Helmandollar Case Saves Licenses

  • By:DUI Blog

In my last post, I talked about the difficulty of winning a DMV hearing. I also mentioned that if someone loses their DMV hearing, the only way to have their license suspension set aside is to obtain an acquittal at trial.

Although extremely rare, some creative defense attorneys, along with the extraordinary cooperation of both the judge and the prosecutor, have used the case of Helmandollar v. Department of Motor Vehicles to save licenses. In the case, co-workers went drinking after work. After leaving the bar, they crashed into each other. After officers arrived on the scene, breathalyzers were administered and each defendant blew a 0.12 percent. Officers gave license suspensions to the two defendants pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 13353.2. California Vehicle Code section 13353.2 mandates the suspension when a defendant has a 0.08 percent blood- alcohol content or higher. The defendants were charged with California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), driving under the influence and California Vehicle Code section 23152(b), driving with a 0.08 percent or above. The prosecutor felt the evidence was insufficient to establish that the defendants’ had a 0.08 percent or above. The prosecutor then stipulated that, should the defendants waive jury and submit themselves to a trial by judge, they would agree to allow the judge to find them not guilty (acquittal) on the 23152(b) charge. The defendants pled no contest to a reduced wet reckless charge instead of 23152(a) charge. The DMV refused to reinstate their licenses because they still pled no contest to a wet reckless charge. The defendant’s sued the DMV relying on California Vehicle Code section 13353.2(e), which states in pertinent part, “If a person is acquitted of criminal charges relating to a determination of facts under subdivision (a) [i.e., driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more], the department shall immediately reinstate the person’s driving privilege to operate a motor vehicle if the department has suspended it administratively pursuant to subdivision (a).” The California Court of Appeals agreed with the defendants and their licenses were reinstated because they were, technically, acquitted of 23152(b), driving with a 0.08 percent, which is all the Vehicle Code requires. This case essentially allows the court, with the agreement of judge, prosecutor and defense attorney, to conduct a quasi-trial for the sole purpose of obtaining an acquittal on the 23152(b) charge so that defendant’s licenses may be reinstated.

Posted in: California State Law, DMV Procedures, DUI Arrests and Procedures, DUI Laws


2 Responses to “Helmandollar Case Saves Licenses”

  1. falsely Accused

    I was charged with a D.u.i California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) driving under the Influence and My case was completely dismissed due to the lies the officer said he made the stop for.
    The sheriff video proved that I was driving correctly no weaving nor speeding. Yet the Officer took 2 lights and exceed over the speed limit.
    The breathyler stated my blood alcohol taken at the station was .10 then .09.
    I have acid reflex and asthma (use a inhaler).

    Now that I wanted to pay the fine to reinstate my License . I AM ASKED TO PAY $130 AND ALSO HAVE A SR-22 proof from the insurance to a vehicle I drive.


    November 27, 2013 - 8:09 pm #
  2. Paul

    I was arrested for a DUI in CA. I lost my DMV hearing due to a BAC of 0.08%. I endured the 30 day hard suspension. I enrolled in a 3 month DUI course but immediately put my course on hold pending court verdict. After the hard 30 day suspension I went to the DMV and obtained a restricted license. I pleaded down to a wet wreckless and was ordered by the court to only complete a 12 hour education course only.
    The DMV verbally told me that I have to complete the full 3 month class to get my license reinstated.

    I read on DMV.ORG that if you obtain a restricted license and fail to complete the 3 month course then my license restriction will be revoked and suspended for up to 4 months.

    The DMV said this is not true and it will be suspended INDEFINITELY until I finish the 3 month course even if this is 10 years or forever. They stated that once you sign up for a restricted license then it obligates you to finish the course.

    These two statements contradict each other. I can’t imaginie that if you get a restricted license and fail to complete the course it is essentially a forever sentence of not getting your license back.

    Which of these scenarios are correct? If you were issued a restricted license and fail to complete the 3 month course is your license suspended for up to 4 months and then reinstated (which was the original punishment) or is it suspended indefinitely.

    My letter from the DMV regarding my restricted license doesn’t say anything about completing the class of showing proof of completing the class. All it says is that the restriction is in effect until Nov 8th and if you are convicted of a DUI (which I wasn’t) then you will have to complete the class.



    August 26, 2014 - 8:52 pm #