California Release of Liability

Understanding the Release of Liability

In California, when you sell or transfer the ownership of a vehicle, it's crucial to submit a Release of Liability (ROL) to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This document notifies the DMV that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle in terms of traffic violations, parking tickets, or other legal obligations.

Why Is It Important?

Submitting a Release of Liability protects the seller from potential liabilities arising after the vehicle has been sold or transferred. Without this notification, you could be held accountable for incidents or charges incurred by the new owner.

How to Submit a Release of Liability

To ensure you're released from liability, follow these steps:

  • Complete the ROL section on the title or pink slip when selling or transferring your vehicle.
  • Alternatively, submit the ROL online at the California DMV website or mail a completed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (Form REG 138) to the DMV.
  • The ROL should be submitted within 5 days of the transaction to ensure timely processing.

Be sure to keep a copy of the ROL for your records, whether you submit it online, by mail, or as part of the title transfer.

Information Required for ROL Submission

You'll need to provide the following information:

  • The vehicle's license plate number.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The new owner's name and address.
  • The sale or transfer date.
  • The odometer reading at the time of sale (for vehicles less than 10 years old).

Completing the Release of Liability is a simple but essential step in transferring vehicle ownership in California. It protects you from future liabilities and ensures the DMV has current information on the vehicle's ownership.