What Happens at a Mental Reexamination Hearing?: Driving in California is a privilege that we all tend to take for granted. The fact is, driving is an integral part of quality living in California but, the privilege to drive can be stripped from us in an instant if the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) believes you are not mentally competent to drive. There are a wide range of issues that permit the DMV to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege. Here we discuss the DMV’s concern over a person’s mental capacity to safely operate a motor vehicle.
If you are scheduled for a Mental Reexamination Hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles, it is because the DMV suspects you suffer with some mental health issue, ailment, or limitation that makes you unable to safely drive. Some of the most common points of concern are dementia or Alzheimer ’s disease. Additionally, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, and Depression are all areas of concern for the DMV. Any mental condition that renders a person incapable of focus, perception, and reaction can cause the DMV to suspend or revoke your driving privilege.
The Mental Health Reexamination is classically introduced in two stages:
1.) The Interview Stage—essentially the interview stage occurs in a Hearing Officer’s private office and is tape recorded. The interview gives the DMV the “first crack” at trying to get to the bottom of why you may not be safe to drive. Most often a driver will appear for the interview completely unprepared and not understanding what is at stake. The interview is often callous, probative, and personally invasive. Handled appropriately, however, a driver may be able to overcome the DMV’s concern and therefore never progress to the second stage. There is no rule prohibiting you from being fully prepared to face Stage No. 1.
2.) The Hearing Stage—following the interview, if the DMV Hearing Officer has decided to suspend or revoke your driver license, you then have 14 days to schedule an actual hearing. This Hearing Stage is an opportunity for the driver to reverse the decision made at the Interview Stage by rebutting or disproving the Hearing Officer’s finding through testimony, witness statements, and physical or documentary evidence.
When a Mental Reexamination hearing concludes, the result can be a full reinstatement of your driving privilege. If things don’t go well, however, the Hearing Officer also has the power to place you on medical probation, a driving restriction, a suspension, or the full and permanent revocation of your driving privilege. The Hearing Officer’s only concern is the safety of the motoring public; not your need to drive.
How Can I Win a Mental Reexamination Hearing?
First of all, don’t attempt this alone. Walking into a DMV Mental Reexamination without guidance is a recipe for disaster. The DMV Hearing Officer is not interested in protecting your rights. He or she has one job……….. To determine if you have a mental health issue or condition that makes you unsafe to drive….Period! By entering your Mental Reexamination with a DMV Defense Expert, the hearing officer is instantly put on notice that you take the matter seriously and that you’re guided by someone who understands the process.
Secondly, winning Mental Reexamination Hearing requires preparation. Drivers are often taken off guard when the hearing officer unexpectedly directs them to take a written test, a vision test, or a “behind-the-wheel” test. This may not seem like a big deal but if you haven’t taken a DMV written test in 20 years you could easily fail. A failure at any stage of the Mental Reexamination Hearing means the suspension or revocation of your driver license.
Preparing you for these little surprises however, is not enough. Prior to entering your hearing, we will conduct a complete investigation of the issues the DMV is focusing upon. Once we know what has their attention, we will begin preparing an “affirmative defense” that can includes preparing you for testimony, collecting witness statements, arranging for additional driver training and, of course, collecting medical or mental health information that proves your fitness to drive.
We Will Begin Fighting For You Now.
Everything the DMV does is time sensitive and they are not likely to grant you more time simply because you were delayed in preparing your case. Winning a Mental Reexamination Hearing requires comprehensive preparation in a very short period of time. Call us NOW. We are standing by to launch your defense immediately.
More about Re-Examiniation Hearings at the California DMV