When a person misses a court date for a traffic ticket, it is called a failure to appear. When this happens, the court takes action, and the Department of Motor Vehicles takes action separately.
The traffic court will usually add a new misdemeanor failure to appear charge to the case (California Vehicle Code 40508a) and possibly issue a bench warrant.
The trouble does not stop there. The court will also notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the failure to appear and then the DMV takes independent action against the person’s drivers license. Specifically, DMV then places a hold on the drivers license (40509.5VC hold) which results in a Drivers License Suspension.
A failure to appear conviction from a traffic ticket infraction is not assigned a “Negligent Operator” point count by DMV, unlike a moving violation. However, a failure to appear conviction may be used as evidence of a negligent driver in future DMV Driver Safety hearings against the driver.
The DMV also enters the record of the Drivers License Suspension on the driver history report, and that record of a suspension remains for 10 years.
Legal Effect of a Failure to Appear On A Drivers License Record:
(a) The department (DMV ) shall, before issuing or renewing any license, check the record of the applicant for conviction of traffic violations, traffic accidents, reports filed pursuant to Section 103900 of the Health and Safety Code, reports filed pursuant to Section 13803, or notices issued pursuant to Section 21061.
(b) The department shall, before issuing or renewing any license, check the record of the applicant for notices of failure to appear in court filed with it and shall withhold or shall not issue a license to any applicant who has violated his or her written promise to appear in court unless the department has received a certificate issued by the magistrate or clerk of the court hearing the case in which the promise was given showing that the case has been adjudicated or unless the applicant’s record is cleared as provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 41500) of Division 17. In lieu of the certificate of adjudication, a notice from the court stating that the original records have been lost or destroyed shall permit the department to issue a license.
(c) (1) Any notice received by the department pursuant to Section 40509, 40509.1, or 40509.5, except subdivision (c) of Section 40509.5, that has been on file five years may be removed from the department records and destroyed at the discretion of the department.
(2) Any notice received by the department under subdivision (c) of Section 40509.5 that has been on file 10 years may be removed from the department records and destroyed at the discretion of the department.
Suspension for Failure to Appear. California Vehicle Code 13365:
Vehicle Code section 13365. (a) Upon receipt of notification of a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 40508 the department shall take the following action:
(1) If the notice is given pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 40509, if the driving record of the person who is the subject of the notice contains one or more prior notifications of a violation issued pursuant to Section 40509 or 40509.5, and if the person’s driving privilege is not currently suspended under this section, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person.
(2) If the notice is given pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 40509.5, and if the driving privilege of the person who is the subject of the notice is not currently suspended under this section, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person.
(b) A suspension under this section shall not be effective before a date 60 days after the date of receipt, by the department, of the notice given specified in subdivision (a), and the notice of suspension shall not be mailed by the department before a date 30 days after receipt of the notice given specified in subdivision (a).
The suspension shall continue until the suspended person’s driving record does not contain any notification of a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 40508.
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