How to Win Your DMV Physical & Mental Hearing

Physical & Mental Hearing Tips

How to Win Your Physical & Mental Hearing

While retaining a DMV attorney is always the best way to win your Physical & Mental (P&M) hearing, there is no reason you cannot do it yourself with a little preparation. We have compiled all the information you need to beat DMV.

Understand that a re-examination is not a hearing. Unless the questions raised about your driving pose an immediate threat to public safety, DMV will usually call you in for a re-examination first to determine whether you should be suspended. If the re-examination results in a suspension (or if you were suspended outright without a re-examination), then you have the right to a hearing to challenge that suspension.

5 Steps to Winning Your Physical & Mental (“P&M”) Hearing

There are five steps you must follow to win your physical & mental hearing.

  1. Learn as best you can the nature of the report made against you and what safety problem it may pose for your driving. The four most commons ways DMV learns of a physical or mental condition are (1) the direct observation of a motorist at a DMV office; (2) a report from a civilian requesting that the motorist be re-examined; (3) a report from a peace officer who observes erratic driving or responds to an accident; or (4) a report from a physician regarding a condition that affects driving.
  2. See your physician about the condition. Does your doctor think the condition poses a problem for driving? Is there treatment or medication available that can make you a safe driver even though you have the condition? If so, consider embarking on that treatment or medication so you can show DMV that the condition is taken care of.
  3. Ask your doctor to complete DMV’s Driver Medical Evaluation form clearing you to drive. This may take some finesse, as doctors are typically loathe to put their reputation on the line saying a driver won’t hurt anybody. In our offices we work with the doctor to complete the form in a way that makes them feel comfortable while still satisfying DMV.
  4. Practice talking about your condition and the events that brought you to DMV’s attention. Get your spouse or a friend to listen to you and play Devil’s Advocate, asking you questions about what you say. Their goal should be to determine from what you say whether or not they would let you drive.
  5. Conduct your hearing with the attitude that you’re just going to explain why you’re a safe driver. Unlike in some other types of DMV hearings, in a P&M hearing you do not ordinarily need to worry about rules of evidence or appellate case law. While P&M hearings are governed by the same rules as the more common administrative per se hearings, in practice they are less formal and less adversarial. Many hearing officers actually try to help a motorist regain their license. You can help yourself by recognizing this fact and trying to help the hearing officer help you.

If despite your best efforts, the hearing officer suspends your license anyway, you will have maximized your chances of overturning the suspension on a writ and forcing DMV to pay your attorney’s fees.

Sections 13800 and 13801 allow DMV to conduct investigations and re-examinations into the driving ability of California motorists. In addition to specifically-listed events such as accidents causing death/injury, three or more accidents in a year and three or more DUI convictions in a year, DMV may also launch an investigation for any reason that would be grounds for refusing a license under Section 12809.

If DMV determines that the motorist’s physical or mental condition poses an immediate threat, it may suspend immediately without a re-examination. Of course, the motorist would still be entitled to a hearing—it would just take place after the suspension.

VC 12809, VC 13800, VC 13801, VC 13950, VC 13951, VC 13952, VC 13953, VC 13954

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