Judgments And Auto Accidents

August 12, 2023


In certain states, for example California, when one owns a judgment resulting from a vehicle accident; one can sometimes apply with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to get their judgment debtor’s driver’s license suspended, until they satisfy their judgment.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

A judgment debtor’s drivers license suspension can only be attempted if the cause of action for the judgment involved a vehicle accident, when the damages are above a certain amount. In California, the laws state that a driver’s license for the registered vehicle owner, and the driver, can be suspended for up to six years; or until the judgment is satisfied.

In California, you would use the DL-30 form. Other states have different form names and procedures. As a judgment owner, you fill out the form yourself. To get their driver’s license back, the judgment debtor will need to settle or satisfy the judgment. Be sure to provide the correct address for your judgment debtor, to insure they will get notified. Just that DMV notification of your DL-30 request, might get your debtor to settle with you.

You can get the DL-30 from the DMV’s website. Fill out the form, and take it to your court, and pay them about $37.50. The court signs the DL-30 form, and attaches a certified copy of the judgment; and then stamps the DL-30 form. You then mail that off to the DMV, the address is on the DL-30 form; along with another $20 check to them. If you are attempting to suspend the driver’s license of the registered owner of the vehicle, and that person is different from the driver; you will also need to submit evidence of vehicle ownership (registration printout) to the DMV.

In the states which allow this type of judgment recovery attempt, each has their own laws. In California, the DL-30 form must be used within 3 years of getting the vehicle-related judgment, or within 3 years of that judgment’s renewal. Here are five possible glitches, when asking the motor vehicle department to suspend your judgment debtor’s drivers license, for not satisfied a vehicle accident-related judgment:

1) Some judgment debtors do not care about their driver’s license getting revoked, and some keep on driving against the law; others let somebody else drive them around. And, because this tactic does not directly force the debtor to pay you, this could be one of those things that sounds better in theory, than the results it brings. One judgment recovery rule is, do not do things to interfere with your debtor earning money, at least until you are repaid. So if their car is the only way the debtor can get to work… Only the judgment debtor’s available assets might be levied to satisfy your judgment.

2) Some courts are sympathetic if the debtor files a complaint with the court, claiming they need to drive for their job, or to take their mother to the hospital, etc.

3) Most motor vehicle departments have a low priority for doing this. It can take 6 months for the DMV to suspend the driver’s license of your debtor after your DL-30 form is sent to them.

4) You might need to ask the court how to fill out the form. Even though the DL-30 form says the court is supposed to fill most of the form out, most courts make you do that yourself, except for the small section for the court’s authorizing signature and date stamp.

5) If your judgment debtor files for bankruptcy protection, you cannot start any new actions to suspend their driver’s license, without first getting written permission from the bankruptcy court. If you have already had the debtor’s driver’s license suspended, before their bankruptcy filing; the debtor, upon a successful bankruptcy; has a right to get their license re-instated. The debtor must provide a certified copy of the bankruptcy discharge order to the DMV, to get their license suspension lifted.

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