Dealing with a Senior Drivers License Suspension: If you are a senior driver and your license has been suspended or revoked, your best solution is to employ an attorney who specializes in DMV law in order to get that license back.
If you cannot afford an attorney, don’t panic! There are a few things that you need to know:
Your goal is to demonstrate that you can and will be a safe driver on the highway. As a senior driver you will do this with both a written test and a stringent Driver Performance Evaluation (driver’s test.)
There are several things that you need to do to accomplish this.
- First, find out if this is an interview or a hearing. There is a difference. An interview is simply that–the DMV officer will meet with you and discuss whatever problem there is. After the interview they can suspend your license, but they must give you a hearing. The notice you receive will tell you if this is an interview, or a formal hearing.
- Set a hearing date and ask for discovery as soon as you receive a senior drivers license suspension notice. “Discovery” in laypersons terms means everything that is in your DMV file.
- Call the right office. You cannot call any DMV office to schedule a hearing. You must call your local DMV Driver Safety Office. You can find a list of local DMV Driver Safety Offices by clicking here.
- Bring a lawyer with you to the hearing. Having a lawyer present will increase your chances of a favorable outcome. DMV hearing officers always take cases more seriously is an attorney is present.
- Never rely on the opinion of a single doctor. Always get a second opinion, and involve your lawyer when it comes to retaining that expert.
- Driving in the State of California is not a privilege. It is an important property right and you cannot be deprived of that right without due process of law. For years the DMV was telling us that driving was a privilege, not a right. However, the Supreme Court of California has held, as a matter of law, that driving is an important property right which cannot be taken away from you without due process of law.
- A revocation of your driver’s license needn’t be permanent. Even if your license has been previously revoked you can have it reinstalled if you are able to demonstrate that you can drive safely.
- Always present your case in writing, and tape record the hearing (which you have a right to do). This creates a record for an appeal if you lose and discourages over-enthusiastic hearing officers from ruling against you in any case.
- Get your doctors to help. If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to drive, you will need to have your physician complete the DMV’s Driver Medical Evaluation form. But be sure that you are contacting the right doctor for the right reason. It can also help if your physician gives you a written report that you can submit to the DMV stating that they believe you are presently able to drive safely and, if not, what limitations on your license would enable you to drive safely (such as glasses, a diabetes CGMS device, etc.)
- Take driver’s lessons before you take your DMV Driver Performance Evaluation. You can do this by asking the DMV for a “Special Instruction Permit” so that you can employ a private professional instructor to test you before you take the Driver’s Performance Evaluation test. These Special Instruction Permits are easy to get. They allow you to drive as long as there is an adult 25 years or older in the car. People often get nervous when taking tests. Even good drivers can fail driver’s tests. Using a private professional instructor will acclimate you to the driver’s test and give you a good idea of what you will be asked to do during the Performance Evaluation. A few lessons will be all that you will probably need. Almost every driver will do better on their official DMV driver’s test if they have rehearsed the exam with a professional instructor ahead of time.
- Practice the written exam before you take it. You may have to take a short (14 questions) drivers written exam. Go to our DMV Driver Tests menu bar to take some sample drive tests.
- Look forward not backward. During the DMV hearing, most drivers will not want to argue about what caused their license to be suspended or revoked in the first place. Nor will you be very persuasive if you tell the hearing officer about what a good driver you are. You will need to establish your ability to drive safely through independent evidence such as physicians reports, and good driver’s test results.
- Be optimistic! Contrary to popular belief, most driving seniors are able to keep their driver’s licenses and can drive safely. There are drivers on the road who are over the age of 100 and are driving safely. You don’t have to lose your license simply because of your age. But you need to fight for your important RIGHT to drive. This involves being prepared for the hearing and presenting a persuasive case that is backed up by evidence, not just your opinion.