Rodney Gould wins San Francisco DMV Appeal

Rodney Gould wins San Francisco DMV Appeal

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco just overturned a DMV suspension for one of Mr. Gould’s motorist clients. In Miller v. Department of Motor Vehicles (May 2, 2018; A147050), a unanimous appellate panel agreed with Mr. Gould that the motorist’s arrest was illegal and that therefore, so was the suspension of his license. In the wee hours of the morning of  July 31, 2014, CHP Officer Christopher Pettyjohn was investigating a single car collision in an unincorporated area of Humboldt County.  The vehicle was registered to Mr. Miller at an address some two miles away. Officer Pettyjohn, under the pretense of “checking his well-being,” directed another officer to Miller’s house. The second officer gained entrance to the house through Miller’s roommate and then barged into Miller’s bedroom and awakened him. He ordered Miller outside and waited for Pettyjohn to arrive. When Officer Pettyjohn arrived, he initiated a DUI investigation and ultimately arrested Miller for DUI. When DMV suspended Miller’s driver’s license administratively, he hired an attorney to file a writ petition. The judge in Humboldt County refused to issue the writ. Then Miller hired Mr. Gould. Mr. Gould argued on appeal that there was no justification for the police officers to go into Miller’s bedroom. There were no exigent circumstances to justify it, nor any permission to enter his bedroom granted, as the roommate did not have the authority to give that permission. “We conclude that Miller’s detention was not lawful. A vehicle involved in a single-car accident without more does not indicate that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, nor do these facts indicate that...
Half of California Driver’s Licenses Issued to Undocumented Residents

Half of California Driver’s Licenses Issued to Undocumented Residents

According to the Los Angeles Times, an estimated 605,000 licenses were issued last year under Assembly Bill 60, the measure passed last year that grants the right to a California driver’s license to people in the country illegally. The figure accounts for almost half of all licenses issued in California last year. Officer Josh Nelson, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, suggested the measure likely improved highway safety in California. “Knowing that these drivers are being properly trained in order to get their licenses, it would only make sense that the roads would be safer,” he...
DMV Discriminates Against Transgender Motorists (Again)

DMV Discriminates Against Transgender Motorists (Again)

DMV discriminates against transgender motorists again, this time in Louisiana. (You may recall we previously reported a South Carolina teen who was prohibited from wearing makeup in her driver’s license photo. South Carolina’s DMV relented after the ACLU took the case.) It’s the same story here, just a different state. 21-year-old Denham Springs resident Alexandra Glover says the clerk told her she was trying to misrepresent her gender by wearing makeup. “You don’t look like a man,” she was told. The state’s rationale is the same that South Carolina used before realizing how ludicrous it was: DMV requires that the license photo accurately reflect the motorist’s usual appearance. The obvious problem is that DMV has no way of knowing what a motorist’s “usual appearance” is. When DMV discriminates against transgender motorists, there are remedies they can pursue. If you or anyone you know has suffered such discrimination, contact the ACLU or our office...
Teen Fatalities Decreased in Connecticut

Teen Fatalities Decreased in Connecticut

A new report in Connecticut indicates a significant reduction in crashes causing injury or death in which a 16- or 17-year-old was driving. The report credits the state’s graduated driver licensing program as a principal reason for the decline. Since 2004, there has been an 84 percent decrease in fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers and their passengers and a 64 percent decrease since 2008. Despite the success of the graduated license program, DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala said statistics show more young people are choosing to skip the rules associated with a graduated driver’s license and wait until they turn...
Motorist Sues for Interpreter on Written Test

Motorist Sues for Interpreter on Written Test

An Italian immigrant is suing the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles for refusing to translate the written driver’s license exam or allow for an interpreter. Federal law requires any agency receiving federal funds to accommodate folks with limited English proficiency. Apparently Rhode Island’s DMV will only allow the motorist to take the exam in English, Spanish or...