If you’re worried about going to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because you’re afraid that they’ll unearth an outstanding warrant and have you arrested, you can take a deep breath and relax. We’ve got your answers.
The issue of warrants and the California DMV is complicated. If you want to know if the DMV employee who is helping you can see if you have a warrant, the answer is yes… maybe.
The DMV’s computer system is linked to many law enforcement computer networks. What the DMV is looking for is any legal reason that would prevent them from driving. If you have warrants for things like driving on a suspended license, failing to have car insurance, unpaid driving tickets, or unpaid child support, the DMV employee does see this information. If the situation has progressed to the point that your license has been suspended, the DMV will take the appropriate action.
According to Legal Beagle, in Ohio, DMV employees alert a customer when they discover that the person they’re helping has an outstanding warrant. That’s not the case in California, where the DMV simply issues a hold on the license.
If you are trying to renew your license and are told you can’t, it’s likely that the California DMV employee will be able to tell you why and who to contact to learn what steps need to be taken in order to get your driver’s license reinstated.
For example, this is the case in Ohio, where courts advise the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when people have outstanding warrants. Similarly, in California, if you fail to appear for a court hearing or to comply with a court order, a DMV hold may be placed on you. This means that there is a good chance you won’t be issued a current driver’s license. It’s unlikely that the DMV will contact the police and have you arrested, particularly if the warrant is for a minor offense such as unpaid tickets.
If you’re concerned that there is a warrant for your arrest and aren’t sure how it will impact your driver’s license, there are third-party websites available where you can find out if you’re named on an arrest warrant. You’ll have to provide your full name, age, and state of residence.
The best way to make sure your driving privileges are never revoked is dealing with legal matters as soon as they happen.