Why do I need a Financial Responsibility Hearing? In 1974, the California State Legislature grew weary of the number of people who suffered injury or property damage as a result of traffic collisions and were then not compensated for their injury or loss because the parties involved did not have insurance coverage.
In an attempt to ensure that any person who suffers as a result of a traffic collision, the Legislature enacted California’s Compulsory Insurance Law. California Vehicle Code sections 16000 through 16078 outline the requirements for maintaining Financial Responsibility and the penalties for failing to do so.
Essentially, California Law makes it mandatory that every person who drives or owns a motor vehicle operated on public roadways, must be able to prove Financial Responsibility for any accidents involving that motor vehicle. If it is determined that a reportable traffic collision occurred and that either the driver, or in certain instances the owner, did not possess proper financial coverage; the DMV is mandated to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of the effected person.
If the DMV begins an action to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege, the Vehicle Code mandates that the accused driver be notified of the intended action in writing. The notice must also explain that the accused person has a right to request an administrative hearing to introduce evidence or testimony which rebuts the DMV’s position.
Known as a Financial Responsibility Hearing, the accused driver is permitted to schedule and conduct a full-blown evidentiary hearing designed to defend themselves against the intended suspension or revocation of their driving privilege. The Financial Responsibility Hearing is the process by which an accused person fights to protect themselves.
What happens if I don’t schedule a Financial Responsibility Hearing at the DMV?
California’s Financial Responsibility Laws are compulsory; they are not optional or discretionary.
It was the Legislature’s intent that all persons who own or operate motor vehicles in the State of California, be able to provide Financial Responsibility for any injuries, death or property damage occurring as a result of the operation of a motor vehicle. When creating this compulsory set of laws, the Legislature also mandated that the DMV punish offenders in a certain way. Again, this is not discretionary, the DMV has no choice but to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of the accused, unless that driver was to win a Financial Responsibility Hearing.
If you have received an “Order of Suspension” from the California Department of Motor Vehicles because you were involved in a reportable traffic collision while operating a motor vehicle that was not insured, even if you were not at fault, the DMV has just put you on notice that your driver license WILL BE suspended or revoked on a particular date. The DMV is not suggesting that the suspension may occur. It WILL occur unless you schedule, conduct and win a Financial Responsibility Hearing at the DMV.
The “Order of Suspension” will make clear that you only have 10 days from the date the notice was prepared to formally request a Financial Responsibility Hearing.
If you fail to contact the Financial Responsibility Unit in Sacramento to make a proper request for hearing, your driver license will be suspended or revoked without further warning. Essentially, this would mean that you are allowing the DMV to steal your driving privilege without a fight.
Contact CDA, we are ready to help
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been scheduling, fighting and winning Financial Responsibility Hearings before the California Department of Motor Vehicles for many years. Our team is comprised of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators, and scientists.
We have learned how often a person can be hung out to dry by an unscrupulous insurance company. We’ve also seen how people, who are constantly working to do the right thing, are accused of violating the Financial Responsibility Law because of a mix up in paperwork. Sometimes the DMV just gets it wrong.
Don’t let the DMV steal your driving privilege without a fight. Call CDA today. We’re ready to step in from the very beginning to ensure you’re properly protected.
More about Financial Responsibility Hearings at the California DMV