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Why Does the DMV Suspend Licenses for Dementia

Why does the DMV Suspend a Driver License for Dementia?

Of all the government agencies in the State of California, none hold as much sway over the day to day lives of its residents as the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Whether the department is registering vehicles or issuing driver licenses, the DMV is uniquely situated to impact a person’s freedom of travel.

While all drivers understand the DMV is responsible for the issuance of driver licenses and endorsements, few people know just how much power the DMV has to strip away that same person’s driver license.  Acting independently from any police agency or court, the DMV has been granted sweeping powers by the California State Legislature.  If the DMV suspects that any driver does not possess the skill, the knowledge, or the physical/mental fitness to drive, the department will act quickly to suspend or revoke that person’s privilege to drive.  This is all done under the umbrella of protecting the motoring public.  The DMV’s opinion is that the safety of many outweighs the need of the individual driver.

Remember that if the DMV has begun the process of withdrawing your privilege to drive, you have a right to defend yourself and to be judged on your own individual merits and strengths. With the assistance of a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates, you may be able to reverse the DMV action and regain your privilege to drive.

When considering a person’s Physical/Mental Fitness to drive, the DMV will be concerned about any medical, physical or mental disease or disorder that could potentially affect one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.The fact is operating a motor vehicle requires a complex set of skills that can be adversely affected by certain medical disorders.

Some of the more common disorders that would cause the DMV to suspend or revoke a driver license are: Disorders of the head, neck or spine, Seizures,convulsions or epilepsy, Dizziness, fainting or frequent headaches, Vision disorders, Disorders of the heart or circulatory system, Heart attack,stroke or paralysis, Disorders of the Lungs, Diabetes or high blood sugar, Liver or Kidney disease, Muscular disease, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Cognitive Decline, and/or Drug or alcohol abuse.

In this chapter, we discuss the DMV’s concern for a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle when they suffer with any form of Dementia.It is no secret that the Baby Boomer generation is aging.  As that happens, the frequency of drivers being diagnosed with memory loss, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms Cognitive Decline is increasing at an alarming rate.

Many forms of Dementia are progressive—meaning they tend to worsen over time. A person with Dementia may experience problems with: Judgement, Multi-Tasking, Slowed Reaction Time, Impaired Spatial Skills, Anger Management Issues, and/or Other Cognitive Deficits.


What forms of Cognitive Decline is a concern for the DMV?

Memory Loss:

As we age, it is common for all drivers to experience some mild forms of memory loss.  We can all experience instances where we can’t recall a date or a person’s name.  The problem with simple memory loss is it often presents the same symptoms present in more serious forms of Cognitive Decline like Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Many times drivers who are experiencing some mild memory issues will go to their doctors for advice and find themselves being evaluated by a primary care doctor with little or no experience in determining signs of Dementia.  Many times, drivers with mild memory loss are misreported to the DMV by a doctor who has no clue what they are doing. As a general rule, the DMV will not suspend a person’s driving privilege for issues of Memory Loss provided the condition is stable and mild, however any cognition issues that are moderate or severe can cause the DMV to act.

Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is organic brain disorders that present with signs of impaired cognition.  Often times a person afflicted with these conditions will experience problems with memory and judgement.  Because these disorders tend to be progressive, the driver may experience increasing problems with paranoia, and disturbances of higher cortical function.

Because Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease tend to worsen over time, the DMV has established a series of graduated steps to measure the impact on a person’s ability to drive.The DMV measures Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as: Mild, Moderate, or Severe

What can I do if the DMV is suspending my Driver License for Dementia?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a huge bureaucratic beast that processes hundreds of driver license suspensions each day.  So huge is their work load that it is very common for the department to lump all drivers with cognitive issues into one pile and presume that they are unsafe to drive.It is important that you be evaluated and judged on your own merits, strengths and facts.The DMV should not be permitted to presume any driver is unsafe to drive without a showing of “good cause.” If you have received information that the DMV is working to suspend or revoke your driver license, you should immediately work to protect your rights. You should work hard to make the DMV view you as an individual person.

Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates for assistance.  We have been fighting to preserve the driving privileges of California Drivers for many years. Each year, we protect scores of drivers who have been wrongly assessed as having Dementia. More common however is the driver who really does have a form of mild Dementia, but who has not yet lost the ability to drive safely.

You Must Participate

If an accused driver takes no action to defend themselves, their driving privilege will remain withdrawn for an indeterminate period of time. This essentially means FOREVER.

The DMV Hearing

If your driver license has been suspended, contact the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates immediately to ensure your right to a hearing is preserved.

DMV Defense Team

It is important that you be represented by someone who has a long-history of winning this type of hearing. Don’t despair…. These things can be won.

Call CDA Today….. Our compassionate and patient team can get you through this.

Being diagnosed with some form of Dementia can be a shattering and frightening experience for any person. To then have that compounded by the DMV suspending your driver license is further demoralizing.  Don’t let the DMV steal your privilege to drive without a fight.  There are literally thousands of people driving today with various levels of Cognitive Decline or Dementia because they were able to prove they are stable.

The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been representing California drivers with Dementia for decades. We’ve seen every dirty trick played by the DMV to strip a person of their driving privilege.  Call us today and let us put together a winning strategy to beat the DMV at its own game.




Quality DMV Defense isn’t something we preach, it’s what we practice. Our team is highly trained and experienced in every facet of our industry. This means that you’re in the best possible hands and protected by a team of professionals who care.


When it comes to protecting your driving privilege, results are everything. We’ve conducted scores of DMV Administrative Hearings and our results are among the best in the State. Our goal is to win and that means you keep driving.

Payment Options

Quality DMV Defense isn’t something you plan on needing. If you need quality representation but funds aren’t available you shouldn’t compromise on your future. We offer a variety of payment plans to fit your needs, including Retainer Fund.