel to give yourself the best opportunity to save your license. Drivers may be represented by counsel at these P & M Hearings and you should immediately contact a San Diego DMV hearing attorney to assist you with your case.
If you’re facing a license suspension, call The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman for help. We offer a free, confidential phone consultation, so you can learn about your rights and options with no obligation. Call us at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.