DMV will suspend and revoke licenses for a variety of reasons. These actions usually stem from
incidents which the Department thinks will pose a risk to public safety. Court convictions or problems
while driving are usually sufficient for DMV to start seeking a suspension. Additionally, some
suspensions are a result of failing to perform certain duties. Specifically, failure to appear in
court or failure to pay a fine or child support can result in a suspension. DMV personnel are
professionals whose job is to suspend and revoke licenses. DMV Lawyer can help you understand
how the system works and provide information about the best course of action to take to reinstate a suspended
We can research your status at DMV and explain your options. Whether you are suspended for
failing to appear, lack of insurance, class requirements, medical conditions, lack of skill,
or too many points, there are certain steps you must take to get your license back.
For violations occurring on or after July 1, 2011, California courts started reporting a traffic school citation as a conviction on a driving record instead of
a dismissal. If the driver is eligible and completes a traffic school course, this conviction will be masked on the record. Once a conviction is masked
on the record, it will not become unmasked nor assessed a violation point.
A TVS conviction will not be masked if:
- There is a prior TVS dismissal/conviction within the previous 18 months.
- The conviction would result in a violation point count of more than one point.
- The driver holds a commercial driver license or was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the violation.
Sufficiency of Blood Alcohol Evidence at DMV
Two cases have recently discussed blood alcohol evidence at DMV hearings. Borger v. DMV held that "a defense
expert's conclusion that there is a margin-of-error inherent in a blood alcohol level scientifically measured with an
Intoxilyzer 5000, an approved Department of Motor Vehicles breath testing device, may not be used to defeat the
legislative determination that a person who drives wit a reported blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher will
suffer suspension of the privilege to drive." - March 2011
However, Brenner v. DMV held that "Although the arresting officer's testimoy and plaintiff's BAC results
were sufficicient to establish the Department's prima facie case, plaintiff presented evidence that the instrument
used to mesure his BAC produced results that were higher than the accurate values. Plaintiff thus rebutted the
Departments's prima facie showng with evidence that the recorded test resus were inaccurate. Accordingly, the burden
shifted back to the DMV to prove by preponderance of evidence that the test results were reliable." - November 2010
Ten Year Revocation
Driving Under the Influence (AB 1601/Hill) Effective in January 1, 2012, this bill authorizes a court to order a
10-year revocation of the driver license of a person convicted of a third or subsequent DUI violation, with
possible reinstatement after five years if specified conditions are met
New Interlock Device Law for DUI Convictions
A pilot program will begin July 1, 2010, in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare
counties. It will require an interlock device to be installed for first time and repeat
DUI offenders anywhere from five to 48 months. - March 2010
The California Supreme Court has held that breath tests may be attacked on the grounds that they
could be in error for a percentage of the population. This does not affect the crime of driving
with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. It only applies to the charge of driving while impaired.
PEOPLE V. TIMMIE LANCE McNEAL - July 2009
Overruling previous decisions allowing police to search a vehilce whenever they arrest an occupant, the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant
that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant's arrest only if it is reasonable to believe that the
arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. - April 2009
Starting January 1, 2009 a new law went into effect where writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while driving will be against the
law for all drivers in California.
This new law applies to electronic wireless communications devices used to manually communicate with any person using text-based communication,
including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
Violating this law is punishable by a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. With the addition of penalty
assessments, fines can be more than triple the base fine amount. - October 2008
At a DMV hearing, the hearing officer may continue the case to compel the testimony of an officer to establish that he was on duty at the time of a
vehicle stop. The court held that such a continuance was supported by good cause because it was not reasonably anticipated that the respondent would
object to the officer's written statement on the basis that it was not established that the officer was on duty at the time of the vehicle stop. - July
- Bussard v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 858
Suspensions For Boating Violations
DMV had been taking automatic suspensions of the driving privilege for boating under the
influence convictions. Now, the Second Appellate District has said that DMV was not
interpreting the law correctly by taking the suspensions. The case is not final but it
looks as though under current law the suspensions are not valid and should be recinded.
- June 2008
Old out-of-state DUIs are causing suspensions. DUIs from other states have been just recently added to California
driving records. This means that people who have been driving legally in California for years are suddenly becoming
aware that their licenses have been suspended retroactively. Some suspensions have been backdated as much as 10 years.
There are solutions to this problem. Sometimes the privilege can be reinstated by showing that the driver had a valid
out-of-state license at the time of the offense. In other cases, an alcohol class must be completed. - May 2008
Last Updated: March 28, 2013.