Vehicle Code 13365.2 VC – Suspension of Driving Privileges Following a Hold on Driver’s License

Vehicle Code 13365.2 VC is the California statute that allows the DMV to suspend a person's driving privileges after a hold has been put on his driver's license.

Per Vehicle Code 40509.5, a hold can be placed on a person's driver's license due to his failure to appear in traffic court for a ticket or citation.

According to VC 13365.2:

“Upon receipt of the notice required under subdivision (b) of Section 40509.5, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person upon whom notice was received and shall continue that suspension until receipt of the certificate required under that subdivision.

The suspension required under subdivision (a) shall become effective on the 45th day after the mailing of written notice by the department.”

Some examples of permissible acts under this statute include:

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise to challenge a suspension of his driving privileges. These include showing that the person:

  • did not receive proper notice of the suspension,
  • failed to appear in traffic court out of necessity, and/or
  • the clerk of the court made a mistake.

Penalties

Failing to appear in traffic court, per California Vehicle Code 40508, is a crime that can be charged as a California misdemeanor (as opposed to an infraction or a felony).

Further, if caught driving on a suspended license, a driver can face:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a fine of up to $1,000.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

suspended drivers license

1. What is authorized under Vehicle Code 13365.2?

Vehicle Code 13365.2 VC is the California statute that allows the DMV to suspend a person's driving privileges after a hold has been put on his driver's license.1

Per Vehicle Code 40509.5, a hold can be placed on a person's driver's license due to his failure to appear in traffic court for a ticket or citation.

Per VC 13365.2, if the DMV wishes to suspend a person's driving privileges, it must send him a notice saying this.2

Suspension will take place on the 45th day after the mailing of the notice. And, suspension will continue until the driver appears in court for the ticket or citation.3

2. Are there legal defenses to challenge a suspension?

A person can try to challenge a suspension of driving privileges.

Three common ways to challenge a suspension are by means of the following defenses:

  1. No proper notice;
  2. Necessity; and/or,
  3. Mistake.

2.1. No proper notice

Recall that VC 13365.2 mandates the DMV to notify a driver of a suspension of his driving privileges. A driver, therefore, can challenge a suspension by showing that he was never sent this requisite notice. After all, if no notice, the motorist has no knowledge that he has to appear in traffic court or pay a fine associated with a ticket.

2.2. Necessity

Under a necessity defense, a defendant essentially tries to avoid guilt by showing that he had a sufficiently good reason to commit an offense. People sometimes refer to this defense as “guilty with an explanation.” In the context of Vehicle Code 13365.2, an accused could attempt to show that he did not appear in traffic court because he had no other choice (e.g., he had to take care of an emergency).

2.3. Mistake

A driver can always challenge a suspension by saying the court made a mistake. The driver would want to show that he did, in fact, appear in court in response to a ticket. If this defense is raised, it is important for the driver to have some type of evidence corroborating his court appearance (e.g., witnesses or documents).

money under a gavel

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

Failing to appear in traffic court, per California Vehicle Code 40508, is a crime that can be charged as a California misdemeanor.4

Also note that it is a criminal offense if a motorist is caught driving on a suspended license. The offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a fine of up to $1,000.5

4. Related offenses

There are three California laws related to Vehicle Code 13365.2 VC. These are:

  1. Failure to appear – VC 40508,
  2. Hold on a driver's license – VC 40509.5, and
  3. Failure to present a driver's license – VC 12951.

4.1. Failure to appear – VC 40508

Per Vehicle Code 40508, it is a criminal offense if a driver fails to appear in traffic court.

Under this statute, a driver fails to appear when he is willingly a no-show. It is not a defense if the driver did not intend to break the law.6

It also does not matter whether the offending driver is guilty or innocent of the underlying traffic citation.7 He violates VC 40508 just by breaking a promise to:

  • appear in court,
  • appear to pay bail,
  • pay bail in installments,
  • pay a fine within the time authorized, or
  • comply with any condition of the court.8

Violation of Vehicle Code 40508 is a misdemeanor. The penalties are:

  • up to six months in county jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $1,000.9

4.2. Hold on a driver's license – VC 40509.5

Upon getting a traffic ticket in California, a driver must sign a written promise to appear in traffic court. The driver promises to appear in court at a certain time and date.

Under California Vehicle Code 40509.5 VC, if a driver violates his written promise to appear (and fails to show up), the traffic court judge, or the clerk of the court, notifies the DMV. The DMV then places a hold on the person's driver's license.10

This hold remains on the person's driver's license until the party appears in court and satisfies any accompanying demands.11

Please note that if a hold is placed on a person's license, the court must mail that person a notice of the same, per VC 40509.5(c).12

Further, once a hold is put on a motorist's driver's license, the DMV can suspend that person's driving privileges under Vehicle Code 13365.2.13

4.3. Failure to present a driver's license – VC 12951

Vehicle Code 12951 makes it unlawful for a person to fail to present a driver's license.

There are two ways to violate this statute.

The first, set forth in Vehicle Code 12951(a) VC, is when a person drives on a highway without his valid driver's license in his possession.14

The second way to violate this law, under Vehicle Code 12951(b), is for a person to refuse to present a license to an officer when stopped.15

The penalties for failing to present a driver's license depend on whether a person violates VC 12951(a) or VC 12951(b).

If a VC 12951(a) violation, then the offense is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250.16

If a VC 12951(b) violation, then the offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • up to six months in county jail; and/or
  • a fine of up to $1,000.17

Have your California driving privileges been suspended? Call us for help…

california dmv attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know received a suspension of driving privileges, per Vehicle Code 13365.2, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.


Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 13365.2 VC. This code section states: “(a) Upon receipt of the notice required under subdivision (b) of Section 40509.5, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person upon whom notice was received and shall continue that suspension until receipt of the certificate required under that subdivision.

    (b) The suspension required under subdivision (a) shall become effective on the 45th day after the mailing of written notice by the department.”

  2. See same.

  3. See same.

  4. California Vehicle Code 40508 VC.

  5. California Vehicle Code 14601.1(b)(1) VC.

  6. CALCRIM 2240: Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.

  7. See same.

  8. California Vehicle Code 40508 VC.

  9. California Penal Code 19 PC.

  10. California Vehicle Code 40509.5(a) VC.

  11. See same.

  12. California Vehicle Code 40509.5(c) VC.

  13. California Vehicle Code 13365.2(a) VC.

  14. Vehicle Code 12951 VC.

  15. See same.

  16. Penal Code 19.8 PC.

  17. California Penal Code 19 PC.

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