What is an Ambulance Special Certificate Hearing at the DMV? As stated in other chapters of this site, The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the government entity responsible for issuing driver licenses, endorsements, and Special Certificates to California drivers. In addition to having the power to issue a Special Certificate, the DMV has the nearly unbridled power to restrict, suspend, or revoke a driving privilege or Special Certificate at will. With virtually no governmental oversight, the California DMV will take a disciplinary action against an ambulance driver by refusing or revoking an Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate for virtually any reason.
If you have received notification from the California DMV that they are refusing to issue you an Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate or; if the DMV is acting to revoke an already existing Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate, you must understand what is happening. The notice you received in the mail is unequivocal. The DMV is not announcing that they MAY take your Special Certificate. They are announcing that they HAVE or WILL refuse or revoke your Special Certificate…Period! This is going to happen and you must defend yourself.
The only way to fight back is by scheduling, conducting, and winning an Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate Hearing at your local Driver Safety Office. The Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate Hearing is a formal, legal proceeding conducted under the guidelines of California Administrative Law, the California Code of Procedures, and the California Vehicle Code. At your hearing, evidence is presented, sworn testimony is given, objections are made, and legal arguments are submitted.
Once the hearing is concluded, the DMV Hearing Officer will make a recommendation that is then sent to an Ambulance Certificate Review Board. The review board meets one time per month and reviews the recommendations from DMV Hearing Officers from throughout the state. It is the review board who renders a final decision on the status of your Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate. Generally, the Ambulance Certificate Review Board is comprised of three members:Representative from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Representative from the California Highway Patrol & a Representative from the State Department of Emergency Medical Services.
Why Does the DMV Refuse or Revoke a Driver’s Ambulance Special Certificate?
Normally the DMV will refuse to grant the application for an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate; or will move to suspend or revoke an existing certificate, when it receives information which it considers to be contrary to the “higher standard” placed upon ambulance drivers. The DMV accepts “information” from a variety of sources which it then uses to assess the viability of a driver receiving or maintaining a special certificate. The DMV will often receive information from the sources listed to the right.
While the DMV will seek to refuse or revoke a Special Certificate for nearly any reason, the vast majority of action taken by the DMV to refuse, suspend, or revoke an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate begins with the DMV receiving information from the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the FBI regarding an applicant’s/driver’s arrest or conviction of a crime. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) houses an enormous computer data base designed to store criminal information data it receives from a variety of law enforcement sources. NCIC has been in existence for decades and, despite many technological advances, is still hampered by technical difficulties and; in some instances, contains incorrect, inaccurate or, stale information. NCIC reports can be convoluted and very difficult to read.
- The DMV’s Commercial Driver License Unit.
- The California Highway Patrol.
- Federal, State, County and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.
- Department of Justice (or FBI) Criminal History Reports.
- Physicians and other Medical Professionals.
- Insurance Companies.
- Friends, neighbors and family.
- Media reports.
When the DMV receives information that an applicant for an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate; or the holder of an existing Certificate, has a history of any disqualifying event, the DMV will immediately move to take action against that driver. The DMV may issue a warning letter or they may process an order to refuse, cancel, suspend or revoke the certificate. In its desire to protect the public, the DMV will routinely take this action without the support of police reports or court records. Essentially, if the DMV receives information that it considers worrisome, it will take an action against a driver’s Special Certificate and wait to see if the driver appears to argue the issue. It is not until a driver requests an Administrative Hearing and a “Stay” of suspension/revocation that the DMV summon supporting documents. If you don’t fight to protect your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, the DMV will take it away based on what may be completely inaccurate or outdated information. There are numerous examples of a driver being denied a Special Certificate because the DMV learns of a petty crime that occurred twenty years earlier and assumes that a past example of “moral turpitude” is a current representation of the driver today.
What Happens if I Don’t Schedule an Ambulance Special Certificate Hearing?
This area of the law if crystal clear. If the holder of an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate receives notice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that their Ambulance Driver Special Certificate is about to be “Refused/Suspended/Revoked”…. AND …. if the effected driver does nothing to schedule a Special Certificate Hearing in a timely manner, the DMV will refuse, suspend or revoke the Certificate…. Period! This is unequivocal. Taking no action to protect yourself means you have decided to allow the DMV to strip you of your Special Certificate without a fight.
There is no question that the DMV has the broad and nearly absolute power to take your Special Certificate. As a citizen of this state and the holder of a Special Certificate, you have the absolute right to fight for yourself. Most ambulance drivers spend years and thousands of dollars attending schools and earning certifications to work as an emergency first-responder. Don’t let the DMV flush that down the drain by arbitrarily taking your Special Certificate.
More about Special Certificate Hearings at the California DMV