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Name: Cinquegrani v. Department of Motor Vehicles
Case #: B199859
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/03/2008
Summary

The Department of Motor Vehicles does not have the authority to suspend the driver’s license of a person convicted of “boating under the influence.” In this class action, the court considered whether the Department of Motor Vehicles had the authority to automatically suspend the drivers license of an individual convicted of boating while intoxicated (BUI), pursuant to Harbors and Navigation Code section 655. Section 655 provides the penalties for a BUI conviction but does not include suspension of driving privileges. The department argued that it had the authority to suspend under Vehicle Code section 23620 which provides for enhanced penalties for multiple offenses. The court rejected that argument, finding that section 23620 is aimed at driving offenses, not boating offenses, and that the sentencing scheme for BUI is found only in Harbors and Navigation Code section 655. (Interestingly, DMV has drafted legislation that would expressly give the Department authority to suspend the license of an individual convicted of BUI, pointing out in its proposed legislation that the plain language of Vehicle Code section 23620, as it presently stands, does not provide the requisite authority.)