Vehicle Code 13202.5 VC is the California statute that authorizes a court to suspend a minor’s driving privileges for one year if the minor is convicted of certain crimes. These include reckless driving, per VC 23103, and under 21 DUI, per VC 23140.
The full text of the statute reads as follows
13202.5. (a) (1) For each conviction of a person for an offense specified in subdivision (d), committed while the person was under 21 years of age, but 13 years of age or older, the court shall suspend the person’s driving privilege for one year. If the person convicted does not yet have the privilege to drive, the court shall order the department to delay issuing the privilege to drive for one year subsequent to the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive. However, if there is no further conviction for an offense specified in subdivision (d) in a 12-month period after the conviction, the court, upon petition of the person affected, may modify the order imposing the delay of the privilege. For each successive offense, the court shall suspend the person’s driving privilege for those possessing a license or delay the eligibility for those not in possession of a license at the time of their conviction for one additional year.
(2) As used in this section, the term “conviction” includes the findings in juvenile proceedings specified in Section 13105.
(b) Whenever the court suspends driving privileges pursuant to subdivision (a), the court in which the conviction is had shall require all driver’s licenses held by the person to be surrendered to the court. The court shall within 10 days following the conviction transmit a certified abstract of the conviction, together with any driver’s licenses surrendered, to the department.
(c) (1) After a court has issued an order suspending or delaying driving privileges pursuant to subdivision (a), the court, upon petition of the person affected, may review the order and may impose restrictions on the person’s privilege to drive based upon a showing of a critical need to drive.
(2) As used in this section, “critical need to drive” means the circumstances that are required to be shown for the issuance of a junior permit pursuant to Section 12513.
(3) The restriction shall remain in effect for the balance of the period of suspension or restriction in this section. The court shall notify the department of any modification within 10 days of the order of modification.
(d) This section applies to violations involving controlled substances or alcohol contained in the following provisions:
(1) Section 191.5 of, and subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 192.5 of, the Penal Code.
(2) Section 23103 when subject to Section 23103.5, Section 23140, and Article 2 (commencing with Section 23152) of Chapter 12 of Division 11 of this code.
(e) Suspension, restriction, or delay of driving privileges pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any penalty imposed upon conviction of a violation specified in subdivision (d).
Fortunately, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if a driving license suspension is a possibility under Vehicle Code 13202.5. These include showing that an accused party:
- was not a “minor,”
- has a “critical need to drive,” and
- was not convicted of a subject crime.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will explain the following in this article:
- 1. When can the court issue a suspension under 13202.5 VC?
- 2. Is it possible to avoid the license suspension?
- 3. Related laws
1. When can the court issue a suspension under 13202.5 VC?
Vehicle Code 13202.5 VC is the California statute that authorizes a court to suspend a minor’s driving license for one year if he/she is convicted of certain crimes.1
In particular, VC 13202.5 states that the court shall suspend a minor’s driving privilege if the minor gets convicted of an offense like:
- reckless driving, per VC 23103,
- under 21 DUI, per VC 23140,
- gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, per PC 191.5.2
A “minor” under this statute means a person between the ages of 13 and 21.3
Please note that if a convicted minor does not yet have driving privileges, these privileges will be delayed for one year from the date in which the minor was supposed to become eligible to drive.4
Please also note that a “conviction” under VC 13202.5 can include the findings in juvenile proceedings.5
2. Is it possible to avoid the license suspension?
A person can try to challenge the possible loss of driving privileges under VC 13202.5 by raising a legal defense.
Three common defenses to California Vehicle Code 13202.5 include:
- not a minor;
- critical need to drive; and/or,
- no conviction.
2.1. Not a minor
Please recall that VC 13202.5 only applies to minors, or persons between the ages of 13 and 21. It is a solid defense, therefore, for a defendant to say he should keep his driving privileges because he is either:
- under the age of 13, or
- over the age of 21.
2.2. Critical need to drive
This refers to a slight exception to the general rule banning a person’s driving privileges under VC 13202.5. The code section does state that a person affected by the statute can ask for a modification of the order banning driving privileges upon a showing of a “critical need to drive.”6 Whether or not this showing is met will depend on the facts of a particular case.
2.3. No conviction
Vehicle Code 13202.5 only takes a minor’s driving privileges away if he is convicted of certain crimes (as listed within subdivision (d) of the statute). This means if a minor was not convicted of one of these crimes, there is no grounds for him to lose his driver’s license.
3. Related offenses
There are three laws related to Vehicle Code 13202.5. These are:
- parent liability for a minor driving – VC 17707;
- underage DUI – VC 23136 and 23140; and,
- hold on a driver’s license – VC 40509.5.
3.1. Parent liability for a minor driving – VC 17707
This section makes a parent liable for any damages caused by his minor child in an automobile accident. The liability under VC 17707 begins once a parent signs the consent form to allow his minor child to drive.
3.2. Underage DUI – VC 23136 and 23140
California has two major laws directed at underage drinking and driving:
- Vehicle Code 23136, California’s “zero tolerance” law (BAC of .01% or higher), and
- Vehicle Code 23140, underage driving with a BAC of .05% or greater.
Both of these laws apply to California drivers who are under 21 years of age. Both can result in a one-year suspension of the underage driver’s license.
3.3. Hold on a driver’s license – VC 40509.5
Under VC 40509.5, the DMV can put a hold on a person’s driver’s license if he fails to appear in traffic court for a ticket or citation.
A “hold” on a driver’s license could result in the suspension of a driver’s driving privileges and it remains in place until a motorist appears in court or pays the applicable fine.
For further help…
If you or someone you know is at risk of losing driving privileges under Vehicle Code 13202.5 VC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 by phone or by filling out the contact form on this page.
- California Vehicle Code 13202.5(a) VC.
- California Vehicle Code 13202.5(d) VC.
- See same.
- California Vehicle Code 13202.5(a) VC.
- See same.
- California Vehicle Code 13202.5(c) VC.