DMV Physical And Mental Hearings

DMV Physical And Mental Hearings

Other DMV Suspension and Revocation Actions 

In addition to DMV "Admin Per Se" or "Administrative Per Se" Hearings stemming from a DUI Charge, the DMV can also take a suspension action for any physical or mental condition that "may" affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This can entail almost any type of physical or mental condition and includes the use of any medications a person may take that "may" affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. 

Driver’s License Action Disciplinary Guidelines

Title 13, Cal. C. of Regs., §110.04 sets forth disciplinary guidelines for driver’s license actions in the following categories:

     (a) Negligent operators.
     (b) Commercial drivers.
     (c) Special certificates (bus driver, ambulance, tow truck, etc.).
     (d) Physical and mental conditions.
     (e) Lack of insurance.
     (f) Fraudulent licenses.

The full Title 13, Cal. C. of Regs., §110.04 reads:

In reaching a decision on an action regarding the driving privilege of a person under the provisions of the Vehicle Code, the department may consider the disciplinary guidelines, specified below, which are hereby incorporated by reference. Deviation from these guidelines, including the terms of probation, if any, is appropriate when the department, in its sole discretion, determines that the facts of a particular case warrant such a deviation; for example, the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors, the age of the case, and evidentiary problems.

(a) Guidelines for Actions Against the Driving Privilege Based on the Negligent Operator Treatment System (Rev. 2/99).
(b) Guidelines for Actions Against the Commercial Driving Privilege (Rev. 2/99).
(c) Guidelines for Actions Against Driver License Certificates and Endorsements (Rev. 2/99).
(d) Guidelines for Actions Against the Driving Privilege Based On Physical and Mental Conditions (Rev. 2/99)
(e) Guidelines for Actions Against the Driving Privilege Based On Financial Responsibility (Rev. 2/99).
(f) Guidelines for Actions Against the Driving Privilege Based On Fraud (Rev. 2/99).

In Kings Rehabilitation Center Inc. v. Premo (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 215, the court held that it is permissible for an administrative agency to incorporate lengthy documents into administrative regulations, subject to certain restrictions. The agency has to make the incorporated documents reasonably available and sell them at their reproduction cost.

Physical and Mental Condition DMV Hearings 

Authority to Withhold or Revoke Driving Privilege

The DMV must revoke or withhold a driving privilege where it determines that the driver is unable to safely operate a motor vehicle, and for other stated reasons under CVC §12805.

The DMV may refuse to issue, or renew, a driver’s license to any person:

(a) Rendered incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle because of alcohol or drug abuse; or
(b) Who has a disorder characterized by lapses of consciousness, or who has experienced, within the last three years, either a lapse of consciousness or an episode of marked confusion caused by any condition which may bring about recurrent lapses, or who has any physical or mental disability, disease, or disorder which could affect the safe operation of a motor vehicle unless the [DMV] has medical information which indicates the person may safely operate a motor vehicle. In making its determination, the [DMV] may rely upon any relevant information available to [it].

CVC §12806. See also, Title 13 California Code of Regulations, §110.01.

Written Report Triggers Action

Unless the issue presents itself when the driver appears at a DMV office, there are generally three ways in which the DMV will learn of a potential physical or mental problem with a driver:

•  Civilian submits a written “Request for Driver Reexamination” [Form DS-699] to the DMV concerning a driver’s physical or mental condition, or poor driving habits. Anonymity may be requested, but the DMV is not bound by the request. The reporting party’s connection to the driver is requested so that the DMV can try and determine the basis for the complaint and any ulterior motive the reporting party might have.

•  Peace officer sends report to DMV requesting reexamination of driver (normally occurs when officer observes erratic driving, or investigates accident, and he suspects there may be a physical or mental disability).

 • Physician submits a report to the local health officer, who in turn files a report to the DMV. A report is mandatory for any driver whose condition is characterized by a lapse of consciousness, which includes Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. A doctor may report any other condition which he believes, in good faith, will serve the public interest. Health & Safety Code §103900; Title 17 of California Code of Regulations, §2810. Mandatory reports must be submitted by the doctor within 7 days of his learning of the disorder. Id.

Action Taken by DMV Upon Receipt of Report

Depending on the nature of the report, the DMV will do one of the following:

(a)   Take no action (report insufficient to warrant any action);
(b)   Send driver a notice of reexamination pursuant to CVC §13801, without summarily revoking the privilege to drive;
(c)   Send driver notice of intention to revoke or withhold privilege, with notice to driver or applicant of the right to a hearing on the action. CVC §13950; or
(d) Immediately revoke the driving privilege pursuant to CVC §13953, and notify the driver of the revocation and his right to a hearing on it.

Requesting DMV Physical & Mental Hearings 

The driver has 10 days to request a hearing where service is personal, or 14 days if service is by mail. CVC §14100.

DMV Physical & Mental Hearings and Evidence 

Evidence is controlled by CVC §14104.7 and Gov. Code §11513.

The hearing may be conducted by telephone or in-person, but if the reported condition is dementia, the DMV will usually insist on an in-person hearing.

The hearing officer will normally ask the driver some general questions about their driving history, driving needs, and medical condition (including use of prescriptive medications). If dementia is an issue, the driver should anticipate some general questions about current affairs and the like. See Title 13 California Code of Regulations, §110.01, for factors to be considered by hearing officer.

The hearing officer will usually want a “Driver Medical Evaluation” [DS-2326] completed by the driver’s treating physician. If vision is an issue, a “Report of Vision Examination” [DL-62] may also be required.
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