Can the California DMV revoke my license because I'm epileptic?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jun 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Epilepsy — Can the DMV revoke my license because of it?

The California DMV may revoke a person’s drivers license if he or she suffers from a medical condition, including epilepsy, that impairs her ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. However, the driver is entitled to a DMV hearing to determine whether epilepsy or the occurrence of seizues really does interfere with her driving skills and ability. In this video, a California DMV hearing attorney explains the law. More info at or call (888) 327-4652 for a free consultation.

The California DMV may revoke or suspend a driver's license due to epilepsy, seizures or other medical causes. But the DMV may only do so if the driver's ability to drive safely is actually negatively affected.

How does the DMV learn that I have epilepsy?

The most common way the DMV can learn about a driver's epilepsy is from a report by the driver's physician. Under California law, doctors must report to the DMV any condition that can lead to “lapses of consciousness” or interfere with someone's ability to drive safely. Seizures are a common example.

Other people who may report an epileptic driver to the DMV include:

The driver him- or herself may also put the DMV on notice -- for instance, in response to questions about the driver's condition on a driver's license application.

How can I keep my license if have epilepsy?

A driver who has been reported to the DMV for epilepsy has the right to a DMV reexamination. The driver will be able to present evidence to show that he or she can still drive safely despite being prone to seizures.

Such evidence may include:

  • A clean driver's record going back several years,
  • The driver's own testimony regarding what he/she is doing to control the condition and prevent it from affecting his or her driving,
  • Medical records showing the steps the driver is taking to control his/her condition, and
  • Testimony from family, friends, and doctors who treat the driver to show that he/she is able to drive safely.

Note that the DMV will not always require a reexamination. In some cases, it may only require a “DMV driver medical evaluation” (“DME”) and medical history from the driver's doctor.

What happens if the DMV decides I cannot drive safely?

The DMV has many options for restricting epileptic drivers. Not all of them involve revoking or suspending the driver's license.

If the DMV determines that a driver's epilepsy affects his or her ability to drive safely, the DMV may:

  • Place the driver on “medical probation,” which allows the driver to keep his/her license subject to certain conditions (such as submitting ongoing medical reports or reexaminations);
  • Issue the driver a “limited term license” for one or two years; or
  • Issue the driver a restricted license that contains restrictions on where/when the driver may drive;
  • Suspend the driver's license for a certain period of time; or
  • Revoke the driver's license (if it believes the condition is permanent and there is no safe way for the driver to drive).

For more information on how to fight a DMV revocation or suspension based on epilepsy, please see our article on “Driver's License Suspensions Due to Physical or Mental Conditions.”

Or call us at 855-LAWFIRM to discuss your case with one of our California driving defense lawyers.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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