If you were at fault in a car accident and you did not have enough insurance to cover payment of a money judgment against you resulting from the accident, your driver license can be suspended until you pay the unsatisfied judgment in full. When your license is suspended as a result of an unsatisfied judgment resulting from a car accident, it is called a DL30 suspension.
Under the California Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law, if you did not have enough insurance to cover the judgment and you don’t pay the judgment, then Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your drivers license until the unsatisfied judgment is paid in full. This essentially forces you to pay the unsatisfied judgment or file bankruptcy to eliminate the judgment debt.
“DL 30” refers to the form that the judgment creditor (the person who has a judgment against you) files with the DMV to force you to pay the unsatisfied judgment. The judgment creditor files a DL 30 form and you receive a DL 30 license suspension.
Both the license of the at fault driver, and the registered owner, of the vehicle that was involved in the accident can be suspended for up to 6 years with a DL 30 suspension.
If you have received a DL 30 driver license suspension, your options are: (A) pay the judgment in full and have your license reinstated; (B) wait until the DL 30 License Suspension ends, which is usually 3 years; or (C) file bankruptcy to satisfy the judgment debt by eliminating the judgment through the process of filing bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge of the judgment debt.
Options A and B are usually not very helpful. If you had the money to pay the judgment, you wouldn’t be in the situation you are, receiving a DL 30 suspension, and waiting for 6 years for the DL 30 license suspension to end is not a very realistic option for most people.
Option C is usually the most helpful of the options. Once you file bankruptcy, ask your San Diego bankruptcy attorney for the appropriate papers to be delivered to the DMV in order to reinstate your driver license.
In the past, the DMVs of several states refused to reinstate driver licenses after the person with the suspended license (DL-30 or equivalent) filed for bankruptcy and obtained a discharge. This led to the issue being taken up by the United States Supreme Court and decided in favor of reinstatement of driver license privileges in the case of Perez v. Campbell.
At issue before the Supreme Court was a financial responsibility law of a State that was similar to California’s law (allowing the DMV to suspend your license if you have an unsatisfied judgment) but also provided that if you file bankruptcy the judgment would not be considered satisfied and your license would remain suspended. The Supreme Court found the law to violate the Federal Bankruptcy Law, which provides that a bankruptcy discharge eliminates a judgment debt.
The Supreme Court precedence requires the DMV to release a DL30 license suspension and reinstate your driver license if you file bankruptcy on a judgment that resulted in your DL 30 suspension. This requirement to release a DL30 suspension assumes, of course, that you follow proper administrative procedures. This includes filing appropriate papers with, and providing requisite documentation to, the DMV.