DUI: DMV vs. Court What’s the Difference?


A tough concept for clients in a DUI case to understand is that they are fight two battles not just one. Both matters are completely unrelated. The DMV will have a chance to penalize you by imposing a license suspension. Another tough concept to understand is that the results in one proceeding will have little to no effect on the other.

The truth is with the DMV is that they are free to act independently of the court system. Lets say criminal charges are dismissed by the prosecutor the DMV will usually ignore this and proceed to suspending your license (assuming you lose the DMV hearing). In fact, even if a jury finds you not guilty for DUI (under VC 23152(a)), this will not effect the DMVs decision to suspend your license. Additionally, winning a DMV hearing will have no effect on your criminal case.

However, there is a concern about how a dismissal or a not guilty can effect your DMV suspension. Vehicle code section 13353.3(e) states that “if a person is acquitted of criminal charges relating to a determination of facts under the department shall immediately reinstate the persons privilege to operate a motor vehicle. An acquittal on the charge of Vehicle Code Section 23152(b). Remember, an acquittal is a ruling that is a determination of one or more factual elements that you were not driving at or over .08%.

So if you receive a not guilty verdict (23152(b)) or there is a stipulation with the court  that you were not guilty on the facts of 23152(b) then your drivers license will be reinstated.