Why Does the DMV Suspend a Driver License for a Serious a Injury Accident?
The California State Legislature has empowered the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with the authority to issue the California Driver License to qualified drivers. What few people understand is the sweeping authority the DMV also possesses to suspend or revoke the Driving Privilege of any person whom the Department deems to be a Negligent Operator. California Vehicle Code Section 12809(e) provides….
The Department may refuse to issue or renew; or may suspend or revoke the driving privilege of any person If the Department determines the applicant/driver is a negligent or incompetent operator of a motor vehicle.
What is the DMV definition of a Serious Injury – Negligent Operator Hearings
Because the California Vehicle Code (CVC) does not specifically establish the parameters of a “Serious Injury,” the Department looks to the policies of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for guidance on this issue. The CHP Manual for investigating traffic accidents defines a “Serious Injury” as one which may include: Broken bones, Open lacerations from which blood flows freely, Open lacerations requiring sutures, stitches or staples to close, Skull fractures or brain injuries, Internal Injuries and/or Any injury requiring a surgical procedure to correct.
By definition, a complaint of pain or a simple bruise or scratch does not qualify as a “Serious Injury.” Just because a person claims injury or is even transported to a hospital for observation does not mean you will be labeled as a Negligent Operator.
How can I protect my license from being suspended by the DMV for a Serious Injury Accident?
If the California DMV learns that you were involved in a Serious Injury accident, and if the Department believes you either caused or contributed to the event; the Department may initiate the process of suspending or revoking your privilege to drive. DMV doctrine dictates that an accused driver will be notified of a suspension/revocation action through the US Mail. The Department does not normally communicate with drivers by telephone or email. This is one of reasons that California Law mandates that you keep the DMV updated on your mailing address.
If you receive an Order of Suspension or Revocation in the mail which names you as a Negligent Operator because of your involvement in a Serious Injury accident, this is iron clad evidence that the DMV has already begun the process of withdrawing your privilege to drive. This is not a warning…. It is already happening.
If you have received an Order of Suspension or Revocation, a clock is already ticking. The California Vehicle Code (CVC) demands that you be provided an opportunity to reverse the DMV action by conducting an Administrative Hearing, but the CVC also demands that a driver take action within a specified period of time; otherwise the person’s right to a hearing is waived.
The bottom line is that proper defense at a Negligent Operator hearing begins with a telephone call to the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates, Inc. (CDA). We have been protecting the rights of California drivers for many years and we know the secrets to success. We know we must:
- Immediately contact with the Driver Safety Office near your home to schedule a Negligent Operator Hearing.
- Immediately request a “Stay of Suspension/Revocation.” In many instances these serious cases can take several months to conclude. If you qualify, a Stay of Suspension/Revocation will stop that action until the outcome of the hearing.
- File a formal “Request for Discovery” which compels the DMV to release any and all information/evidence it intends to use to establish its case.
- Completely investigate the allegation against you. Every detail of a traffic collision can be vital to our success at a hearing. Our team of former police officers, former DMV Hearing Officers, Investigators and scientists are ready to work for you.
- Determine if the injuries suffered by other parties meets the standard to qualify as a “Serious Injury.”
- Collection of evidence that establishes your knowledge, skill and physical/mental fitness to drive. Collection of evidence that tends to establish you were not distracted while driving and that your vehicle was properly maintained.
- Prepare for the hearing. We compile all of the evidence collected during our investigation and present it to the DMV in an appropriate format so that it will be accepted without objection. This is where we also prepare you to testify at your hearing.
- Conduct the hearing. Properly run, a Negligent Operator Hearing looks much like a mini-trial. Evidence is introduced and legal arguments are made. Witnesses and police officers may testify and experts may render professional opinions.
- Follow through. Once the Negligent Operator Hearing has concluded, we remain at your side to bring the process to a final conclusion.