What is DMV Re-Examination?
A DMV Re-examination is the process by which the DMV reviews the driving privileges of a person after it has been reported that a medical condition or lack of skill may have compromised that person’s ability to drive safely.
Either a recent physical or mental health diagnosis or a problematic driving record could require re-examination with the California DMV. In the state of California, physicians are required by law to report any condition that may impair a person’s driving abilities to the DMV. Any law or peace officer or emergency personnel who witnesses a medical or traffic incident may request that a driver’s driving privileges be re-examined. Even an unsolicited letter from a friend or neighbor can result in a re-examination notice.
A peace officer is permitted to issue drivers a Priority DMV Re-examination Notice, with or without a traffic citation. It is required for a driver presented with a Priority Re-examination Notice to contact the DMV within five days of the notice to prevent an automatic driver’s license suspension.
California Driver Safety Office Locations
Drivers who have received Re-examination notices must contact a California DMV Safety Office to request a hearing. There are 12 Safety offices located across the state:
- City of Commerce
- El Segundo
- San Bernadino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Van Nuys
How Does the Re-examination Period Work?
In order to avoid automatic suspension, you must appear at your scheduled re-examination hearing, even if an attorney is representing you. This hearing may be conducted over the phone or in person. You will be asked to answer questions about your medical history, driving history, and knowledge of traffic rules. You may be asked to provide medical records.
You may be asked to submit to a vision test, a written test, a driving test, or all three. After the re-examination hearing, the DMV Officer will review all the evidence and test results, and decide whether action on your driver’s license is warranted. The DMV will then notify you in writing of whether your driver’s license will be suspended, restricted, revoked, placed under a probationary period, or left unchanged. You have the right to request a hearing if you wish to challenge this decision.
What If I Don’t Appear for My Re-examination Hearing?
If you fail to appear for your Re-examination hearing, even if an attorney appears to represent you, your driver’s license will be suspended. This suspension will remain effective until you appear and provide the necessary information and testing for the DMV to evaluate your driving ability.
What Actions can the DMV Take after Re-examination?
Following a re-examination, you will receive written notice of one of the following actions:
- No Action: Your driving privileges remain intact and unrestricted.
- Medical Probation (Type I): You must continue medical treatment and report any changes in your medical condition to the DMV, if you wish to keep your unrestricted driver’s license.
- Medical Probation (Type II): Your physician must submit regular reports on your medical condition to the DMV by certain deadlines, in order for you to keep your driving privileges.
- Limited Term License: Your driving privileges will remain unchanged for two years. At that point, another re-examination will be required.
- Calendar Re-examination: You are required to continue to appear for re-examinations at regular intervals to keep your driver’s license.
- Restriction: Specific conditions have been added to your driving privileges. You may be restricted to driving during certain hours or in certain areas.
- Suspension: Your driving privilege is suspended until you can prove that you are able to drive safely by demonstrating medical treatment or recovery and passing the required tests.
- Revocation: Your driving privileges have been permanently terminated. This drastic step is only taken in cases where a condition cannot be recovered from or a driving record shows a severe ongoing safety risk to the public.
What Happens If the DMV Takes Action Against My Driver’s License?
The DMV must notify you in writing of any action taken against your driver’s license. You will also be informed of your rights, including the right to request a hearing to dispute the decision.
Can the DMV Re-examine Me Even If I Do Not Have A Medical Issue?
A medical issue is not required for re-examination. The DMV will re-examine you if the information suggests that you lack the skills necessary to drive safely, regardless of the reason.
Will the DMV Automatically Re-examine a Driver Based on Age?
The DMV will not re-examine a driver solely based on advancing age. There must be a reason based on an incident, diagnosis or driving record.
How Long Will My Driver’s License Be Suspended After I’m Re-examined?
Unless you can prove that your medical condition has improved or your driving record doesn’t show recent unsafe driving practices, the suspension will be indefinite.
What If I Need An Interpreter?
The DMV is required to provide sign language or foreign language interpreters to those who request them. You must contact the DMV as soon as you receive notice of re-examination so that they can arrange for an interpreter to be present at your hearing.
Receiving a Notice of Re-Examination from the DMV can be alarming. You may find yourself wondering what re-evaluation even means, and why you would be a candidate. In California, the DMV has the power to suspend the driving privileges of any person whose physical or mental capacity has been deemed questionable. If you have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, migraines, a vision disorder, limited mobility, diabetes, dementia, or received treatment for fainting spells or substance abuse, you may be required to submit to physical or mental re-evaluation. The DMV will then review your mental and/or physical capacity to continue to safely operate a motor vehicle in California.
What if I Don’t Respond to a Notice of Re-Examination?
A Notice of Re-Examination (or a Notice of Priority Re-Examination) can be considered a notice of intent to suspend your driver’s license. If you do not respond to the notice by the deadline, the DMV will assume that you are not fit to continue safely driving in California, and you will lose your driving privileges. If you then continue to drive, you will be at risk of being charged with the crime of driving while license suspended.
How Do I Avoid Losing My Driver’s License during Re-Examination?
Physical or Mental Re-evaluation is a complicated process that consists of several stages, including a hearing. It is wise to seek professional guidance to ensure that your driving privileges are not suspended or revoked. The DMV may allow you as little as five days to respond to a Notice of Priority Re-Evaluation before suspending your driver’s license. Responding within the allotted timeframe is absolutely critical.
How Can an Attorney Help Drivers Navigate a Physical or Mental Re-Evaluation?
Our team of experienced DUI attorneys have decades of combined experience helping California drivers through the process of mental or physical re-examination. We will represent you at your hearing, research your unique circumstances, and form a plan to ensure the greatest probability of you retaining your driver’s license. We know the DMV, and we are your best chance at successfully completing the Re-evaluation process.
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