Motor Vehicles (California Department of)

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733-Motor Vehicles


The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers driver competency tests, licenses drivers, takes sanctions against uninsured drivers and owners, takes sanction against unsafe drivers, and registers vehicles and vessels. Additionally DMV issues identification cards and special license plates.

To further protect the public, the California Department of Motor Vehicles regulates the vehicle industry. This is achieved by licensing and regulating the occupational groups of dealerships and salespersons, registration services, dismantlers, distributors, leasing companies that sell cars, manufacturers/remanufacturers, and transporters. This authority also extends to owners, operators, and instructors of driving schools, traffic violator schools, and all Terrain Vehicle Safety Programs and Ignition Interlocking Devices.

The DMV has 170 field offices statewide. Consumers must call the main line for offices in their area.

(800) 777-0133

(800-368-4327 TTY

Department of Motor Vehicles Division of Investigations

Department of Motor Vehicles

Division of Investigations

PO Box 825389

Sacramento, CA 94232-3890

(800) 777-0133

(916) 657-8443 Fax

Complaint jurisdiction:

Vehicle theft, using false documents or switching vehicle ID numbers; using false ID cards or drivers licenses; unauthorized removal of parts or disposal of vehicle; illegal repossession by seller; illegal lien sale; improper operation of driving schools or illegal conduct by their employees; vehicle dismantler misconduct, or violation of any other applicable Vehicle Code sections. Consumers can download a complaint form from the DMV Web site, but must send the completed form to the Sacramento DMV address for processing.

Complaints outside jurisdiction:

Insurance problems, improperly installed safety equipment such as brakes, tires, lights, and seat belts, or smog devices; lemon law (replace-ment of defective new cars); mobile home industry and salespersons, promises not made in writing; repairs made by auto shops for items not under warranty; repair service and smog problems, recall information, safety equipment (brakes, lights, seat belts), or extended service warranty complaints.

Department of Motor Vehicles Occupational Licensing (OL) Branch

The Occupational Licensing (OL) Branch is responsible for licensing, monitoring and controlling a wide range of motor vehicle related businesses and individuals, including the following:

  • Vehicle Dealers - Automobile, Commercial, Motorcycle, Recreational Vehicle, Trailer, and Snowmobile.
  • Vehicle Salespersons, Lessor-Retailers, Manufacturers, Dismantlers, Distributors and their Representatives, Remanufacturers, Verifiers, and Transporters.
  • Vessel Agents and Registration Services.
  • Traffic Violator School - Owners, Operators, and Instructors.
  • Driving School - Owners, Operators, Instructors, Independent Driving Schools, and Instructors.
  • Mature Driver Improvement Course - Providers.

Motor Carrier Permit Branch

Department of Motor Vehicles

Motor Carrier Permit Branch - G875

P.O. Box 932370

Sacramento, CA 94232-3700

(916) 657-8153

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) administer this program jointly. DMV is responsible for issuing the MCP, while CHP has exclusive jurisdiction for the regulation and safety of operation of motor carriers. A Motor Carrier is a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

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