Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to protect a Commercial Driver who was being accused of cheating during a written test to renew his Class “B” driver license. Our 72 year old client is a bus driver for a major transportation district in Southern California and has been driving professionally for more than 10 years. Clearly the loss of his driver license would mean the loss of his job.
In May of 2016, our client’s Commercial Driver License was due for renewal so he entered a local DMV Field Office to challenge the written tests for General Knowledge, Air Brakes and Passenger Transportation. Because his driving privilege is so important, he had been studying the Commercial Handbook for weeks. On the day of his test, he made the poor choice to take his study material with him. Understanding that he would probably be waiting for a while, it was his intention to continue studying while he waited.
When he was called for testing, he walked up to the counter and was handed the three written tests and a pencil. As he stood there, his Commercial Handbook was in plain sight—He did nothing to conceal the book. The DMV employee made no comment preventing him from taking the study material into the testing area and there were no signs which prohibited the possession of the book.
Our client entered the testing area and placed the closed hand book on the desk to the side. He began taking his written tests and never once touched, handled or referred to the study material. As he was taking his tests, a manager for the DMV was walking by and noticed the handbook on the desk. The manager walked up, presumed he was using the book to cheat and stopped the testing. The manager would later write a report that she saw the book on the desk and that when she walked up, she also found our client in possession of a “cheat sheet.” The manager claimed to have seized all the evidence and forwarded her report to the Driver Safety Office.
When the Office of Driver Safety received the referral from the local field office, our client’s driver license was immediately suspended for fraud.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. If a driver is involved in fraudulent activity while renewing an existing driver license, the DMV will act immediately to refuse, suspend or revoke the privilege regardless of the impact on the driver’s life.
It is the DMV’s position that a person who cheats during a written examination must not possess the requisite knowledge to drive and that it would be dangerous to allow an unqualified driver to operate a motor vehicle; especially a commercial vehicle transporting passengers.
The California Vehicle Code determines that a person who commits an act of fraud shall be denied the privilege to drive for an indeterminate period of time, but no less than one-year.
Our Defense: California Drivers Advocates constructed a defense around the reality of who our client was and what had actually occurred. At the age of 72, our client had been safely driving in the State of California for more than 45 years and has been operating 40 foot passenger buses for more than 10 years. In those 4 decades of time, our client had not been involved in traffic collisions and had not received any traffic citations. He had a demonstrated history of safe driving, despite the fact he drives on some of the most congested roadways in the country.
Clearly our client possessed the requisite skill to drive and was caught up in a fraudulent activity suspension as a result of a momentary lapse of judgement. There was nothing nefarious in his possessing the hand book and he did not possess a cheat sheet.
As is always the case, our defense began with an extensive interview of our client to learn all we could about him and the events leading up to the allegation. We requested all of the evidence from the DMV to review their side of the story and to plan a path to rebutting that information. We spent a great deal of time, preparing our client for direct examination and cross-examination. Finally, we prepared extensively to cross-examine the DMV employee who was accusing our client of cheating.
As is often true, preparation was the key to success. Because our client was properly prepared, he was able to testify with great credibility and did not waiver on his claim of innocence. The true key to victory here, however, was our cross-examination of the DMV employee who was accusing our client. By asking detailed, step by step questions, we were able to reveal that she had never seen our client touch the testing booklet. We were able to reveal that she could not recall if our client had taken a written test or a computer test and that she really couldn’t recall if she saw a cheat sheet. When we revealed that the DMV’s evidence did not include any copies of a cheat sheet, the employee testified that she must have been confusing our client’s case with another.
Outcome: At the conclusion of the Fraudulent Activity Hearing, the DMV Hearing Officer took the matter under submission. Two weeks later, we received the Hearing Officer’s written decision to terminate the action against our client and allow him to retake the Commercial Driver License Test. Of course, he passed with flying colors and his license was fully renewed.
At 72 years of age, our client is 100% self-sufficient. He is very active and the driver license is the tool that allows him to earn a living. Luckily our client’s employer held his position open for him during this ordeal and he has returned to work.
Call CDA Today. Let Us Go to Work on Your Case. The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been fighting and winning Fraudulent Activity Hearings for many years. We excel at every type of administrative hearing handled by the DMV and have a history of winning. Call us and let us get you back on the road.
If the DMV is your problem…….California Drivers Advocates is your solution!