DMV Reexamination - How to Win the Hearing

3/12/20 UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, all DMV hearings will be done over the telephone. People who prefer in-person hearings may request them, but they will be delayed indefinitely.

A DMV reexamination is a proceeding in which the Department reevaluates a person's ability to drive safely. An inquiry takes place because the DMV receives information casting doubt as to the person's driving skills. Common reasons include a physical or mental condition such as seizures or narcolepsy.

The reexamination process generally involves an interview of the driver and an examination of the evidence. It may also involve a live hearing in which the driver can be represented by legal counsel.

Following the proceedings, a hearing officer may order the following:

A variety of parties may have contacted the DMV and provided evidence of unsafe driving. Some include:

  • a driver's doctor or surgeon who was obligated by law to contact the DMV,
  • emergency medical personnel that treated the motorist,
  • a DMV employee that observed a suspect condition.

If a hearing results in the suspension or revocation of a person's license, the driver can appeal the DMV's decision.

Our DMV hearing lawyers will discuss the following in this article:

dmv reexamination hearing
A reexamination hearing is a DMV proceeding in which the Department re-evaluates a person’s ability to drive safely.

1. What is a reexamination hearing?

The California DMV conducts a reexamination hearing in order to:

  1. obtain and evaluate information about a driver, and
  2. determine if the driver is still able to drive safely.1

The DMV calls for the hearing after:

  • it receives certain information, and
  • that information suggests that the subject driver poses a risk to traffic safety.2

Examples of when a reexamination hearing might take place are when the DMV learns of:

2. How does a person win a hearing?

A driver wins a hearing by convincing the DMV that:

  1. he/she can drive safely, and
  2. this is true even despite the evidence the Department received.

A person best accomplishes this goal by:

  • getting help from an experienced DMV hearing lawyer,
  • learning of the reason for the hearing and preparing for any possible questions,
  • getting familiar with the hearing process,
  • obtaining and then showing the DMV records that support the person's ability to drive,
  • getting statements from friends/family that show the same, and
  • passing any relevant test (written, vision, or “behind-the-wheel).

Note that at the completion of this hearing, a hearing officer may order:

  1. the reinstatement of a motorist's driving privileges (if previously removed),
  2. a medical probation,
  3. a restricted driving permit or license,
  4. a license suspension, or
  5. the revocation of a person's driving privileges.4

In general, a person “wins” a hearing if he/she leaves it and is still allowed to drive.

3. What happens during a reexamination hearing?

A reexamination is usually conducted in a DMV regional office.

The hearing is conducted by a “hearing officer.” This person is a DMV employee and is not:

  • a lawyer, or
  • a judge.

The hearing often includes two separate phases. These are the:

  • interview stage, and
  • hearing stage.

The reexamination interview stage is when the hearing officer conducts a taped interview of the subject driver. The officer asks questions concerning why the driver may no longer be able to drive safely. Depending on the answers, the hearing officer may:

  • suspend a person's license,
  • after the completion of the interview.

If a suspension occurs after an interview, then a hearing is scheduled. The hearing takes place within 14 days of the interview. The hearing is the driver's opportunity to show the DMV that:

  1. it should reverse the decision it reached at the interview, and
  2. the driver poses no risk to traffic safety.

A driver may present evidence of his/her safe driving during the hearing. This evidence may include:

  • medical records,
  • statements from friends and family,
  • test results, and
  • any relevant videos.

If the driver shows he/she can drive safely, the hearing officer may reverse its initial decision.

4. Who typically informs the DMV of at-risk drivers?

A variety of parties may have contacted the DMV and provided evidence of unsafe driving.

Some include:

  • the driver's doctor or surgeon who was obligated by law to contact the DMV,
  • emergency medical personnel that treated the subject motorist,
  • a DMV employee that observed a suspect condition,
  • the driver's friends or family,
  • a police officer, or
  • the motorist's driving record may have alerted the DMV about accidents/citations.

5. What if the DMV takes away a person's driving privileges?

If a hearing results in the suspension or revocation of a person's license, the driver can:

  • request a DMV hearing, and
  • try to challenge the Department's decision.5

Note that DMV administrative hearings are separate from criminal hearings. They differ in three main ways:

  1. they are held at the DMV while criminal hearings are held in court,
  2. they are held before a hearing officer instead of a judge, and
  3. the standards used to consider evidence are less strict than those used in court.6

At the completion of the hearing, the DMV may decide to:

  • overturn its decision reached at the reexamination hearing, or
  • order that the decision to remain in effect.

For additional help...

california dmv hearing attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.


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