DMV SELF-DEFENSE SOLUTION FOR
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY SUSPENSION

DMV SELF-DEFENSE SOLUTION FOR
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY SUSPENSION

Why Does the DMV Suspend a Driver License for Financial Responsibility?

From a very young age, we are all told that driving in California is a conditional privilege.  This means the State of California may issue you a driver license, but to maintain that license all drivers have to play by the rules.  Any person who owns or operates a motor vehicle in the State of California must:

  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Not drive while impaired or intoxicated
  • Maintain the skill, the knowledge and the fitness to drive
  • Maintain proof of Financial Responsibility for any motor vehicle that he/she owns or operates.

In this segment we focus upon the DMV’s concern about whether or not a person who owns or operates a motor vehicle is covered by proof of Financial Responsibility.

History: Prior to 1920, automobiles were the toys of the affluent.  In the beginning, middle class and lower class Americans could not afford to purchase motor vehicles and so traffic collisions were few and the affluent could simply write a check to cover the cost of any expenses caused by an accident.

As the American economy grew and the prices of automobiles became more affordable, the numbers of cars on the road increased exponentially and along with that the numbers of traffic collisions soared.  Just because a family may have been able to afford a motor vehicle did not mean they could afford to pay for the damages caused when they crashed.  Consequently, there was an enormous increase in the numbers of citizens who were damaged or injured in traffic collisions who could not recoup their losses because so many drivers could not afford to pay.

In 1927, the State of Massachusetts became the first state to impose Financial Responsibility Laws so that any person who suffered an injury or whose property was damaged in a traffic collision could collect compensation to make them whole.

In 1974, the California State Legislature made it unlawful to own or operate a motor vehicle unless the owner or driver maintained proper liability insurance to cover the cost of damages or injuries.  Even today, however, it is estimated that approximately 14 percent of California drivers do not maintain Proof of Financial Responsibility.  With more than 67 interstate highways, California leads the nation in the number of traffic collisions.  It is estimated that traffic collisions account for nearly 3,000 deaths annually and the cost of property damage is in the billions.  The Legislature created California’s Financial Responsibility laws to protect and compensate those people who are injured or suffer property damage as a result of a traffic collision.

California’s Financial Responsibility Law Explained

California’s Financial Responsibility Laws are compulsory.  In other words, the State has determined that if you own or operate a motor vehicle and you are not properly insured, you will be punished for that decision.  These laws have been created to ensure that those people who suffer injury, death, or monetary losses as a result of a traffic collision can collect compensation to off-set those issues.

California Vehicle Code Section 16000(a) reads…..“Every driver and every owner of a motor vehicle shall at all times be able To establish Financial Responsibility , and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of Financial Responsibility in effect for the vehicle.”  

California Vehicle Code Section 16000.1(a) determines that even traffic collisions that occur off the highway must be covered by proof of Financial Responsibility. 

California Vehicle Code Section 16021 establishes that the minimum amount of coverage shall be $15,000 per accident for a single death or injury or; $30,000 for multiple deaths or injury.  The minimum amount of coverage for property damage is $5,000.

California Vehicle Code Section 16070  directs the DMV to suspend the driving privilege of any driver involved in a “reportable collision” when not properly insured.

California Vehicle Code Section 16075(c) directs the DMV to grant a hearing to any person accused of violating the Financial Responsibility law before a driving privilege may be suspended.

What is the Definition of a Reportable Traffic Collision?

In California, the only time the Financial Responsibility laws apply is when the owner or operator of a motor vehicle is involved in a “Reportable” traffic collision.  A Reportable traffic collision is one where:

  • The traffic collision resulted in the damage to any single vehicle or property with a monetary cost of $1,000 or greater.
  • The traffic collision resulted in any injury (however slight) to any one person.
  • The traffic collision resulted in the death of any one person.

Moreover, the Financial Responsibility laws take no account of who caused the accident.

You could be sitting at a red light minding your own business when a truck plows into you.  You could be 100% innocent, suffer injury and property damage and still have your license suspended if you don’t have proper proof of Financial Responsibility  

 How does the DMV learn I violated the Financial Responsibility Law?

There are generally four means by which the DMV learns you have been involved in a reportable traffic collision while not insured:

Law Enforcement Officers:     Most traffic collisions result in a law enforcement officer preparing a traffic collision report.  If, during the course of a traffic collision investigation, a law enforcement officer determines that a driver is not properly insured, he/she will annotate that information in their report which can make its way to the DMV.

Insurance Companies:  When an insurance company pays to repair damages to cars or to compensate injured persons, they always seek to recoup their cost.  If, during the course of handling an insurance claim, an insurance company learns that a driver was not properly insured, the insurance company will report that information to the DMV.

Attorneys: While representing  a Client in a personal injury action, an attorney may learn that one of the parties involved was not properly insured and may report that person to the DMV.

Individual Driver: California Law requires that every owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in a reportable traffic collision in California, must report the collision to the DMV within ten-days of the accident.  That driver must prepare and file a “Report of Traffic Collision in California” (Form SR-1) with the Department.  The information required to complete the SR-1 includes insurance information.  If an individual is not able to provide proof of Financial Responsibility the DMV will begin the process to suspend their driving privilege.

I own the vehicle involved in a traffic collision, but I was not driving.  Why does the DMV suspend my license:

To be frank, the DMV simply wants someone to be responsible for paying the cost associated with damages caused by a traffic collision and/or to provide compensation for those injured or killed in a collision.  The DMV really doesn’t care who is held accountable, but rest assured someone will be.

From a practical standpoint, the DMV will first seek to hold the driver responsible for proving Financial Responsibility.  After all, the individual driver is responsible for ensuring the vehicle he/she drives is mechanically sound.  He/she must drive safely and he/she must ensure the vehicle driven is covered by insurance.

Conversely, the owner of a motor vehicle may have their privilege to drive suspended, even if they were not the driver.  Usually this occurs when one of the following issues apply:

  • Runaway Vehicle: If at the time of the reportable traffic collision, the vehicle is not being operated by anyone, the owner may have to demonstrate Proof of Financial Responsibility or risk the loss of their driving privilege.  This most commonly occurs when a vehicle that is parked and unattended rolls down a hill and collides with another vehicle, person, or object.  Even though there was no driver, someone will be held accountable and that someone is the owner.
  • Driver is not known: In any instance where a reportable traffic collision has occurred but the driver is not known or cannot be established, the owner will be responsible for proving Financial Responsibility.  This will often occur where a person’s vehicle is stolen and then involved in a reportable traffic collision, if the driver is not identified, the owner will be on the hook.  Again, the DMV DOES NOT CARE that the owner wasn’t driving. The department wants its pound of flesh from someone.  In this case, the owner is victimized twice.  Once when his vehicle is stolen and secondly when the DMV steals his driver license.

What process does the DMV  use to suspend a driver license for Financial Responsibility?

As stated above, the DMV will generally learn that an owner/driver has violated California’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Laws through four sources:

  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Attorneys
  • Individual Driver

If the DMV learns that an individual driver or  the owner of a motor vehicle may have been involved in a “reportable” traffic collision and that the involved vehicle was not properly insured, the DMV will take two steps:

  • Initially, the DMV will mail a “courtesy notice” to the involved driver or owner. The DMV recognizes that, at times, it may receive erroneous information so the “courtesy notice” gives the accused driver/owner the opportunity to prove they really were insured at the time of the reportable accident.  The courtesy notice will provide the driver 30-days to provide Proof of Financial Responsibility.  If the driver/owner is able to provide this information, the case will be closed.
  • If an accused driver/owner does not provide Proof of Financial Responsibility in response to the courtesy notice, the Department will then initiate the suspension process by mailing the driver/owner an “Order of Suspension.”

The Order of Suspension is official notice that the DMV has begun the process to withdraw your driving privilege. The order will tell you that is you do not believe the suspension is warranted; you have a right to contest the suspension by scheduling an Administrative Hearing.  At the hearing, you must prove any one of the following:

  • That you were not the driver or owner of the involved motor vehicle.
  • That there is insufficient evidence to prove that any damages exceeded $1,000.
  • That there were no injuries.
  • That the subject vehicle was properly insured at the time of the collision.

Remember that at a License Suspension Hearing for Financial Responsibility the cause of collision and fault in the collision is not relevant.

At an Administrative Hearing for Financial Responsibility, the accused driver/owner is permitted to examine and challenge all of the DMV’s evidence.  The driver/owner may present his/her own evidence and witnessed.  The driver/owner may cross examine witnesses for the Department and may offer legal arguments.

In the end, there is no negotiating with the DMV.  An Administrative Hearing for Financial Responsibility is either won or lost.   If the driver/owner wins their hearing, the DMV will issue an “Order of Set Aside” and the case will be closed.  If the driver/owner loses their hearing, the  DMV will issue a “Notice of Findings and Decision” in which the Department orders a one-year suspension of the driver license.

How can I defend myself against a Financial Responsibility Suspension if I can’t afford an Attorney or Advocate?

For many of our citizens, the privilege to drive is not only a pleasure, it is a vital necessity.  Millions of Californians must drive long distances to get to work each day.  For others, driving IS their work.  For these people, the loss of their driving privilege could have devastating consequences.

If you have received an Order of Suspension from the California DMV alleging that you have violated California’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law, all is not lost.  You can and should fight, fight, fight to prevent the suspension of your driving privilege.  Although there are only a few pertinent issues to be attacked, there are numerous ways to do it.

Throughout our website we constantly state that the best way to defend yourself before the California DMV is through representation by an Administrative Advocate or Attorney. The laws governing the operation of motor vehicles in California are complex. The Administrative Procedures Act, which governs how Administrative Hearings are conducted, is difficult to understand; and the California Vehicle Code, which controls the DMV, is archaic. If you have the resources to retain a DMV defense professional, do it.

If you, however, are in a position where you simply cannot afford the fees charged by professional Administrative Advocates or Attorneys, that does not mean you have to go down in flames. You can and should fight to protect your driving freedom. Here at Your DMV Self-Defense Solutions, we are specifically set up to help drivers who can’t afford the DMV dream team. California Law expressly permits an accused driver to represent themselves in actions before the California DMV and we’re here to ensure you do it the right way.

Our background is in DMV Administrative Advocacy.  For decades we have fought side by side with our Clients at Administrative License Suspension Hearings before the California DMV. We have extensive training and experience in California Law and DMV protocol, so we know what it takes to save your driving privilege. We offer services unlike any other DMV defense group in California.

At Your DMV Self-Defense Solutions, we offer 3 different self-defense packages to assist you in defending yourself against a DMV administrative license suspension for Financial Responsibility. That’s right, we help you to defend yourself; and at fees far less than Administrative Advocates and Attorneys. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call us.  Let us assess what your case requires and what we can do to help you Defend Yourself.

Our solutions are form-fitted to you depending upon the complexity of your case, your need to drive, and your individual strengths and weaknesses.  Proper self-defense at a DMV Administrative Hearing can require one to be adept at the use of computers, fax machines and telephones for communication.  Proper self-defense can require in-depth legal research and learning to navigate the DMV’s maze of requirements and protocols.

Some people have all the strengths necessary to defend themselves with a minimum of guidance, while others need their case to be managed and prepared right up to the point of testimony.

With proper guidance you can defend yourself at the DMV and YOU CAN WIN!!

How can I win a Financial Responsibility Hearing by Myself?

If you find yourself in the predicament of having to fight the DMV to save or restore your driving privilege but, you cannot afford the fees charged by Administrative Advocates and Attorneys we may have a Solution that fits your needs and your budget. To begin with, you have to conduct a self-assessment of you and your case.  By answering these few questions for yourself and speaking with us, you can decide which of our solutions works for you.  Ask yourself:

  • Why is the DMV suspending my driving privilege?
  • How critical is my need to drive?
  • How complex are the issues in my case with the DMV?
  • How comfortable am I communicating by telephone, email and fax?
  • How comfortable am I conducting legal research and preparing legal documents?
  • How comfortable am I communicating with authority figures?

Once you have answered these questions then you can review the Solutions we offer to select one that meets your needs.

Platinum

$1200
  • We file a formal “Request for Hearing”
  • We file a “Request for Stay of Suspension”
  • We file a formal “Request for Discovery”
  • Collection of evidence & preparing witness statements: Included
  • We file a formal “Notice of Affirmative Evidence”
  • We prepare you for testimony: Question Prep
  • We provide you details about your DMV Hearing Officer
  • Any Follow-up after your Hearing: We handle it
  • We file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension

Gold

$750
  • Instructions: How to file your formal “Request for Hearing”
  • Instructions: How to file your “Request for Stay of Suspension”
  • Instructions: How to file your “Request for Discovery”
  • Instructions: Collection of evidence & the preparation of witnesses
  • Instructions: How to file your “Notice of Affirmative Evidence”
  • Provided: A list of questions you should expect to be asked
  • We provide you details about your DMV Hearing Officer
  • Any Follow-up after your Hearing: we instruct you how to handle
  • Instructions: How to file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension

Silver

$500
  • Instructions: How to file your formal “Request for Hearing”
  • Instructions: How to file your “Request for Stay of Suspension”
  • Instructions: How to file your “Request for Discovery”
  • Instructions: Collection of evidence & the preparation of witnesses
  • Instructions: How to file your “Notice of Affirmative Evidence”
  • Testimony Prep: NONE
  • We provide you details about your DMV Hearing Officer
  • Any Follow-up after your Hearing: we instruct you how to handle
  • Instructions: How to file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension
Learn More About Each Solution Here

Each one of our Solutions has been carefully crafted based on decades of experience gained in representing drivers at DMV Financial Responsibility Hearings.  We have actually been in the trenches fighting the DMV to restore the driving freedom of thousands of Clients.  By utilizing one of our three solutions, you put a defense team behind you with the skill, knowledge and experience to get the job done.  You put yourself in the position of being fully prepared and confident to face the DMV and to prevail in the end.

So, if you can’t afford the price of high-quality Advocates or Attorneys, call Your DMV Self-Defense Solutions today.  You should never allow the DMV to steal your driving freedom without a fight.  Call us today and we’ll guide you through the battle.

In this solution we handle EVERYTHING to prepare you to represent yourself at a DMV Reexam or Hearing.  We manage everything right up to the point your hearing begins.  The Platinum Solution includes:

  • We file a formal “Request for Hearing” on your behalf with the Financial Responsibility Unit in Sacramento. This is done in a timely manner with proper documentation.  We then confirm the DMV has received the request so they can’t wiggle out of giving you a hearing.
  • We file a “Request for Stay of Suspension” on your behalf to stop the suspension of your driving privilege until the outcome of the Administrative Hearing.
  • We file a formal “Request for Discovery” which compels the DMV to provide you with all of its evidence.
  • We conduct a detailed interview with you to learn all about who you are as a person and how you came to the DMV’s attention.
  • From the information derived in the interview, we provide you a Checklist of things to be completed.
  • If the collection of evidence or the preparation of witness statements is important, we assist to get that done.
  • We file a formal “Notice of Affirmative Evidence” on your behalf to compel the DMV to accept all of your evidence.
  • We prepare you for testimony. In this phase we instruct you on what questions to expect during your hearing and how to appropriately conduct yourself and answer those questions.  We actually explain the entire hearing process and practice your testimony.
  • We update you on information concerning your individual DMV Hearing Officer. What type of things do they appreciate?  What type of things tend to irritate them?
  • If there is any follow-up after your Hearing, we handle it.
  • When the case draws to a conclusion, we file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension on your behalf with the DMV.

**We do not represent you at your Suspension Hearing but, we handle everything right up to that point and have you completely prepared to conduct your hearing, on your own with confidence**

One step down from the Platinum Solution is our Gold Solution.  In this solution, the burden of preparation falls more squarely on your shoulders but, we instruct you every step of the way.  The Gold solution includes:

  • Instruction on how to file your own formal “Request for Hearing” in a timely manner with the Financial Responsibility Unit in Sacramento and how to confirm the DMV’s receipt of the request.
  • Instruction on how to file your own “Request for Stay of Suspension” to stop the suspension of your driving privilege until the outcome of the hearing.
  • Instruction on how to file your own “Request for Discovery” to compel the DMV to provide you with its evidence.
  • We conduct a detailed interview with you to learn all about who you are as a person. We also learn what brought you to the DMV’s attention.
  • From the information derived in the interview, we provide you a Checklist of things to be done and how to appropriately communicate with the DMV.
  • If the collection of evidence or the preparation of witnesses is important, we instruct you on how to perform these tasks.
  • We instruct you how to file your own “Notice of Affirmative Evidence,” in an appropriate manner so the DMV will accept your items of evidence.
  • We provide you a list of questions you should expect to be asked during Administrative Hearing.
  • We update you on information concerning your individual DMV Hearing Officer. What type of things do they appreciate?  What type of things tend to irritate them?
  • If there is any follow-up after your Re-Exam or Hearing, we instruct you how to handle those issues.
  • When the case draws to a conclusion, we instruct you how to file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension with the DMV.

**In the Gold Solution, we do not represent you at your Administrative Hearing and we do not communicate with the DMV on your behalf but, we manage your case and instruct you every step of the way in preparing your own defense**

Our most basic solution is the Silver Solution.  In this solution, we provide minimal instruction on how to handle your case. The Silver Solution includes:

  • Instruction on how to prepare and file your own formal “Request for Hearing” in a timely manner with the Financial Responsibility Unit in Sacramento and how to confirm the DMV’s receipt of the request.
  • Instruction on how to file your own “Request for Stay of Suspension” to stop the intended suspension of your driving privilege until the outcome of your hearing.
  • Instruction on how to file your own “Request for Discovery” to compel the DMV to provide you with its evidence.
  • We provide a Checklist of things to be done based on our conversation with you.
  • If the collection of evidence or the preparation of witness statements is important, we instruct you on how to perform these tasks.
  • We instruct you how to file all of your evidence in an appropriate manner so the DMV will accept your items.
  • We update you on information concerning your individual DMV Hearing Officer. What type of things do they appreciate?  What type of things tend to irritate them?
  • If there is any follow-up after your Administrative Hearing, we instruct you how to handle those issues.
  • When the case draws to a conclusion, we instruct you how to file a formal “Request to Terminate” Suspension with the DMV.

**In the Silver Solution, we do not represent you at your Administrative Hearing and we do not communicate with the DMV on your behalf.  We do not conduct an intake interview but, we have you completely prepared to handle your matter on your own with confidence**

Schedule a Confidential and Free Consultation

Our team of DMV Defense Experts are standing by to answer any questions you may have. All calls are confidential and at no obligation to you. Reach out now to see how any of our Self Help DMV Defense services can help you.