Preventing the DMV from Transferring Title to Your Vehicle
You can prevent someone from selling your vehicle without permission by requesting a "courtesy stop" from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This prohibits the DMV from transferring the title to a vehicle for 60 days. To extend this indefinitely, you must get an injunction and temporary restraining order against the DMV.
Although people are often told by DMV staff and others to go to the court and "file an injunction," it is not as simple as it sounds. There is no single "form" to file with the court to obtain an injunction. You must first sue the person who has your vehicle, and file an ex parte application for temporary restraining order and injunction.
Warning! This is a lengthy and expensive process. If your car is worth $10,000 or less, you may wish to consider suing in small claims court. It is much faster and less expensive. You can't get an injunction in small claims court, but starting the lawsuit may convince the person who has your car to return it.
There is no Judicial Council form for this procedure. Instead, the relevant documents must be typed on 28-line pleading paper. Customizable templates may be downloaded from these links:
Sample Ex Parte Application
Sample Proposed Order
Sample Declaration Re: Notice
Click here to download this Guide, with step-by-step instructions, including sample forms.
updated kf 8/12; reviewed EN 11/13