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.
Luckily, 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 highlight 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.
Are you at risk of losing your California driving privileges because of the conviction of an offense? Call us for 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 on social media.
- California Vehicle Code 13202.5(a) VC. This code section states: “For each conviction of a person for an offense specified in subdivision (d), committed while the person was under the age of 21 years, 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.”
- 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.