Ambulance drivers are some of the most trusted professional drivers. They respond to emergency calls hundreds of times every day to assist people who have been hurt or are unwell. When the ambulance driver arrives at the scene of the emergency, he or she is responsible for transferring patients to higher medical treatment as soon as possible and without inflicting further injury.

Following the issuance of an Ambulance Certificate, the driver is constantly monitored by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Department of Highway Patrol (CHP) to make sure that they retain the physical and mental capability to serve patients. For the sake of patient safety, the DMV and CHP additionally monitor certificate holders for any other issues that may cause the suspension or revocation of the Ambulance Certificate. This blog will cover reasons why the DMV can take these disciplinary actions against an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate.

Refusal, Suspension, Revocation, or Cancellation Order for a California Special Driver Certificate

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the government body in charge of issuing all classes of driving licenses to qualified California drivers. The following are the basic types of driving licenses:

  • For the average motorist, a Class "C" driver’s license is required
  • Motorcycle drivers must have a Class "M" driver's license
  • Class "B" Commercial Driver License is required for driving commercial vehicles that do not require a Class "A" Driver License
  • The highly-trained drivers hold a Class "A" Commercial Driver license, which allows them to operate all types of vehicles except motorcycles

In relation to the specific type of driving license, some professional drivers must additionally have a Special Certificate in order to operate various kinds of specialized vehicles. The following are the most common types of Special Certificates:

  • Certificate for School Bus Drivers
  • Certificate for Ambulance Drivers
  • Tow Truck Driver's License

Due to the trust and confidence connected with driving these vehicles, anybody who possesses one of these Special Certificates is subject to the utmost standards, both professionally and personally.

The procedure of seeking and then retaining a Special Certificate puts a driver to the greatest professional and personal standards of conduct. If the Department of Motor Vehicles acquires knowledge that a Special Certificate application or existing holder has engaged in any incident that breaches public confidence, the DMV will proceed to deny, revoke, suspend, or terminate a California Special Driver Certificate.

If you got an order to deny/revoke/revoke/suspend/terminate a California Special Driver Certificate, it means that the DMV has notified you that the agency has indeed launched the procedure to restrict you from driving a specialized vehicle.

Put simply, when you get such an order, the department is not alerting you that an investigation has been warranted; rather, the agency is placing you on notice that an investigation has already been conducted and that the DMV has ascertained that measures against your Special Certificate are justified.

Why the DMV takes Disciplinary Action Against an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Holder

Individuals who drive ambulances are one of the most strictly regulated of drivers since they are trusted with carrying the ill and injured timely and safely. Additionally, the reasons stated in Vehicle Code Section 13369, the Department of Motor Vehicles has the authority to refuse, revoke, or suspend any person's Ambulance Driver Special Certificate for any reason, prior to or following the certificate is issued.

The DMV issues this order after receiving reports from a third party that a driver has breached some section of the law, refused to apply some rules or law pertaining to the safe running of a specialized vehicle, illustrated that they are a careless driver of a motor vehicle, engaged in an act of misconduct, or has a health/physical/psychological condition.

Section 13372 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) is a wide and immensely powerful section of the law. The legislative aim of this statute was to provide the DMV the authority to deny, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Certificate for almost any conduct or action that may be viewed as posing a risk to patients.

The DMV may refuse, revoke, or suspend any individual's driver certificate for a variety of reasons, including, but not restricted to:

Felony Charges

Vehicle Code Section 13372 allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to refuse, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Driver Certificate of anyone who’s been charged with any criminal or any theft in the previous seven years.

Moral Depravity

Under Vehicle Code Section 13372, the DMV may reject, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Driver Certificate to anyone who has engaged in acts of moral misconduct, like fraud or willful dishonesty for individual benefit, during the previous seven-year span.

This provision does not need the driver to be acquitted of the purported offenses. The meager speculation that an individual has engaged in a moral turpitude action is enough to warrant disciplinary measures.

Dependence or Regular Use of Alcohol, Narcotics, or Medications

VehicleCode Section 13372 allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to refuse, revoke, or suspend an ambulance driver's license if the individual abuses alcohol, narcotics, or prescribed drugs on a regular and excessive basis.

Illegal Substance Usage or Possession

Vehicle Code Section 13372 authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend, revoke, or deny the Ambulance DriverCertificate of any individual charged within the previous seven years of any felony involving usage, possession, distribution, and transportation of illegal drugs, addictive or harmful substances.

Conviction of Aggressive Misdemeanor Charges

Vehicle Code Section 13372 allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend, revoke, or deny an Ambulance Driver Certificate for ANY crime involving violence, force, intimidation, or threats.

Suspension for Driving Violations

Vehicle Code Section 13372 authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicle to suspend, revoke, or suspend an ambulance license for any individual on suspension for operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe way.

Dangerous Driving of any Vehicle

The Vehicle Code Section 13372 allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to deny, revoke, or suspend the Ambulance Driver Certificate of any individual who has had his or her driver license revoked or suspended for the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle within the three years preceding application, or who has been found guilty of any of the following within the same time period:

  • Failure to stop as well as provide assistance at the scene of an accident that results in death or injury (Hit and Run)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, any illegal substance, or both liquor and any illegal drug
  • Irresponsible or hazardous driving resulting in physical harm or even death

Traffic Accidents

Under Vehicle Code Section 13372, the DMV has the authority to deny, revoke, or suspend the Ambulance Driver Certificate of an individual who has been engaged as the driver in any crash involving bodily injury or death, or who has been engaged in three or more vehicle accidents in the past one year span.

Dishonest Application

According to Vehicle Code Section 13369, the DMV may deny, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Driver Certificate if a driver intentionally made a false statement or hid relevant facts on an application for a certificate of approval, when honesty would have caused a DMV action.

Physical or Mental Illnesses

Vehicle Code Section 13369 allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend, revoke, or deny an Ambulance Driver Certificate if the driver does not satisfy the DMV's basic medical requirements outlined in Article 2.1, Sections 28.18 and 28.19 of Title 13, California Code of Regulations.

When there is an imminent danger to one's safety, measures may be undertaken under the authority of Vehicle Code Section 13953. As a result, if an individual is found to have, or develops a medical or mental condition that renders them unfit to drive an ambulance, their special certification may be rejected, revoked, or suspended.

Unjustifiable Behavior

Under Vehicle Code Section 13369, the DMV may reject, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Driver Certificate if the driver has expressed irrationality to the degree that a rational and responsible person would have probable grounds to assume that the driver's capacity to execute the obligations of an Ambulance Driver could be inadequate.

There has to be a link between the action and the applicant's or certificate/endorsement holder's ability to execute the responsibilities necessary when driving an ambulance for measures to be taken.

Harmful Ambulance Operation

Section 13372  of the Vehicle Code allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to deny, revoke, or suspend the Ambulance DriverCertificate of any individual who has breached any requirement of the Vehicle Code or any legislation implemented by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol made in relation to the proper handling of emergency ambulances in the past one-year span.

Termination of Work by Employer

Vehicle Code Section 13372 allows the DMV to refuse, revoke, or suspend any individual's Ambulance Driver Certificate if he or she has perpetrated any activity that merits termination by their employer.


The California Vehicle Code Section 13369 allows the driver of the ambulance to apply again for an Ambulance Driver Certificate within one year of the date of denial, revocation, or suspension unless the law requires a longer time of withdrawal.

Because the DMV is responsible for ensuring the driving competence of all drivers, particularly those seeking for or currently holding a Special Certificate, the agency is obligated to investigate any claim that such a driver may not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary to obtain a Special Certificate. If the department's inquiry discovers any evidence that the accusation against the driver is true, the driver's permit to drive specialized vehicles will be immediately revoked.

How did the DMV Find out About What You did?

Because the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is deeply embedded into the fabric of our society, it acquires knowledge on the competence of Special Certificate applicants or holders from a number of sources. The DMV may get incriminating information from the following sources:

  • The FBI or the California Department of Justice
  • Law Enforcement Agencies at the local, county, state, and federal levels
  • First responders such as paramedics, firefighters, and police officers
  • Employers
  • Sources in the media
  • Friends, relatives, or neighbors
  • Doctors and other medical professionals
  • Informants who wish to remain anonymous
  • The DMV's own registry

The California Vehicle Code requires the DMV to investigate any indication or claim that a Special Certificate application or holder does not satisfy the criteria required to operate a specialized vehicle.

What Next Since the DMV has Issued You this Order?

When you receive an Order to Deny, Suspend, Revoke, or Terminate a California Special Driver Certificate, you have two options: acknowledge the DMV's action and either discontinue the application for a Special Certificate or stop driving a specialized vehicle if you currently have one.

When a Special Certificate applicant or holder is facing the loss of their Special Certificate, the law requires that you be given Procedural Due Process in the form of an Administrative Hearing. Only in exceptional cases is a driver's right to a hearing rejected due to "Mandatory Action."

Failure to notify the Special Certificate Unit during the first 14 days waives your right to a hearing, and the DMV's action will take effect immediately.

Delays in postal delivery or receipt of the notification might quickly limit the number of days you have to defend yourself. If you get notification from the DMV that they plan to revoke or suspend your Ambulance Drivers Certificate under the terms of CVC section 13372, you must respond quickly.

Furthermore, making a formal request to postpone the action until after a final decision must be given careful thought. This is referred to as a "Stay of Suspension or Revocation," and it allows the driver to keep their Special Certificate and operate specialized vehicles until the hearing and review are completed.

A hearing must be authorized if the Special Certificates Unit receives a prompt submission for a Special Certificate Hearing and the action is not covered by obligatory action. The driver's file will subsequently be forwarded to the Driver Safety Office nearest to the driver's residence by the Special Certificates Unit. A hearing will be scheduled by the individual Driver Safety Office.

The DMV has a policy of denying petitions for a "Stay of Suspension or Revocation," therefore proceed with caution when filing the request. The driver must show that continuing to use and retain the Special Certificate does not put patients in danger.

How are You Going to Fight for Your Special Certificate?

The only way to win a Special Certificate Hearing is to thoroughly research the allegations that prompted the action. Once the matter has been thoroughly examined, you must prepare your case as if you were going to court.

The driver must strive to obtain all of the Discovery (evidence) in their case from the DMV when their case has been moved to a local Driver Safety Office and a Special Certificate Hearing has been set. Once acquired, the Discovery must be thoroughly examined before decisions are made regarding issuing subpoenas for more material or arranging for witness testimony.

Evidence is given. Witnesses may be called to testify.  Legal arguments are heard, and objections are taken into account. Experts may provide their thoughts. This might be a hard struggle since the DMV is allowed to assume the truth and honesty of the information it receives.

By presenting proof or testifying, the implicated driver must dispute the presumption. A solid understanding of the Vehicle Code, Evidence Code, Administrative Procedures Act and California Code of Civil Procedures is required to win a Special Certificate Hearing. This might be a lot for a driver to comprehend, although it is necessary.

A driver representing himself or herself before a Special Certificate Hearing is not required to have legal representation. It is allowed for the motorist to plan, prepare, and present their own case. They are not forced to spend any money on legal defense.

However, since this procedure is so difficult and so much is at risk, you may want to hire an attorney to defend you. While it is not required by law that you be represented at your hearing, having this sort of representation increases your chances of winning.

Following the conclusion of a Special Certificate Hearing, the assigned hearing officer will produce a "proposed judgment," which will be forwarded to the Certificate Action Review Board (CARB).

The Certificate Action Review meets once a month to evaluate all material, statements, and evidence given at the hearing and to review recommended judgments. After that, the CARB will issue a final decision, which will be sent to the indicted driver.

Find a Professional License Defense Attorney Near Me

If you are facing disciplinary action because of an accusation of drug/substance abuse, ethics breaches, or malpractice in Long Beach or elsewhere in California, your livelihood may be on the line.

The DMV may suspend, limit, or suspend your driver's license. You need an experienced and compassionate defense counsel while the DMV is investigating you. Your lawyer should oppose the cancellation of your special driver's license and the loss of your job. Call The Legal Guardian today at 888-293-0396 today and let us fight for your rights.