The court and the DMV work together for DUIs in Los Angeles, California. The court's computer is hooked up to the DMV's computer. So, anytime anybody gets convicted for a DUI in Los Angeles, that information is transmitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
So, when people are convicted of a DUI — even if the DMV didn't take their license administratively, that conviction would trigger a suspension depending on whether it's the person's first, second, third, or fourth DUI in Los Angeles.
So, when it comes to the DMV, they're dealing with a person's license. Many clients say to me, why don't we get the judge not to suspend my license. I say it's not really up to the judge. It's up to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
They don't interfere with the DMV. The court gives information to the DMV, and also, the court will enforce suspensions by the DMV. If somebody gets caught driving on a suspended license, the court will criminally prosecute that person using the prosecutors and court system. So, in that respect, the court pretty much backs up the DMV.
When comparing the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles, know that the DMV deals with the license and any suspension and getting the right back and any restrictions placed on your vehicle.
For example, they can make you put an ignition interlock device in your car, and you have to blow into it to start the car, and they could suspend your driver's license.
Criminal Courts are Responsible for DUI Punishment
On the other hand, as it relates to DUIs in Los Angeles, the court is responsible for punishment if they find that you're guilty of a DUI and the terms and conditions of probation. They're also responsible for whether you get any criminal record related to your DUI arrest.
For example, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code Section 23152. You will get a couple of points on your record from the DMV, and the court will also give you a conviction.
So, you'll have a criminal misdemeanor conviction. In addition to that, the court can punish you with jail time, fines, community service, Caltrans, community labor, and other restrictions like a scram bracelet. They could put you on probation.
They can order you not to drink alcohol while you're on probation. There's a whole host of things that the court has the power to do versus the DMV.
DMV and Criminal Courts Work Together
But, if you ever get confused about it, know that the court deals with your record and punishment for the DUI in Los Angeles. In contrast, the DMV deals with what, if anything, will happen to your driver's license and also whether you can get your driver's license back and make people install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles related to DUI cases.
So, both the court and the DMV work together in many ways. The court is the big brother of the DMV in that they give the DMV teeth. Because if the DMV suspends your license and you get caught driving, the court then comes in to back them up and punish you.
A lot of times, you'll get charged with a misdemeanor – Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 driving on a suspended license – and the bigger problem with that is if it relates to a DUI, there's a mandatory ten days in jail and a host of other punishments that can come along with it.
So, if you have a DUI, you want to get an attorney to untangle this mess with the DMV and the court system to end up with the best result and get yourself free from both the DMV and the court as quickly as possible.