What is a Lapse of Consciousness Hearing? The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has come to recognize that from time to time, certain drivers may suffer with a Lapse of Consciousness. Experiencing such an event while operating a motor vehicle could have disastrous consequences for the driver and other innocent people on the road.
If the Department of Motor Vehicles learns that you have suffered a lapse of consciousness, for any reason, they are mandated by law to ensure the event or condition does not pose a threat to the motoring public. Some of the events the DMV may interpret as a Lapse of Consciousness include: Fainting Spells, Narcolepsy, Epilepsy, Grand Mal Seizures, Petite Mal Seizures, or Sleep Apnea. Something as simple as falling asleep at an inappropriate time may be considered a Lapse of Consciousness.
If DMV believes you have a Physical or Mental condition, including lapses of consciousness, which affects your ability to drive, they are mandated by law to evaluate you and make a determination about your fitness to drive. The process by which the DMV makes its determination is called the Re-Examination Hearing for Lapse of Consciousness. Often referred to as a “P & M” Hearing, this Re-Examination requires the driver appear “in-person” before a Hearing Officer at a Driver Safety Office and to undergo an evaluation to determine if immediate suspension of the driver license is warranted. A thorough Re-Examination may involve several steps, including a “face to face” interview, medical/mental evaluations, written testing, vision testing, and behind-the-wheel testing.
When entering a Lapse of Consciousness Re-Examination, one should not presume that the DMV Hearing Officer is on your side. That is not the case. The Hearing Officer will presume that you, in fact, experienced some Lapse of Consciousness and that he or she must get to the bottom of the event to make the public safe. Many hearing officers see the Re-Examination as an opportunity to reveal a driver’s true nature or ailment by being harsh, hostile, or imposing. This is much different when a DMV Defense Expert is sitting right beside you.
Am I Required to Participate in a Lapse of Consciousness Hearing? NO…… you are not required by law to participate in a Lapse of Consciousness Re-Examination Hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You do not have to jump through their hoops.
If you do not participate in the Re-Examination, however, the DMV WILL suspend or revoke your driving privilege without delay. Their position will be that you have forfeited your right to defend yourself; therefore, you must suffer with some condition that makes you unsafe to drive and you must be removed from the road. Essentially you will lose by default. This is not necessary.