What is a VC 40509.5 Hold? It is a Failure to Appear Hold on a Drivers License.

If your California Drivers License is suspended and the Department of Motor Vehicles has told you it was due to a “VC40509.5 Hold”, here is what is going on.

Related Legal Self Help Form: Motion to Release Drivers License Hold (Veh. Code 40509.5 Motion)

California Vehicle Code section 40509.5 is a law that allows the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend a driver’s license when a traffic court notifies DMV of a missed court date after a signed promise to appear. 

“VC” is an abbreviation for the California Vehicle Code, which is the set of laws in California relating to Motor Vehicles (and bicycles).

When you miss a court date on a ticket or citation in California, or the court thinks you missed one, they can do a number of things.

Some courts, such as Riverside County Superior, often issue arrest warrants known as Vehicle Code section 40508(a) bench warrants. Some courts add failure to appear charges and issue a warrant.

Some courts suspend your drivers license and some courts do all three at once.

When a court suspends a drivers license following a failure to appear in California, the court lists the case as having a “VC40509.5 Hold” as the status.

A Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold refers to the drivers license hold that the court places on a license when they think a person missed a court date. Technically, it is a notice the court sends to the the DMV giving them notice of the FTA.

To get a little more detailed – California Vehicle Code section 40508(a) gives the court or prosecutor the power to add a failure to appear charge to a case when a defendant does not show up in court.

Then, California Vehicle Code section 40509.5 is the law the instructs the court on how to notify DMV that the court date was missed, and authorizes DMV to suspend the drivers license of the defendant.

So if the DMV tells you that you have a “40509.5 hold”, or you see that on the court’s web site or your driver history report, it means that your drivers license is suspended for a failure to appear at a court date.

On a driver’s history report from DMV, and 40509.5 suspension or hold with appear with a “Vehicle Code 40508a” listing from the same case. The “40508a” is the actual failure to appear charge, the “40509.5″ is the suspension notice to DMV form the court.

There are main 3 ways to clear a Vehicle Code 40509.5 hold, and they differ greatly from courthouse to courthouse (and some times from court clerk to court clerk).

Actually, from an Attorney’s point of view, I have cleared hundreds of VC 40509.5 holds in at least 15 different courthouses, and I am shocked at how inconsistent the rules are applied form court to court. Don’t assume it is going to work the same way on two different days.

The 3 main ways to clear a VC40509.5 hold are:

1) pay the “bail” on the citation in full;

2) set a court date for an Arraignment and ask the court clerk to release the hold at the same time the court date is set;

3) make a court appearance and ask the judge to release the hold prior to payment of the fine or before the trial (if you plead not guilty and demand a trial).

Some courts, such as the LA Superior Court,  will release a VC 40509.5 hold once an Attorney appears at the court clerks office and sets a court date for the defendant.  The setting of the court date is considered a substantial step towards taking care of the problem, and the court gives you credit for doing that work.  But it has to be done in person.

These courts understand that people need to drive to work to feed their families.  And they understand that when people get arrested for driving on a suspended drivers license because of a 40509.5 hold, it really does not help anyone, and clogs the court up with pointless cases that result in more pointless cases.

Some courts, are just totally unreasonable to people with VC40509.5 holds, even if they are victims of identify theft.  These courts will not allow the defendant to set court dates once the hold is placed.

If you are unlucky enough to have a VC 40509.5 hold, do not drive at all. If you are caught, you will be arrested and your car impounded (not to mention you’ll be facing a criminal misdemeanor charge of VC 14601.1 after you get home).  That’s how many people make the problem worse. Dont do it.

On VC40508a and VC 40509.5 cases, a licensed Defense Attorney can usually go into court for the defendant and do the work to solve the problem alone while the client goes to work or school, or surfing instead.

Once a court releases a VC40509.5 hold, the Department of Motor Vehicles is notified immediately electronically, and a driver can visit DMV the next day to get a drivers license reinstated by paying their “Reinstatement Fee”. 

Be careful!  You must visit DMV in person to verify the status of your driving license after releasing a hold from the court.  DMV will NOT AUTOMATICALLY REINSTATE a suspended drivers license. They usually charge a reinstatement fee, separate from what the court charges you.

Questions?  Post a comment.

Related Articles:

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket with a Civil Assessment

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205 Responses to What is a VC 40509.5 Hold? It is a Failure to Appear Hold on a Drivers License.

  1. kate says:


    I got a speeding ticket in May and I had all my mail to be put on hold at the post office and needless to say when I went to get all of my mail, I missed my court date and have been trying to reach a clerk live to figure out what’s my option, if I can go to traffic school and also reschedule another court date.. any suggestions, should I use mr. ticket?? or just take time off from work and go to the court myself to see if I can get my ticket lowered and attend traffic school?

    any suggestions would be grateful!

  2. ted sanchez says:

    moved out of cali…live in arkansas now..trying to take care of tickets that have hold on drivers licence…just want to pay them off and move on…easy fix i hope can u help…some tickets go back as far as 2006….it shows that 2 tickets(red light camera)have gone to collections and 2 are driving with suspended drivers licence and have 40509.5 hold….contact asap have money to pay them off…need licence!

    • Ted,

      Thanks for the email. Unfortunately, I cant tell what county or court you have cases in, and therefore I have no idea if I can actually do anything for you. There are 58 counties in California. In Los Angeles County alone, there are probably 20 courthouses.

      If you have multiple “driving on a suspended drivers license” charges as misdemeanors, you may have a mandatory jail time problem. Maybe we can schedule your jail days for a time you pick? Maybe you’re lucky and one of those was charged as an infraction? Would that help. Probably no. Any warrants on those cases?

      If I were your attorney, I would say: Don’t worry about the drivers license aspect of it. Deal with the danger of jail time in. Once that is solved, the drivers license problem might solve itself.

      People in this situation also often have this problem:

      A conviction of driving on a suspended drivers license (CA Vehicle Code section 14601.1 for example) wins 2 negligent driver points on the driver’s CA DMV driver history report. If you get 2 of those, you get 4 points. What does 4 points in a short period of time get you with other violations? A brand new suspension for having too many points.

      So when you have multiple driving on a suspended drivers license cases, you have a complex situation – especially if there are multiple courts involved.

      It is possible an attorney could go to court for you on all of the cases, and perhaps resolve all of them without you having to come out, but I cannot tell at this point.

      Free Attorney Case Review

  3. ocquestion says:

    Hello, I am hoping you can give me some advice.
    I was pulled over in 2010 while driving a friends car.
    I got a citation for 3 things: no proof of license, no proof of insurance and no proof of registration.

    The officer at the time let me go and even drove me a bit to the hospital because I had a child I was trying to get there.

    I was unable to pay the fines and this resulted in a hold on my lisence and $1800 in fines.
    However, as far as I can tell there is not an extra charge or anything on my case. No failure to appear shows up.
    But it does say there is a hold.

    I am going to the courthouse on Monday to try and set up an appointment with a judge to ask for a payment plan.
    Do you think a judge will grant me this?
    Is there anyway the collections department can allow me to do this?

    It seems that the orange county system will only allow the hold to be removed once the judge says it can be. Are you aware of any other way to get it removed quicker?

    sorry I meant to say in my last comment that I will not be able to hire an attorney and I am asking about orange county, california

  4. Simone says:

    I am going to appear in court this Friday for failure to appear in court a few years ago. I want to leave an arrest warrant behind me and reinstate my driver’s license. I was having problems with my mom at the time and going through a difficult time in my life so I moved out of her home; needless to say I never received a notice of a court date. It wasn’t until I got stopped months later that I was told I had a warrant out for my arrest. My license had been suspended and I got in trouble for driving without a valid license. Fortunately the police let me go and told me to take care of it because I had a warrant out for my arrest. I have procrastinated with getting this situation fixed for fear of spending time in jail but from what I have read online that will most likely happen anyway. I suppose I am going in on Friday knowing that there is a high possibility of being arrested but I want to be prepared when I present myself in court and explain that I never received a notice and this was the reason why I failed to appear. What would be a polite and respectful way to explain this to a judge?

    • Simone,

      The best way to deal with that situation is to hire a private criminal defense attorney like me to go in there and talk for you. If you hire an attorney (depending on the courthouse on this one) you may not even have to go to court at all.

      If you hired me, I’d have my most successful speech dusted off and polished, ready to go. And my best opening statement suit. And a red tie.

      But, if that is impossible for you, I’d say show up and once your case is called, immediately ask the judge to appoint a public defender to represent you.

      If that doesnt work, just tell the judge you there are to take care of the problem correctly.

  5. irvin says:

    How can i get an attorney to help me with my suspended liscence case? could i just go myself and talk to court clerks office?

  6. John says:

    Great article. What about dealing with the GES collection agency? I have a FTA for a speeding ticket in Long Beach and the court referred me to the GES Collection Agency. They say if I pay them in full, $500 more than my original ticket, everything gets cleared up. Is this correct?

  7. ScrewedOverBigtime says:

    I would like to know what I can do in my situation:

    Last June, I had to move to Arkansas to take care of my elderly mother. I quit my job, and gave away practically everything I owned that I couldn’t take with me; including my car. My car wasn’t in the best of shape, but very driveable. I paid for the registration on time, but the car would not pass smog. I paid and had the fixed 3 times to have it pass smog that month, but it still wasn’t doing it. I couldn’t drop any more money into it as it had made me broke; so I found someone who was willing to buy it off of me at a STEEP discount. As I went to meet up with him in the car, he never shows. So I have no choice to go back to my place and finish packing for my move the next morning. On the way there I get pulled over by LAPD for expired registration. I informed them of my situation, and the fact that I’m moving out of state the next morning. They didn’t care and cited me with a fix-it ticket anyways. I asked them how I’m supposed to take care of it when I’m supposed to be moving the next morning, to which he says, “well, I guess you can’t move, then.” Ridiculous. So I move the next day as planned, and before I go, I sign the car over to my previous roommate. The car is theirs, and I move to Arkansas. When I get there, I try to contact the L.A. County Superior Court by phone to find out what I can do about the ticket. Only problem is, you can’t reach anyone by phone, you only get prompts telling you to show up at court. I live in Arkansas, I can’t show up to court in California. So I call the precinct that issued the ticket to speak with the C.O. They say that I have to fix the car, and show up to court with proof that I had the car fixed. I told them that I live in Arkansas and the car doesn’t even belong to me. They said that I STILL HAVE TO FIX THE CAR AND SHOW UP TO COURT PROVING THAT THE CAR IS FIXED. Both are impossible for me to do! They can’t even give me alternatives! So I CAN’T show up to court, I CAN’T fix a car I don’t own, and on top of that, I CAN’T even tell anyone in the California Superior Court system of my situation because apparently they only have robots that barely possess the capability to answer a phone.

    So now, with absolutely no way out of this situation, my court date has passed, my license is now suspended, and I’m stuck with an outrageously obscene fine that I have to pay before I have to magically show up in a California court room and have this whole debacle cleared up. I’m sorry this is so long, but I seriously have no idea what I can do about this. What legal options are there for me, because I think I’m unfairly being taken advantage of.

    • Screwed Over Big Time,

      Dude, this comment is way too long for me to read for free. But I want to help.

      OK I will try. Geez I hope it does not start out with a sick relative story or a story about your kids….

      OMG. First sentence is a sick relative story. I hate to be soo rude, but I get way way too many of these. I cant spend time sorting through it for relevant facts.

      I want to help you. Please resubmit with only the relevant facts.

  8. Seb says:

    Hi DortLaw,
    First off thanks for the great info ! I’m going to call the court tomorrow and see if I can schedule a hearing/see if I can come in to do this, and see if I can get the hold taken off. That being said there’s a few things that I’m worried about. When I go into court there is no way I’m going to be able to pay my fine (upwards of $1600 for driving without a license and speeding @ 80mph on 405). They won’t arrest me on the spot after the hearing will they ? And I have heard that if I speak with the judge, I know this really depends on the judge, I can try to get a payment plan going. That is my plan, but I really don’t want to schedule the hearing, go down there and end up getting arrested. I absolutely have to drive to work, and the only reason I didn’t show up to the court date was because I was moving when I got the ticket and never got the info on when it was scheduled. I know it sounds like its one thing after another, but its what happened and has put me in a bad spot. I just don’t want to go to jail :[ will I if I show up ?

    Thanks for y our time,

  9. Christopher says:

    i’ve got basically the same question as Laz, except mine was for tinted window fixit ticket and I’m a CA resident. So I need to go first to the courthouse (Inglewood) and talk to the clerk? I didn’t realize missing it would be such a hassle! Thanks much for your advice.

  10. Anna says:

    Hi Chris!! You are awesome with the help you provide here!! My case is out of Riverside from 4/22/08 for driving without a license and speeding. I have a FTA warrant and DMV hold of course and I am going to court in the morning to fix this. I did have a commercial license out of CA at the time of the ticket. I just lost it and only had my ID card on me. soooo, the charges I have are VC12500(a) and Vc 22349 A. Based on my DMV record, it shows I have a commercial license valid from 11/2/05-2/14/10 but received the license suspension after this ticket was recorded as a FTA/FTP. Would showing my DMV copy of the driving record be adequate to dismiss the VC12500(a) charge be enough? Can I plea not guilty for the speeding charge and hopefully release the DMV hold as well? Hope I included enough info for a little input from you. Thank you and hope to hear from you soon Chris!!

  11. Laz says:

    I was issued a ticket in LA back in Oct 2010 for making a wrong turn. (On a non-busy Sunday evening downtown LA, I pulled over to a bus stop area as I was looking for directions on my phone. When ready to drive, I checked my rear view and side mirror, indicated and then pulled back up on the road. What I didn’t notice was the Metro Police officer on his bike who was obviously on my blind spot. He pulled me over right away and issued a me ticket for $220. I planned on going to court to fight it.

    I had (and still have) a Minnesota DL. Long story short, I failed to appear in court back in Oct 21 2011 due to financial constraints (as I had moved back to Minnesota) and now I got a notice last month that my DL has a VC 40509.5 hold with a $800 fine which has been referred to a collections agency.

    I don’t live in CA anymore. How can I get rid of this hold without paying the fine? Also to get my DL reinstated, do I have to go to the CA DMV or MN DMV as I now live in NV and would like to get a NV license.

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

  12. RickD says:

    I was pulled over by CHP on expired registration and naturally issued a citation for it. I showed proof that I was making payments on it because (due to the economic factor) I couldn’t afford to pay it all at once. To make matters worse, I was scheduled to re-locate to Colorado, permanently. After pleading for a warning, he proceeded to write the ticket – after I told him there was no way I could make court. All he said was “Have a nice day”.


    So I moved to Colorado since I couldn’t afford not to lose my job and missed court (scheduled on 8/11/2011 and I left California on 7/29/2011). After settling my family and I at our new location, I got pulled by a city cop in my new town for a simple break light. He let me off with a warning as long as I promised to get it fixed – AND to get a Colorado State Drivers license. So I went in the next day and they couldn’t issue me one, indicating that there is a hold in California. They gave me a number to call. Turns out it’s a 40509.5 hold. Ugh! I called the court to see how much my fine was – $993! I couldn’t afford that either so I started making payments.

    Now, it’s paid off. My question – How do I go about restoring my CA license so that I can get a Colorado License without having to go back to California?

    • RickD,

      Well, my only advice is what I tell everyone in your situation: After you clear a VC 40509.5 hold with the court, you need to go to your local DMV in person to apply for reinstatement of your drivers license. It does not happen automatically.

      Can you do it over the phone? I have never accomplished anything useful over the phone with DMV – except for those rare times they call me. I would not try it, but guess you have to.

  13. Janine says:

    Hi Chris,

    I really want to get this court situation finally handled. I looked up on the LA Superior Court website and found these:

    Pasadena Courthouse
    Pasadena Police Department
    40509.5 Holds

    West Covina Courthouse
    Los Angeles County Sheriff
    40509.5 Holds

    Both which were sent to GC collection agency.

    I also have a 14601.1(A) charge from 2009, I looked that up and see it’s a driving on suspended license charge.

    I was recently pulled over again and instead of booking me because of a warrant, the officer just impounded my car and gave me a ticket with a new court date.

    I’m reading from other comments that I should just ignore the collection agency fees for now. Is there anything essential that I should do before going to court?

    • Janine,

      Yes. A violation of Veh Code 14601.1 is a misdemeanor crime. It has a maximum jail sentence of 1 yr, a max fine of $1500, and will add 2 negligent driver points to your DMV driver history report (the same as a DUI conviction).

      If you had a failure to appear on that case as well with a warrant, that is an indication that there maybe another crime on the sheet, a violation of VC 40508(a), which has a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a $1500 fine.

      You should hire an attorney or if you qualify for public help, ask for a public defenders help on that one.

      If you waited until the government took your car away to do something about this problem, it is very unlikely that you are cabable of taking care of it correctly, alone, now.

      That is my best free advice based upon incomplete info.

  14. Bryan says:

    Good evening sir, seems like I have (3) warrants, (1) Bench, (1) Arrest, (1) non traffic, I really want to get this taken care of and I know that jail time is a possibility. My question is, if I set an online court date for Antelope Valley (arrest warrant) will they take me in when I show up? I would like to know to make arrangements for court. Or will they allow me to take care of my legal issues as court appearances, fines and/ or community service. Which court should I go to first if there is a plan. And do you think it’s best if I get a lawyer? In a way I have more time than money, and would rather do time than pay allot of money. I know that I would have to pay some penalties and fines, but i’m willing to do some time instead. Thank you for your time and expertise! (see below for my examples)

    SD738xxx Metropolitan Courthouse Metropolitan Transit Authority 02/27/2009 40509.5 Holds

    SD94xxxx Metropolitan Courthouse Metropolitan Transit Authority 04/09/2010 40509.5 Holds

    W561xxxx Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse Los Angeles County Sheriff 03/27/2010 40508A Warrant

    976xxxxx San Fernando Courthouse Los Angeles Police Department 01/08/2008 Bench warrants

    SD21xxxx6 Central Arraignment Courts Metropolitan Transit Authority 08/21/2003 853.7/21 Warrant (non-traffic)

    • Bryan,

      I like your attitude. “Seems like . . . “. That right! dont assume anything. You are presumed innocent, after all.

      OK – let’s read the comment…

      Hum .. .yep. seems like you have 3 warrants. Shoot, you even have all of the case #s. Alright, I motion that we resolve that there are in fact 3 warrants. Second? Yes. Vote. They Is have it. There are 3 warrants.

      These warrants all have different labels, but they are all the same thing: an indication that there is a failure to appear charge as a misdemeanor.

      The central arraignments court case is the most serious. Who knows what that is. Cannot tell from here. Look bad, may just be a VC 14601.1 w/ VC 40508a (driving on a susps . . . nope, that’s not it. ) Hum .. . .

      Here we are aware of certain knowledge of which we are currently unaware – namely the charges in that Central Arraignment Court. So I cannot tell you what to do there.

      Anytime thee is a warrant, jail time is possible. Here, all in one county, you have a demonstrated inability to show up for court on time. And the judge(s) is (are) going to know it.

      And honestly, do you really think you are capable of getting these cases taken care of yourself correctly? It didnt work out for you so well the first time(zzzzz).

      Hiring a single attorney here to handle all of these cases for you is the best option. An attorney like me (in the old days) would start like this:

      Wake up in San Diego at 4:15 am. Get out the door and onto 405 by 4:45. Drive north, hope you get through that Fed checkpoint whithout being searched. Stop at McDonalds in Lake Forrest, get out of there by 6:55. Drive to San Fernando court first, get there by 8:30. Ask for walk in appearance on warrant, try to get that case on track or resolved anyhow. Then, leave, drive to Antelope Valley Court. Ask for walk in appearance. If too late, try to schedule appearance on warrant and ask court clerk to recall warrant. Ask for 1:30 appearance. Ask to talk to judge at lunch. Whatever. Antelope Valley?? Come on. I dont realy have to go back do I ?? Please!!

      Then, by 1pm (hopefully) – drive back to LA Metro Court, schedule those cases for Arraignment with court clerk, ask court clerk to release VC 40509.5 holds (if possible – bad facts here).

      Then, drive back to the 405 (hopefully before 3:30) and head back to san diego. If you get stuck in traffic, stop at Magic Johnson’s TGI Friday’s or that Italian Place off the 405 at Beach Street (which ever is closer). Arrive back in SD at 8. 3 courthouses, 4 case appearances, 1 day, 400 + miles.

      Then, day 2 – wake up 630 – go to arraignment for someone else in vista at 8:30. Leave by 10, drive to Central Arraignment Court. Ask for walk in appearance at 1:30, or set calendar date for next day at 8:30 a.m. Then, once in court, tell the judge that

      “Defendant has hired me to solve all of these problems correctly. I have already got 5 cases back on track, and we are 100% committed to finishing the job, completely and correctly. Judge, this is our last case on the list. I have no idea what it is, or why there is a warrant or what dates or anything. But we want to resolve it quickly and efficiently now if possible, so what can we do?”

      And maybe, just maybe you could get out of this problem in 2 days if you hire a good attorney and have a run of good results. There may be follow up appearances required to resolve the cases fully, but once the warrants and drivers license holds are cured by Court Appearances by an Attorney, the real immediate danger is over.

      I need to point out here that this post assumes that the judges would recall the warrants without posting of bail and without jail time right away. It may not always work out like that, no matter how good your attorney is.

      But I have handled many multi case problems exactly like this, exactly like this. It’s just a copy of a common pattern.

      Bad news? I’m too weak to do that anymore.

      Good news? Our local Sponsor Attorney, Mark Gallagher, is great with these cases, and can get it done. Maybe not as fast as me in those days when I was ziping from court to court in my yellow pinto, but I strongly recommend that you contact him for a quote and review. He can be reached at Attorneygallagher [@] gmail.com. He is friendly, and knows these cases well.

      The end.

      • Bryan G. says:

        Hey thank you for your time and opinion, I will definitely see if Mr. Gallagher and I can get this resolved, especially before law enforcement gets to me first.

  15. James says:

    Dear Mr Dort,

    Ages ago I received a fix-it ticket for which I failed to appear in court for.
    When I went to the court website to verify the citation, it read “Failure to appear” action taken: case status 4059.5 holds. And nothing else.
    It asked make the payment to GC services, which I did.
    All of this cleared from the court website.

    My question is: would a Vehicle Code section 40508(a) appear in addition or instead of the 4059.5 holds on the citation if there were one?

    If all I saw was 4059.5 holds on the citation, is that all there was?

    Thank you for your time. It is great to see someone as helpful and informed as yourself doing what they can for others.

    - J

    • James,

      This is a good question. It is a question caused by the fact that the LA Superior Court Web People dont understand that people cannot understand what the web site spits out. It’s a “User Accessibility” problem caused by a failure of vision. I know, you dont have to tell me. You can look up your old traffic court cases on the LA Superior Court’s Web Site, but you need an attorney like me to explain it to you, because they failed use use common foresight.

      The LA Superior Court’s web site does not show you a complete record of the case when you look it up. Other courts do (like ventura, where you can look up even the officer who wrote the citation and all of the charges) – but LA does not show a real record of the case on the web.

      What you saw was the court clerk’s abbreviation of what kind of case it was. You did not see a record of the details of the case. TO the court clerk, you have a VC 40509.5 holds case. That means your drivers license was suspended due to a failure to appear. There is no other useful information there. You cannot tell if you were charged with a VC 40508(a) violation. You cannot tell what the original charge was. You cannot tell if they had a trial in absentia without you, or if they have your correct address. You cannot tell how much you owe, of if the debit is paid in full.

      If you want these details of your case in LA, you have to call the court . . . . wait, dont try that. It will not work. Dont waste your time. Unless you want a migraine and recurring obsessive thoughts that wake you up in the night about how horrible the LA traffic court system really is .. .

      If you want those details, you have to go to the court in person, wait in line, and ask.

      And while there, make sure you tell them that you had to pollute their city to come in person to get simple info that other courts provide on line for free, without pollution.

    • James,

      PS – if you paid the collection agency, you plead guilty to everything in the court’s file, regardless of whether or not you knew what was there.

      • James Wilkie says:

        Thank you so much Mr Dort.

        I looked up my DMV information request and it said the following:

        DRV LIC SUSPENDED EFF:05-09-09 ORDER MAILED:04-09-09

        REASON: Fail to appear notice service: 04-24-29
        ACTION ENDED 12-01-09

        The suspension was terminated the day I paid GC Services.

        Would this not read a conviction and failure appear instead of none if there had been one in the court’s file? (since I paid the collection agency and therefore plead guilty?).
        Also, when I look up the citation it is no longer available to look up on the court website.

        Thanks again, this is exactly what I was looking for!

        • James,

          The suspension was not terminated with your payment to GC Services. Your drivers license does not get automatically reinstated. You must go to DMV after the release of a VC 40509.5 hold and pay DMV a reinstatement fee – and some people have to get a new drivers license card as well. Just because you paid GC Services does not mean you are done. If you do not pay the DMV reinstatement fee (or verify with them in person that you do not need to pay it) you are still the “Dont drive or risk jail and loss of car” category.

          I have had so, so, so, so, so, many people people tell me their sad stores of getting their car impounded and new charges after paying GC Services – but failing to get their license reinstated with DMV.

          Maybe you dont have to pay DMV because you are one of the few people let let go for free because a pissed off DMV employee pissed on your file and it is no longer readable. But dont drive until you have confirmation from DMV that your license has in fact been reinstated and is valid as of today.

  16. Brandelan says:

    So, I just received a letter saying I had 2 separate citations with FTAs.

    The cases were turned over to GC Services, and I paid each of the fines.

    What’s my next step after paying these fines? Do I still have to appear at court? Or do I just go to the DMV now?


  17. Eric I says:


    I got a fix it ticket for a broken tail light, got it fixed, but failed to get a police officer offer proof of correction and also failed to appear in court. I went online to reschedule the court date (West LA Court). Should I appear in court myself or will I have a better chance to reduce my fine if I hire a lawyer. Also, do you have any thoughts on companies like TicketClinic?

    • Eric,

      This is a good question.

      First off – I dont know who those people are, but it sounds like they might be unlicensed hacks. I dont know, might the Tot Mom dream team – but I can say DO NOT PAY ANYONE WITHOUT A LAW LICENSE TO HELP YOU WITH A COURT CASE. Duh.

      Unless you dont care that they dont have a license, and you are one of those people who would drive to mexico to get your new dental implants cemented in because you think it’s cheaper when done by someone who did not need to have a US License (or proper training, education and requisite intelligence). If you are a Meican dentist, I apologize, that was a blindly unfair comment I realize, but it stems from my experience once with a plaintiff who claimed her implants popped out during a car accident and then we later found out that they guy used something like elmers glue to put them in and . . .

      That is not really a true story, but you get the point.

      Aside from that, what you need to do here is go to court. If you get into court with some kind of proof of correction, you can probably get something done. Unless the judge is really unhappy. WLA is a very unhappy place. Sounds nice, but.

      A licensed attorney can go to court for you, and would know how to avoid a misdemeanor conviction and get the best possible result. He/she would also know how to get in and out fast, where exactly to park, which paperwork is really important, and how to make sure the case goes away for ever. While you go to work. Or watch sports center. Whatever. What ever you want to do instead of waiting for an hour in that security line after you get a migraine and blow your top trying to figure out where the hell the entrance to the parking lot, that is always full by the way – is.

      I always tell people going to West LA Court the following: Remember: West Side of the 405; Tiny street. Bring cash for parking. Bring your oldest, ugliest car. If you get too stressed, walk down the street towards the freeway and have lunch at that mexican restaurant there. It is super great. Extrodinarily great is a ugg place. Then go back to the court with a new attitude and try again. Seriously. It works. I’ve done it. No No No! — Lunch — Yes Yes Yes. Get a bad result and blow a gasket in WLA Court morning attempt? Take a break, have lunch, go back in and try again. You may get a different person, different outcome, who knows???

      And it costs about $12 to just park there. If no one breaks into your car or crashes into the side of it after their baby daddy was just sentenced to 90 days – that is.

      The point is this: how much is your time worth? how much do you want to endure that? for what benefit? You have to decide.

      You are trying to save $600. Would I go to WLA Court for an attempt at a possible $600 savings?

      But if you go in, and you have the right proof, chances of success are good.

      After you have missed the court date, there is no way to provide proof of correction by mail, email, fax or phone. The reason is that the violation is only “correctable” until the deadline on the citation next to your signature. If you want to try to talk the judge into accepting proof late, you need to go in person. And dont forget about the most important part, the drivers license suspension.

      An attorney would know how to make sure that gets fixed. But you have to pay for that work.

  18. Danitza says:

    How would i benefit from an attorney.. Will i still have to pay gc collection one of my ticket was 400 now its 1000. Bassically i want to know what is my best solution. Please if i need to get an attorney i will. But how much would it be… Please help me. I waited a few days for your advice.. I was hoping to hear good news., thank u for ur time

  19. Panic36 says:

    Okay! I’m nervous now. I have had driving issues for awhile now. I haven’t driven for the past 7 years since I got pulled over and informed that I had warrants for my arrest, for FTA, all due to traffic violations. I was given a ticket and not arrested by the police officer which got me another FTA. I have a total of 3 FTA’s. Which I’m guessing is 3 warrants/bench warrants. All the tickets came from Long beach, CA.

    My question here is if I got to the Los Angeles superior court web page, and pay my citations online, will that clear up my problems? Or do I actually have to go to the court to fix this.

    Any info on this would be really appreciated!

    Thank you

    • Panic36,

      Generally, if you have a warrant it means that you are being charged with a misdemeanor and that one or more court appearances are mandatory.

      I would be super surprised if you can pay a warrant case off online and end it. But I may have actually seen it happen on one or two tiny cases in LA. I am not sure if I did or not, so I would not say it cannot happen.

      I dont think I would do it. If I had a warrant pending, I’d be going to court in person immediately.

      Even with traffic fines that are without problems, I tell people to pay in person, get real proof you paid, and make sure the case gets closed properly. If you try to pay on line, you have no assurance that the DMV gets notified, you have no assurance the web company will properly give you credit before you get stopped again, and you have no real proof from the court clerk that you paid.

      And what if it takes your money but the warrant remains pending – and you dont find out for 6 months?

      No, I dont think I would do that. BUt let me know what happens.

      If you have 3 warrants, jail time is a real possibility. My advice would be to hire an attorney to resolve the cases correctly like our local LA Attorney Sponsor Mark Gallagher (attorneygallagher (at) gmail.com). He is very good with these cases, and may be able to go to court for you tomorrow am. send him an email with your CLD #, DOB and he can look up your cases and see what is there.

  20. Danitza says:

    Hi i needed ur advise. I have 3 traffic tickets all about 3 years ago. In 2008 i had a court day and i had just giving birth to a premature baby. So i missed the court day. When my baby was released from the hospital 2months later i moved. So now i have 3 tickets i dont have money. And ive written letters to the courts and they dont want to help me out with community service.. I really want to clear my suspended license.. Im a single mother of 3 unemployed… I cant drive 6 hours to the courts.. Help what can i do.. Please help me..

    • Danitza,

      If you cannot pay to end the cases, and if you cannot hire an attorney, and if you cannot go to the courthouse in person, you are screwed.

      There is no free way to take care of failure to appear cases.

      And unfortunately, you do not have a right to drive. The law considers driving a privilege for people with money. It can be taken away if you cannot pay for insurance, registration, fines, DMV fees, safe tires, drivers license renewal fees, etc.

      It takes a lot of money to drive legally, and there is no government program to help you pay those costs. Especially with traffic court cases in a failure to appear status.

      Wish I had better news.

  21. Richard says:

    So in other word the hold will not automatically go away unless I take care of this situation in court?

  22. Richard says:

    I am asking because I was browsing the california dmv site and that stated :

    FTAs* and FTPs* (* see Glossary)
    FTAs for DUI offenses will be reported for 10 years from the violation date.* All other FTAs and FTPs (CVC §12808c) will be reported for 5 years from the violation date.


    • Richard,

      I finally understand why everyone is confused about this!

      OK – what you are reading there refers to CONVICTION RECORDS ON YOUR DMV DRIVER HISTORY REPORTS. It refers to listings on your driver history report that appear AFTER THE CASES ARE OVER.

      Dont confuse conviction records with a drivers license hold. They are not the same thing.

      The hold comes from the court. What you are reading refers to DMV records of court actions.

      And the problem is not a FTA or FTP – it really is that the court sent the DMV a VC 40509.5 notice and you need to get the court to recall it.

      It was CAUSED by a FTA or FTP, but it is not actually a FTA or FTP that is the problem.

      When you have a VC 40509.5 Hold (caused by a failure to appear or failure to pay) – the case is not over, it is still pending.

      Get it? The hold and the FTA record on a DMV history are not the same thing.

  23. Richard says:

    I just had a quick question…

    How long does a FTA/FTP remain on your driving record putting a hold on your driver’s license?

    I heard is 5 years?

    • Richard,

      That is not a quick question.

      I have answered it a million times. A Vehicle Code section 40509.5 Drivers License Hold originates from the court. It is really a Notice from the court to the DMV that causes a reaction: A Drivers License Suspension. That suspension remains until the court tells DMV to remove it. That means it will not go away unless, and until you get the court problem worked out. Failure to appear drivers license suspensions do not just magically disappear after 5 years. Dont believe me? Wait 5 years, and go try to get a valid drivers license.

  24. Christina says:

    I got a traffic violation (4000A-expired registration) back in September. I had to pay the $25 plus proof 12/22/11. I took care of my registration real quick but never went to court. Procrastination, forgetting, didn’t think it was a big deal, busy, blah blah blah ,no excuse, I got that. I called in to pay today and over the phone I was told it was now $600 for failure to appear!!! I rescheduled a court date which will be 3/16/12, went to the traffic division court, paid $10 so I could still drive, but the woman behind the window said that it was showing that I actually owe $900!!!!!!! I thought that the civic code penalty was around $300 plus ticket amount? $25 to $900 seems pretty steep for being 20 days late, no? She looked at me like it was a normal fine for a failure to appear. Am I the crazy one here? I’m a broke college student, really I think I have like $100 to my name.

    I have some questions:
    1) is $900 a normal fine for failure to appear in Long Beach, CA?
    2) will the fine continue to go up as I wait for my court date?
    3) should I hire an attorney?
    4) with no excuses why I didn’t show up, will the judge reduce the fine?
    5) should I even wait till March 16 for my court date or show up tomorrow morning for a walk-in court appearance?
    7) does crying in court help? haha . but no really.

    Thank you so much for your advice

  25. Laura says:

    I received a ticket in 2008 for failure to stop at a stop sign. I reside in Arizona and I’ll be moving to Illinois soon. The ticket was undeserved – I was in California on travel and driving back to the hotel late at night. An unmarked police car was following me closely for several miles on the interstate, so I took the next exit and “California stopped” a stop sign in an effort to get to a lighted, public area. Lo and behold, Mr. Police Officer decided to turn on the police lights and identify himself.
    I told the officer writing the ticket that I was worried for my safety and asked him why he didn’t turn on his police lights several miles ago. He just shrugged and wrote me the ticket.
    I shrugged and tossed the ticket.
    Now I need a new driver’s license and the State of California has placed a hold on my license. The fee exceeds 800.00. I faxed a letter to the court begging for a reduction in the fee but I’m pretty sure they will just crumple it up and shoot baskets with it.
    I can’t go to the court in person since I live out of state…do I have any options?

    • Laura,

      Here is a news flash: You are guilty. You have no defense. No where in your post did you say that you stopped correctly, legally. Having a car behind you that makes you nervous is not a defense to anything. You are not allowed to violated the law because the person behind you makes you nervous or scared. In fact, when driving, you should actually ignore the people behind you. (Unless you are backing up of course).

      And of course, it does not matter where you live now, where you will live later, or why you were in CA at the time. No one cares where you live or where you are going to live. Forget about all of that useless info. Wake up, understand that you did this to yourself, and focus on getting out of it correctly and fast.

      And yes, they are going to ignore your letter.

      My advice? Fastest solution: Pay in full in person. Get proof you paid. Go to DMV afterwards in person to get your driving privilege in CA reinstated (yes, they can suspend a driving privilege even if you do not have a CA drivers license)

      If you cannot do that, pay by mail in full get proof you mailed it, get proof of payment somehow, then check with CA DMV everyday to see if the VC 40509.5 hold got released. Once released, beg DMV to let you pay their reinstatement fee on line or over the phone. Get proof you paid.

      Or . . . even better . . . hire a licensed attorney to do all of the work the right way for you.

    • Laura,

      Well, like many people, you left one of the most important details out: location.

      California is a huge place. It takes 12.5 hours to drive from San Diego to Oregon. I’ve done it, so I know.

      If you drive 12.5 hours north from Rome, you might just make it to the Netherlands. You could go through Italy, Luxumberg, Germany, France, Switzerland, and even belgium. And in those countries, they speak a total of at least 11, probably 13, different languages. Dominos will not take an order in Rome for Delivery in Holland, now will they? Why not? Because it is a freaking $4 profit, and they dont have anyone who speaks Flemish.

      So what’s my point? I dont know. Maybe every court is different, and for a little tiny $800 problem, you need to find someone who is right across the street. Thus . . . identification of the location of the litigation is a required element of a solution to this problem. Try typing that fast while watching Sports Center/.

      • Laura says:

        Because your responses are so amusing, I feel compelled to ask more questions. I can’t help it :)
        So my case is now assigned to the Collections Department. I called and asked about the amnesty program. Since I have a 300.00 civil assessment tacked on to the case, they claim I am ineligible and they politely told me to go pound sand.
        The litigation location is Central Justice Court, in Santa Ana. I contacted several attorney’s. For 75% of the ticket cost, they could get the hold removed. This provides temporary relief, but the ticket debt remains.
        I figure I still have three rounds left in my arsenal:

        Motion to Release Driver’s License Hold: I noticed you have this form on your website. Do I have to physically file this with the court?

        Petition to Vacate Civil Assessment: I did not receive the notice to appear in court. How does the court prove that they sent it?

        Eligibility Affidavit Amnesty Program: The eligibility standards in the affidavit seem simple: I can’t owe victim restitution and I can’t have any felonies or misdemeanors. Can the Collections Department make up their own qualifiers for amnesty?

  26. McClain says:

    I am aware that starting January 2012, California will be offering 50% amnesty for certain traffic violations. A couple of the violations have gone to collections, but 3 are failure to appears, 2 for LA Superior and 1 for Superior Court of Temecula. I know that to be eligible for the amnesty, I have to pay all at the same time, I think rather. But, do I have to pay the failure to appears at the court or collection agency. Also, will I be able to pay the court clerk or do I have to see a judge or have a court date? My license is already suspended, I am trying to get it back, so I want to take advantage of this amnesty.

  27. Sokey says:

    I went to the DMV to renew my license and was told I had a balance that needed to be settled first for a citation I got back in 2006. I paid the fee to the Superior Court as the notice I got was from them and not the DMV back in 2006. According to the DMV they have no record of the payment made. I went to the Superior Court and obtained a docket (Minutes) as advised by someone at the CA DMV in Sacramento showing the balance was paid and the case closed. I went to the DMV with the docket (Minutes) and was told the balance is still there and I needed a copy of the canceled check from 2006!!! What else is there for me to do? Please help!

    • Sokey,

      Common Problem. I have to re write your question first:

      “DMV told me that my drivers license was suspended due to a failure to appear case in the Superior Court from 2006. I went to the court, plead guilty, was sentenced to a fine, and I paid the fine in full. Then I went back to DMV, and they told me that the court had not released the drivers license hold (VC 40509.5 hold). I showed them proof I ended the court case. They said they did not care, because the drivers license hold was still there from the case. I am certain I have the right case, and that I did not get 2 cases confused.”

      If you write the question that way, it almost answers itself.

      You have to go to the courthouse in person and ask the court clerk why the VC 40509.5 hold was not released. Then, do whatever the COURT WANTS YOU TO DO to get that hold released.

      But because I am psychic, and because I have seen this exact problem 1000x before, my prediction is that you are going to discover 1 of 2 possible things:

      1) The check you wrote to the court bounced; or

      2) You have a second case out there somewhere.

      Maybe I am wrong and the court clerk was just too stoned and high on prozak to check the box on the computer screen where it says: “Release Veh Code 40509.5 Hold and Give DMV notice of Release”.

  28. Stephanie says:

    Hi Chris.

    I was hoping you’d help me with my situation. Or give some advice.
    I got a ticket back in 2009 (I don’t have the copy anymore), for speeding. (80 on a 65 freeway). The first fee was around $450 but I recently lost my job then and couldn’t pay for it myself. I made a stupid mistake of letting my parents handle the fee. They said they would pay for my ticket and I can pay them back on a later date. I agreed and let them handle it.

    I did not drive my car 4 months later and up until a week ago (having no job, i didn’t have any money to pay for gas). But as I’ve saved up enough to start driving and paying my bills again, I decided to renew my driver’s license since it was expired.

    Low and behold, DMV informs me that my license is “suspended” due to FTA for my ticket back in 2009. I am really confused since i thought that was already settled and paid off. I asked my parents and they DID NOT know anything about it. They forgot to pay my fine.

    They said they did not receive any letters stating my license was expired, but honestly, I think they are lying and just did not want to get in the problem itself. I know I should have handled my problems myself, and now I know (from the hard way) to always follow up with things.

    I am afraid to ask the court, but i know I should. I’m afraid the fines are going to be ridiculously high and I won’t be able to pay for it. Am I going to get arrested? How do I go about to have my license reinstated, and what should I expect?

    Thanks for helping me out,


    • Stephanie,

      Forget the part of the story about your parents. It will not help you. It’s just a waste of light on my screen.

      Here is what you need to do: Call the DMV Driver Safety office. Get teh address of the courthouse where the cases is pending. Go to that courthouse today at 1:30 pm and ask for a walk in Arraignment on the case. Once in court, ask the court for some kind of relief or whatever it is you want.

      If they will not give you a walk in arraignment in person, set a date for in person arraignment. If that does not work, ask them if you have a right to a trial. If they so no because you already had one in absentia, ask for : 1) notice of decision and 2) prof of service for that notice to show the date that they sent it to you; and then File a Demand for Trial De Novo Following decision on Trial by Declaration in Absentia.

      Once you get the court to release the drivers license hold (Vehicle Code 40509.5 hold), you have to go to DMV in person to get a license reinstated. You have to pay DMV a “reinstatement fee”. Your drivers license will not be reinstated automatically after the court case ends.

      Or you can just pay the court in full today and go to DMV today and end the problem. Or, you can hire an attorney to do all the work for you and to protect your driving record and to prevent a failure to appear conviction to the extent possible, etc.

      If you want to get back at your parents, I recommend plastic wrap over the toilette bowl in the morning.

      The end.

      • Stephanie says:


        Thank you so much for the advice. I have been thinking of hiring an attorney just to avoid any more problems. The toilet bowl idea is great. I might just do that. I appreciate the response that you gave me and will get in action ASAP. Do you do any court cases in Riverside/SB areas?


  29. Nicole says:

    I got a fix it ticket back in 2006 for my divers licence not having the same address as my insurance, I went to the DMV and fixed it & they signed & stamped my ticket and sent me on my way. Since then I moved to North Carolina in 2009 and can’t get my licence since I was pulled over when I first moved out here and found out that I have a 4509.5 hold on my licence in California. They want me to pay 675.00 on this fix ticket that I took care of, is there anyway to get this dismissed and fixed so I can drive again?

    • Nicole,

      There is no such things as a violation for having a drivers license with a different address than your insurance. There is no law that requires you to have a drivers license with the same address as your proof of insurance.

      Details are important in these things. You need to pay attention to them.

      There is a law that requires you to keep the DMV notified of your current address at all times. Is that what you are accused of? Or are you accused of not having proof of valid auto insurance when you were stopped (Veh Code 16028)?

      A “fix it ticket”, as you call it, is more accurately known as a “correctable” violation. A Correctable Violation is only correctable until the deadline on the bottom of the citation (right next to your signature). If you miss that date, it is no longer a correctable violation – unless you can talk a judge into accepting proof of correction late.

      To cure a “correctable violation” correctly, you need to not only fix the problem, but then you need to get the citation signed by a police officer to prove that the problem was fixed.

      AND THEN . . . . (yes there is more to do, fixing the problem and getting the signature is not the end of the process people!) . . . . AND THEN,

      You must deliver proof of correction to the court prior to the deadline . . . . . . AND THEN . . . . .

      You must (in CA) pay the Court a “Dismissal Fee” – which is a government way of saying “you need to pay us to throw away your case even though you have complied with the law”.

      You have to do all of that on time. If you dont, you get charged with a failure to appear violation, your drivers license gets suspended, and the court has the option of either: 1) issuing a warrant on a misdemeanor violation of Veh Code 40508(a); or 2) charge you with an infraction of VC 40508(a) and then treat your failure to appear as a request for trial by declaration in absentia.

      Is there any way to get this dismissed and fixed so you can drive legally again?

      Yes, probably, maybe, if you hire an attorney to go do the court work for you the right way. I could solve your problem in 1 day, probably. Unless it is in Barstow. I’m not going back there until they finish it.

      Is there anyway way to get it dismissed by telephone, email or web? Yes, hire me or another web genius attorney that knows how to deal with these problems and who takes Paypal payments like I do.

      But the problem with your case is that it is too small to hire me. I would charge more than its worth, and cannot guarantee a dismissal. Humm . . . . . $675???? Only one case????? hum . . . . you are in NC ????? hum . . . . .problem stopping you from working???? hum .. . . I’d say do everything you can to pay today in full. Get proof you paid. Then, you probably are going to have to go to a CA DMV in person to get the drivers license here in CA reinstated (which is a pre requisite to getting one for you in NC I believe), but try calling the DMV Driver Safety Office to see if there is a way to pay the reinstatement fee to DMV and whatever else they want by mail.

      Those are my thoughts.

  30. Laurie says:

    Just a quick question… I can’t seem to get answers. I had a fix it ticket and had gotten an extension due to the fact I never received paperwork. LA Traffic Court has NO contact lines anymore. I was not working for a while and just got a part time job and was NOT allowed to leave work or I would have been fired and failed to make an appearance. I did set a court date, but the car has been long fixed. The original ticket was stolen along with my wallet. I just spent 6 hours downtown and could not get to a clerk. And I know that I need that ticket or the form (I never received) to clear this up and can only get it at the LA Superior Court. I am sure there will be fees and since I can’t seem to get in touch with the court.
    My question is what happens now? How much will the fees be? (apprx) Can I get the case dropped if I can afford the fees?

    • Laurie,

      You do not need the original ticket, or even a copy of it to take care of this problem.

      In LA County, you can look up traffic ticket cases by drivers license # and date of birth on the Los ANgeles County Superior Court web site (Traffic Division). There you can get the case #, courthouse location, etc.

      Once you get that info, the best bet is to get to the courthouse before 8 am and wait in line and ask the court clerk for a walk in appearance. Or you can hire an attorney like Mark Gallagher (attorneygallagher(at)gmail.com) to do the work for you.

      It is not a “fix it” ticket any more. A fix it ticket is only correctable if you get proof of correction to the court prior to the deadline on the ticket next to your signature. So you do not need to worry about having proof you fixed it. You do not need that proof to solve this problem. It might help, but might not help. It is not required. Go to court without it. No problem.

      There is absolutely nothing you can do with this problem on the phone. Dont waste your time trying to call the court. It will not help you.

      Can you get the case dropped if you cannot afford the fines? No. Poverty is not a defense to anything. And by the way, having to work is not a defense to a failure to appear charge. Forget about that part of the story, It will not help you solve this problem.

      Your drivers license is probably suspended due to this problem. Do not drive in CA at all until you call the DMV driver safety office (now) and verify the status of your drivers license and to make sure the DMV has your current, correct address.

      Once you clear the case up in court, you have to go to the DMV in person to make sure your license gets reinstated (and to pay them a re issuance fee).

      You might be able to just pay all of the fines and penalties in full to end the case, but you will have to go to the court in person to get accurate information about the fines.

      OK – so look up the case, call DMV and go to court tomorrow at 7:30 am. Got it?

      Or hire an attorney to do the work for you.

  31. John H. says:

    Hi Christopher,
    I had gotten a citation for talking on the cellphone and expired registration back in June. I missed the court date and failed to pay, only to find out that my license has been suspended when I went to the DMV to replace a lost driver license. They moved my case to collections and I’m not sure what to do. If there is a bench warrant will I be arrested if I go to court to try and release the hold on my license? Does it matter if this was my first traffic violation, and the fact that my registration has been fixed since then? I don’t have the money to pay the entire citation right now… what is my best/worst case scenario?

  32. Brian M. says:

    Help! I was pulled over for not stopping at a stop sign in Long Beach. I meant to fight the ticket but the court date that was set, sometime in September, came and went because, and I take full responsibility for this, I totally forgot. Once I remembered, it was too late and I tried to call and remedy the problem but there is no way to reach an actual clerk on the phone in Long Beach – I live really far from the courthouse and getting down there is more than difficult. Soon, I got a letter telling me that I had to pay the ticket ASAP or I would be charged with FTA, and my license would be suspended. I went online and was given two options: pay the ticket in full OR set an arraignment date – because I was recently laid off from my job, I set the arraignment date hoping it would give me time to gather the funds to pay the ticket. After setting the arraignment date, I received confirmation of the date and thought the problem was resolved for the time being – my arraignment date is 02/10/12. Now, I just received a letter from the DMV telling me that if this problem is not fixed by 12/10/11, my license will be suspended. I don’t know what to do and can’t reach anyone at the Long Beach Courthouse to help me with the matter.

    • Brian,

      Good, common question. You have 2 choices: 1) go to court in person tomorrow to ask the court clerk to release the drivers license hold or give you a walk in court appearance or 2) pay in full and end the problem today.

      If it is over $1000, probably makes sense to send an attorney to do the work for you, and to make sure you do not get convicted of a misdemeanor failure to appear (Veh Code 40508a).

      Once the court releases the drivers license hold (40509.5 hold) you have to go to DMV in person and give them money.

  33. Rose says:

    Hello Mr. Dort,
    I have a citation (violation 4000A1X 29 16028AX 29) from 2007 and LA superior court website shows I have 40509.5 Hold and Failure to appear. My fine amount from GC collections about 1400. The court I need to go to is Pasadena Courthouse. I would like to walk in to court, ask to see the judge and FINALLY free myself from this. I don’t have the original citation, I don’t have the car anymore. All I have is the LA website and GC online print out. My license, even though suspended, is expired.

    How would the court handle this case? I am willing to do community service, pay GC, or hire an attorney. A success for me is not going to jail. I have been on numerous legal websites and still confused as to what the best way to go about this is. All your help is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Rose!

      Finally a great question, presented without useless garbage.

      I am going to go out of my way to answer this question in detail. For free. From my couch. While watching Ancient Aliens.

      the violation listed as “4000A1X29″ is actually Vehicle Code section 4000(a) – Expired Registration.

      Why did they give you all of those useless, confusing numbers and letters that are not part of the violation? Because they are intentionally making it difficult for you. For real. You are in the process of getting screwed on purpose.

      Similarly, 16028AX 29 is a really pucked up way of trying to confuse you away from Vehicle Code section 16028 – no proof of insurance violation.

      Did you say say that it was GC Services Collection Agency that gave you those numbers? (GC Services is a trademark owned by GC Services LTD, I am told. Dont confuse them with use. I think they are being sued in Contra Costa County Superior Court in a Class Action Suit for misleading letters.) My opinion? They are intentionally trying to prevent you from understanding the problem and going to court. They want to divert you away from your right to a trial. Might be wrong about that. Not really sure. I dont have all the facts. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

      Anyway –

      At 1400 it makes sense to hire our local LA Attorney sponsor Mark Gallagher (attorneygallagher(at)gmail.com) to go and do the work for you while you watch Ancient Aliens.

      Ideally, it goes like this: 1) go to court demand an arraignment; 2) ask court (judge or clerk) to release the VC 40509.5 hold becaus eyou are there and have complied with the appearance order of the court (read the statute if you want) 3) show the court proof you do not have the car anymore and ask for dismissal of 4000a charge; 4) ask for dismissal of the 40508a charge (FTA), or demand the court give you a trial on that charge if you want to fight it; 5) ask for lots of time to pay the fines.

      It’s easier to send an attorney like me or mark who has done hundreds of these. I dont take cases in LA anymore, but if this were my case, I might tell you I would try to get there tomorrow morning. (unless you paid me with a personal check!)

      The court really just wants to end the case. Help them do it efficiently, and you will get a good result.

      Once the VC 40509.5 hold is released by the court – you must go to DMV in person.

      PS – If you were my client (you are not) I would probably advise you to ignore GC Services completely. Deal only with the court. You have a right to an Arraignment, and Trial if you want. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      Dont let a collection agency take your rights away!

      • Rose says:

        I FINALLY went to the court house. I arrived at 7:30. The clerk gave me a court date for late February and I bought the abstract for $10 to release the hold. She said to wait 24 hours before going to the DMV, but I didn’t have anything to do so, I took my chances and went straight there (besides, you advise everyone to go immediately)! I had to re-take my written exam (it was expired), pay the $55 reissuance fee (+ 31 for a renewal fee) and now, I have my license back! Although, I am still facing the charges in February, it feels great to be able to drive! Thank you for writing this blog. You really gave me the confidence to actually get my behind to court and deal with this matter. Thank you!!

        • Rose!

          Thank you for the great update. That is great. A recovered drivers license!

          I wish every California Superior Court would handle these 40509.5 / 40508a cases the same way and follow the law as they did in your cases. Some courts double screw people. I say “double screw” because you still got single screwed in my opinion. That $10 DMV abstract fee is a fake fee. There is no such thing as a DMV abstract any more. they were done away with years ago. The abstracts used to be a piece of paper you take from the court to the DMV. Now, that all happens electronically. If you paid that fee to a collection agency and thought you were paying a DMV fee, you were defrauded. Nearly all CA courts (and the Department of Motor Vehicles) have done away with those “abstract fees”. My opinion: you got scammed.

          I have just asked the CA DMV via twitter feed to clarify whether or not the “DMV abstract fees” are real. You can follow it @trafficcourtpro. They probably will answer us. They have been really good about that.

          Anyway, nice work. Thank you for taking the time to give us a great comment.

          You’ve given me more fuel for my free self help engine.

  34. greg says:

    i got a fix-it ticket 01/06/2011 for a blown driver side headlight. the problem was that the vehicle was not mine. i explained to the officer that i was just parking it for a friend of mine. i hesistantly accepted the ticket. the problem became bigger due to the fact that i had a falling out with my friend. we no longer speak and i was not able to get the fixit ticket signed off because i had no access to the vehicle. this fixit ticket became a failure to appear causing my license to be suspended. i am now trying to get my driving privileges returned. what can i do to help expedite the process.

    • Greg, good question.

      First thing you have to do is get out of denial.

      You are responsible for the citation, not the car’s owner. Driver, not owner is responsible. You dont need your friend to do anything to solve this problem. You do not need proof of correction to solve this problem.

      Providing proof of correction is an option to reduce the fine, but only if you get the proof to the court in time in the exact way they want it. But proof of correction (getting the ticket “signed off”) is NOT REQUIRED to resolve the citation (ticket). You just have to pay. That’s the bottom line. You do not need your friend, you do not need prof of correction. You do need money.

      You may want to go to the courthouse tomorrow at 730 am and ask for a walkin court appearnace. If you can get in front of the judge, you can ask for mercy. But you can end the problem today by paying. Get proof you paid. Go to your local DMV in person afterwards to verify the status of your drivers license.

      “You’re in denial!”
      “no I’m Not!”
      “yes you are!”
      “No I’m Not!”

  35. Sonia says:

    Hello there,

    So the DMV sent me a notification for the suspension of my license due to the 40509 vc hold. I received two tickets (red light and a speeding ticket) back in 2010 . I went to court and they allowed me to go to traffic school to fix one point and extended the pay dates for both tickets. But, I missed the date to go to traffic school as well as pay the dues on time. My license is suspended as of Aug 25, 2011 as noted in the letter from the DMV.

    I know I can pay in full and get my license back but I would have to suffer the consequences of the points being on my record correct?

    If I go to court is there a way that I could get them to lower the fines listed and/or reinstate my traffic school? Would they still allow me to do community service?

    So what would be the best route for me?

    Ideally, I do not want to just pay all of the $2028.00 that they have fined me and still have points on my record.

    If I have to go to court what things do I need to bring and or prepare for?

    • Sonia, once you plead guilty (which is what you did) the case is over. You cannot go back later, after you failed to comply with the sentence, and try to get things undone. Sorry, wish I had better news. You have to pay.

  36. francisco says:

    I had a 2 holds placed on my licence for failure to appear in West Covina and 1 in Los Angeles (40509.5). These citations were 12/9/05, 6/15/06 and 4/17/06. I was driving last week and got pulled over, they impounded my car. I went to the DMV to find out how much it was to pay the fees and get my license back (knowing it had been turned over to GC collection and was approx. $3000). The lady at the DMV said I only had to pay the $40 and take the test to get my license back….which I did, and received my license. I went on DMV’s website and entered my DR Lic# and it shows holds for these 3 citations.

    My questions are:
    #1 – Is my license valid because they gave me one at the DMV….or did they issue me one because my old one expired and even though I have “A License in hand” it still has the holds on it?
    #2 – If I am pulled over and an officer pulls this info up and it still shows holds even though the issue date for my new license is recent and the holds are several years ago, will they impound my car again?
    #3 – What does it mean when it says “fine stayed on 03/20/2009″ all the citations say this.

    • Francisco, Good question, but I cannot sort it all out.

      I can say this: if you have a Veh Code 40509.5 holdfrom more than 30 days ago, your drivers license is almost certainly suspended.

      Just because you have a drivers license card in your pocket, it does not mean you have a valid drivers license.

      If I were you, I would call the DMV Driver Safety Office right now to verify the status of your drivers license as of today.

      I would also recommend double checking whatever it was they gave you at DMV to be sure it is not just a State Identification Card, which looks exactly like a drivers license.

      Call DMV driver safety right now. Then contact Attorney Mark Gallagher (Attorneygallagher(at)gmail.com) to help you get the cases resolved.

      You probably have a “Negligent Driver Points Problem” here also that may cause a separate suspension. Driving on a suspend drivers license is a two point offense alone.

      Many people with problems like this need legal help to limit the number of points that go on your DMV Drier History Report, because if you just walk in and plead guilty to everything, you are going to have so many points your drivers license will be suspended again.

  37. Rose says:

    Hello Mr. Dort,

    I live in l.a. county (Pasadena area). My license has been suspended (DMV letter says Sections Violated – 16028AVC, 4000A1VC, 40508AVC, 405095VC) as of 8/08. I also have a GC Bill for $1000+. I believe the original reason was for speeding in 1/07. I was also pulled over in 10/09 and given a warning for no license. I don’t own the car anymore nor do I drive any car. I am willing to face the consequences ( a bit too late) now. I’m willing to pay fees, hire a lawyer, or do community service. I am just terrified of Jail, if that is what I am facing I will deal with it, but REALLY would like to avoid it.
    What am I facing if I were to go in to court alone? Or can I pay GC/DMV and just be done with it without seeing a judge? Thanks in advance for your time.

  38. Jason says:

    Hi Mr Dort,

    Here’s my situation:
    I am an international student graduated last year and I went back to my home country after graduation. And now i have a chance to visit the U.S. again and will stay here for a month for my vacation.
    But i just checked with Los Angeles superior court web site and found that there’s a citation with a 40509.5 hold and “Fail to appear hold”. It shows that its already referred to a collection agency called GC services.

    My questions are
    1) If i pay it full in GC services, is the citation cleared? Do i have to do anything else to get it done? I’m willing to pay it full in order not to having any trouble in my vacation.
    2) Since my california driver licence is expired and suspended, I will apply for an international driving permit issued by my home country. Is that ok to drive in California if my california driver licence is expired and suspended while i have an international driving permit?
    3) If i need any help for the court appearance, would you be able to help me?

    Looking forward to your answers.
    And thank you so much for your help!

    • Jason, Great question. A 40509.5 hold will not prevent you from coming into the US. But it will prevent you from driving legally in CA.

      The best option in that area (LA County) is to send an attorney to make a court appearance, resolve the case for good, and get the drivers license hold released. You should hire Attorney Mark Gallager (Attorneygallagher{at}gmail.com) to do the work. Dont pay GC Services if you can avoid it by hiring Mark or going to court yourself. He gets good results on these cases. Its worth the money to send him. Might even save you more than the cost of his work – not to mention he will do it right. Once the hold is released, you will have to contact CA DMV to pay a “Reinstatement fee” – even if you never had a CA drivers license. They have suspended your Driving Privilege in CA – so no license will allow you to drive legally here until that is done.

      As for the International drivers license – generally no, you cannot drive in CA legally with an International Drivers License. I will ask @CA_DMV for more detail on international licenses and I will try to publish it on this blog for free.

  39. David leyva says:

    How do courts in san diego county feel about a hold

    • David, courts dont have feelings. And traffic courts and criminal courts are DESIGNED TO PUNISH AND HURT PEOPLE. That is the entire goal. Punishment for violations of law. They do not care what effect their actions have on your or your family. That’s my opinion.

  40. Mychal B says:

    Mr. Dort,

    I am in a huge dilemma right now and don’t really see any way out (on account of my extremely low financial situation). Back in September, I received a fixit ticket for not having the tags on my plate current. Being scared out of my mind that I was getting my first ticket, I kept asking the officer if it was going to go on my record. He said no as long as I can have my current registration on the tags within a month. I told him that I’d have it in a week and he said he would give me a month just in case.
    I got my registration done that weekend (way before the deadline) and have proof of that. But I lost my paper copy of the ticket. My problem is that I didn’t realize I had to take my car to the courthouse for them to verify it– I was dumb in thinking that doing exactly what the officer said would make me a free man.. Needless to say, I now have a VC 40509.5 hold and a bill of $965.00 to pay to GC collections. I have absolutely no means to pay for this as I am a student, and the money that I COULD be making towards it is earned by my job that REQUIRES me to drive (I work for a student operated “taxi” service). I have no idea what to do in this situation. Please help! Thanks

    • Mychal, Unfortunately, I do not have any good news for you. But I am very glad that you wrote this comment, because it gives me a chance to write a few things that can save a lot of people a lot of trouble and stress in the future.

      1. If you have a VC40509.5 drivers license hold, your drivers license is suspended. YOU CANNOT DRIVE AT ALL WITHOUT RISKING IMPOUNDMENT OF THE VEHICLE AND A FREE TRIP TO JAIL.
      2. If your drivers license is suspended, your auto insurance is automatically CANCELLED. Even if you think you have insurance because you paid in full, you dont. Any accident without valid auto insurance can ruin your future.
      3. This problem was caused by the fact that you failed to read your citation. It’s that simple. If you would have read the document both before and after you signed it, you would not have this problem.
      4. A secondary cause of this problem is that you lost the citation. Bad Move. TREAT ALL COURT CITATIONS LIKE THEY ARE YOUR PASSPORT.
      5. Once a police officer give you a citation, he or she IS NOT IN CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE CASE. And time you sign a Promise to Appear (traffic ticket), there is a court case started. You have to deal with the court. The cop cannot give you 30 days to do anything. The court can, not the cop. You would know this if you read the citation prior to signing it.
      6. Obviously, no one in their right mind would allow you to be a taxi driver if your drivers license is suspended and insurance cancelled. If you are depending on Taxi revenue to solve this problem, you are nucking futs.

      OH WAIT. I just came up with a possible solution. Go to the courthouse today at 8:30 am (right now – get on your bike and go). Once there, ask the court clerk for a walk in court appearance. If you can get into court, you can ask the judge to accept proof that you corrected the problem, even though it is too late. Ask for time to pay the fine. Ask for release for the drivers license hold.

      If your request for a court appearance is denied, you should get and file as many of my forms as possible like: 1) demand for trial after civil assessment; 2) motion to release drivers license hold; 3) petition to vacate civil assessment (with my template declaration); 4) Motion to dismiss under penal code section 1385; 5) demand for trial de novo (with my template declaration)

      OR, you can just pay.

      Once the hold is released, you must go to DMV in person to get your drivers license reinstated to make sure it is done right. Reinstatement does not happen automatically.

      If you do not have proof of correction to show the court today – going to court would be a waste of time.

      Nothing you said in your comment is a defense. You can forget about 99% of it – and then you will be focused on the real problem.

      More Tips:

      a) do not drive to court if your drivers license is suspended; b) if you do pay, get proof you paid and keep it safe; 3) once your drivers license is reinstated, you need to contact your insurance company to restart your insurance.

      Finally, I have to say this again for everyone’s benefit: Driving is a privilege, not a right. That is what the law says. Driving is a privilege for people with money. Poor people who cannot afford to pay fines, buy safe tires, buy auto liability insurance, maintain the brakes in a safe manner, pay registration fees, pay smog check fees, etc – are not allowed to drive. That is just the way the law is set up. There is no right for poor people to drive. I hate to say it, but some people really need to realize they just dont have the money to drive and give up until their conditions improve.

      OK – sorry if this sounds rude, but I truly tried to provide helpful info here.

  41. c mcintyre says:

    Thank you again, and, as your web site confirms, in this court too they refuse to put the original matter or the failure to appear, on the arraignment calendar, while the civil assessment remains unpaid. I tried this a few days ago, without success.
    So, it would appear, I can: a.) attempt what you suggest filing the pleadings challenging the legality of the process/civil assessment/no hearings, b.) pay the total due and correct the CDL error, or, c.) take my chances – doing nothing.
    While paying the fine is the less cumbersome way to go, the related charges/points on my DMV record will cost several times more via increased insurance premiums. I know this, as with a relatively clean record beforehand and the minimum insurance required, for one stop sign, my premium – with a well known insurer – went up over 33%.
    Best regards and hoping you have a great day/evening,

    • C, yes, if that is really a Veh Code 40509.5 warning notice, you do have time to work on it. And DMV is supposed to give you 30 days notice themselves prior to suspending your license (see Veh Code section . . . . . I dont remember when I am working for free) but you will not get the DMV notice (you might, but assume you will not). SO make sure DMV has your current address and work on it.

      If they do deny your petition – then pay it, and immediately file a notice of appeal. And then you can avoid suspension and put up a hell of a fight ! There is enough free info here on this blog for you to do all of that alone.

      But make sure you avoid the suspension first! That is the priority.

      And even if you appeal you have to pay. But that is OK –

      The legal error if you have to appear a denial of a petition to vacate civil assessment is a denial of due process under 1214.1(d) penal code.

      THat is a lot of info.

  42. c mcintyre says:

    additional info regarding the civil assessment.
    court paperwork states I have 60 days, from the assessment date of 05/05/2011, to pay in fine and assessment locally, and before it goes to collection.
    does this also suggest they might not notify the DMV of the 40509.5 until 07/05/11, and, if so, does it make sense, legally, to proceed asap with the arguments you suggest on your website.
    these, appeared to be, basic procedure errors by the court regarding proper notice, violations of legally protect rights to a court hearing, etc.
    thank you again,

  43. c mcintyre says:

    thank you for the response and great web site – with the pleadings download options – and one I already did – Civil Assessment Petition, and more pending learning the status of my license and court action as required.
    1. license is valid, per CA DMW online as of 6/13/2011. also, 26 days after the court records showing the 40509.5 was added 05/05/2011 – I had a minor accident that was reported to the DMV and my insurance. my insurance did not mention a suspension.
    So, presently, it appears the local court record has not caught up with my DMV one, and, perhaps due to the CDL # error.
    2. CDL # error. a.) on the original hand written ticket a few digits are not clear, b.) on the first warning notice one digit was off – that I did not notice at first – and everything else is correct, c.) on the my copy of the form requesting the court appearance I correctly entered the number, d.) on all subsequent court forms including the last of a few days ago the one digit error remains.
    please advise how I should proceed, and, if it necessary for attorney representation by you or another (locally).
    many thanks again,

    • C, If your drivers license is not suspended yet – great. You can avoid that.

      And maybe you do have time to file a Petition to Vacate Civil Assessment before it happens. I’d still say you have to call DMV today.

      A clerical error relating to your drivers license # is not a defense – unless you can go to court and say “It was not me!” It does not affect the fact of whether or not you had notice of the citation (that you signed).

      A clerical error also has no bearing on the factual question of whether or not you violated the vehicle code with an illegal turn.

      The only thing an error in your drivers license # might change is whether or not DMV ultimately suspends your drivers license. Maybe you can ignore it, and DMV will never find out?

      I guess technically, the correct thing to do is give the court written notice of the clerical error. And give written notice to DMV. Get proof you sent it.

      Ha! I know you dont really want to correct the error for them, because you are hoping I will just say you can ignore it and it will be ok.

      This problem is way too small to be worth the money it would cost to hire me or another competent attorney to go to court for you and try to get a trial scheduled, and then to come back at a different time and try to have a trial.

      Here is my best free advice: 1) call DMV right now and verify the status of your drivers license and make sure they have your current address; 2) go to the courthouse in person tomorrow at 8:00 and ask the court clerk if you can be added on to the arraignment calendar.

      If you can get into court, see if you can talk the judge into dismissing the failure to appear charge, and giving you a trial on the illegal turn violation. Or maybe traffic school?
      Ask the judge to release the drivers license hold prior to trial, prior to fine payment, without payment of bail, and tell him/her about the CDL # error to correct the court record.

      Then, i fyou really want to fight this case, go back to court on the trial date (if they give you one) and try to win.

      That’s what I would do. But it probably would not work out too well.

      Or you can just pay and end the entire problem today.

  44. c mcintyre says:

    re: San Francisco, $300 Civil Assessment, two each VC405095, VC40508A.
    Recently I missed two appearances to contest an illegal turn violation and now am told I need to pay the full amount of the fine $230 plus $300 or file the Petition To Vacate Civil Assessment.
    I have a valid legal argument for the original charge, however, am not prepared to post the $530 and it appears will lose the Petition To Vacate, however, my CDL number is not correct on the court records.
    note: Presently, I have a clean driver’s record, with less than 3 minor violations during the past 8 or so years and no Failures to Appear.
    How do you suggest I proceed, please?
    Thank you

    • C,

      Thank you for the question. But you are in denial. You do not have a clean driving record.

      Unless you are trying to tell me that the courts and DMV have no way to connect these cases to your drivers license #, YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IS SUSPENDED! Not only do you not have a clean driving record – you dont even have a drivers license! (Call DMV right now to verify the status of your license. A VC 40509.5 hold means you do not have a drivers license. It is gone, they took it away from you. And that fact – the fact that the DMV had to take action to remove your driving PRIVILEGE is part of your so called CLEAN DRIVING RECORD.

      I think what you mean to say is that you used to have a clean driving record.

      You say the court does not have the right CDL #? Call the DMV right now and check the status of your license. If suspended, they know who you are.

      And the fact that there is a clerical error in a court file is not a defense. Unless you can show they do not have the right person. But is that your signature on the citation? Is that your name and address? Did you sign the citation with the error on it? If so, it’s your fault.

      This is not a $530 they got the wrong innocent person problem.

      This is a suspended drivers license problem that you can solve today for $530 (or something like that – forgive me if I got it wrong). That is what I recommend you do.

      Then, go to DMV in person.

      You can send an attorney to go to court for you and do the work for you to try to get the fines and charges reduced. But unless you have a $1000 + problem, its not worth the erroft time or money.

      Your problem is too small. Just pay it, and get your drivers license reinstated. Get proof you paid. Keep it forever. Send a dispute letter to the collection agency with proof of delivery required. Do not drive at all before you verify that your drivers license is valid. If your drivers license is suspended, your auto insurance is probably cancelled automatically. You need to get new proof of valid insurance to be sure you have a valid policy.

  45. Joe says:

    Mr. Dort,

    Thank you for your informative website. I received a speeding ticket that I forgot about, then a 40509.5 hold was placed on my license preventing me from renewing my license. A civil assessment of $300 was also added making my ticket over $700. I went down to the courthouse (CA – Santa Clara County – Palo Alto) and asked for a court date which was granted. It was an arraignment where I requested a trial by written declaration and also asked the judge if they would remove the license hold if I paid the civil assessment immediately. The judge agreed.
    Exiting the courtroom and speaking with the court clerks for traffic, they stated that they could not remove the license hold until the case was over, and that the quickest way to do this was to plead guilty and pay all fines. I let them know that I need a valid license to drive around and gather consultation and evidence to prepare a good defense for my trial, but they said it doesn’t matter. I cited the wording of 40509.5 where it says that “If thereafter…the person who has violated the court order appears in court and satisfies the order of the court, the magistrate or clerk of the court hearing the case shall sign and file with the department a certificate to that effect.”
    They said I have not satisfied the order of the court until the case is over, is this correct? I have presented myself, set a court arraignment date and appeared, even offering to pay just the civil assessment to remove the hold, am I not satisfying the courts order?
    I looked at the document you have for sale “motion to release drivers license hold” but it looks like it only pertains to a situation where the court refuses to grant a court date. Can you provide any guidence? Thanks in advance.

    • Joe, if the judge said they would release the hold, you need to get the judge to sign a written order to that effect.

      The way a real attorney would do this is first get back into court and give the judge a written motion to release the VC 40509.5 hold. The motion should tell the judge he has the power to remove it, and that the law tells him under these facts to release it.

      At the end of the motion there should be (and is in most motions) a PROPOSED ORDER for the judge to sign if the motion is granted. Once the proposed order is granted, and signed, you take it to the court clerks office to be filed. Then the court clerk has to do it.

      A proposed order is really just 1 or 2 pages of pleading paper with the case caption on it, and a clear wording of the exact action you are looking for. Place for the judge’s signature.

      Even if the judge does not like your order, they can make a new one on the spot if necessary.

      Then, if your motion is denied, you can appeal it because there is a written record (if you can find an error of law to challenge).

      You can buy my VC 40509.5 Motion form ( I lose money on those so I am not going to put a link here) and re write it to suit your own facts.

      If you cannot get back into court in person because they will not give you a new court date, file the motion with the court clerk in person. Get proof you filed it. Bring 2 copies with you for filing.

      2 hole punch the top. Dont listen to the court clerk. Just tell them to file it and stamp your copy. Just state those words over and over until you get a file stamped copy.

  46. Constantine says:

    hello mr. dort ok i have something a little old with a little new these tickets are all in 2006… I would like to know i have 3 tickets. 1 is a moving violation and i plead guilty and i was eligible for community service so i took it they issued 74 hours of community service i had good intentions and i started it but i couldn’t finish because of life hit me… So now when i looked up my citation it says matters set for compliance and the gave me a new court date set for next year march 2012 and they sent my ticket to GCS so what does this mean? Are they still willing to take my community service hours if i finish them b4 my next court date… My 2nd ticket is a fix it ticket at Glendale courthouse i had no idea i had it but i believe it was for not having registration or insurance which i went and retrieved immediately after i received the ticket i never went back i don’t have any proof of that insurace i don’t even remember the company name but i just got the minimum insurance possible because i didn’t have alot of money at that time… is there anyway i can get that proof and take it to the court and get the ticket dropped? my 3rd ticket was about the same as the last i just told you about so can you please help me. I have been with out a vehicle for almost 2 years now so i don’t drive and i live about 2 to 3 hours away from LA so would i be able to get it transferred to another court somehow or if i have to go to LA i will i just want the headache i gave myself to go away that Mr. Dort. I have also called the court and sent letters and just have been receiving the run around thank you for your time.

  47. Kyle says:

    Mr. Dort,

    My wife recieved a ticket while driving her friends care back in…I want to say 2007, before we had met. He was the passenger and it was a ticket for something that was wrong with the car. They gave it to my wife. He said he would pay it and took it but obviously he never did. She hasn’t lived in California for quite some time. It was at about a $125 ticket and now is $808. It was sent to GC services long ago. We are in such a hurry to take care of this that I just paid GS services the other day and they said they notified the courthouse that it was now paid. We have tried calling the courthouse and we can’t even get a person on the phone and the automated service continues to say contact GC services. I’m currently serving in Afghanistan and am losing my mind at not only how hard it is to help her from here but how hard it is to get help from someone over the phone even when she tries. Since she had the failure to apear and we have now paid the fine in full, must we set a court date? She is currently living in Kentucky where I am stationed out of. Obviously she too has to get to work and we have two kids, so getting arrested for driving without a license would do some damage with me over here. I’ve been told by the dmv that a $10 check to the courthouse will allow it to be cleared to the dmv but we can’t talk to a human at the courthouse. We sent the check anyways. Can you tell us if we are going about it in such a manner that will get this resolved quickly? Thank you.

    • Kyle, problem here is that you do not have proof you paid. Ouch. I would never give GC Services Money without getting proof of payment. I dont trust those bottom suckers. Anyway – that does not matter as long as: 1) her drivers license is valid; and 2) . . . nope that’s it. She just needs her drivers license to be valid. She needs to contact CA DMV Driver Safety Office (find # on DMV Web site – not the main DMV number – DIRVER SAFETY in a small town). She will get a live person on the phone. She needs to ask if there are any holds on her CA Driving PRIVILEGE (does not matter if she has no CA lic). If so, she may have to pay a $55 reinstatement fee (assuming GC Services did not steal the money from you and fail to notify DMV). Once there are no CA holds, and the ca reinstated fee paid (if necessary), go to her local DMV in person to verify status of her KY license (or where ever she wants one). Deal with DMV now. forget about GC Services and the COurt. Check the court’s web site to see if you can look it up. You can in LA, Ventura, Monterey, and many other counties – but not all.

  48. Debby says:

    Christopher Dort:
    My boyfriend got a ticket in 2008 for no registration. He went to court date and his name was not called. (NOT RIGHT THING TO DO I KNOW…but was not with him at that time…) Now here we are in 2011 and he also has a Failure to Appear an VC40509.5 Hold. He can produce the proof of registration from that time…but the Failure to Appear is another charge right? Is that jail time? I looked up his ticket (Long Beach) and it goes to a GCS Collection page…Would be be best to go in person to court??? Does he need to think me might be arrested? PLEASE HELP. Email me info if you can WE NEED HELP. He needs to drive to work….Thanks in advance!

    • Debby – dont panic. This is a classic case. Can be solved in a few days (usually). For LA County cases I recommend that you hire and send Attorney Mark Gallagher (our local LA Sponsor Attorney to go to court for you. If he can get the case back on the court’s calendar he may be able to talk the judge into accepting the prof of correction late. But more importantly, once he is there, and once he tells the court you have hired an attorney and want your day in court, he can probably get the drivers license hold removed right away. Unless there are many charges, or prior convictions. Contact Attorney Mark Gallagher at AttorneyGallagher(at)gmail.com. If he can get the hold released and the court to accept proof of correction, it would work out well for you.

  49. Sahara says:

    Thanks so much for your speedy response. Yes, I did pay $10 to GC Services and paid $18 to overnight the money order to them on top of my $825 dollar ticket. I suppose that’s what is called “salt in the wound”. :/ I wish I had seen your site earlier. I have been trying to take care of this issue for a while and not being able to reach anyone via phone at the Metro Court was a real inconvience seeing as though I no longer live in the the state. It was very hard for me to get any questions answered. I contacted many a lawyer and NOT ONE would return my phone calls. I know now. Thanks again for your assistance

    • Sahara, If they charged you for a DMV abstract, in my opinion there may be a violation of federal law. I’d have to take a closer look, but sounds wrong to me. I have been preparing a civil lawsuit that you may be a perfect candidate for. I have a whole list of potential plaintiffs, and if you do not mind, I may contact you soon to get more info. Keep your info and paperwork. And to others interested in suing GC Services or other collection agencies for violations of State or Federal law, contact me to get on the list.

  50. Sahara says:

    I’m a former resident of CA. Received a ticket while visiting and could not get back to CA to appear as I thought I would be able to. I received a hold, paid the fine, paid the abstract and I’m waiting for the court to release the hold. My question is, since I no longer live in CA and want to get a license for the state where I now reside, do I still have to pay the CA DMV the reinstatement fee? I just want the suspension released so that I can get my license in the new state of residence.

    • Sahara, if your driving privilege is suspended in CA – regardless of whether or not you want a CA drivers license – I believe you will have to pay the reinstatement fee or your driving privilege will be suspended in most other states until the problem is fully solved. PS – if you paid a “DMV” abstract fee, you got robbed. Neither CA DMV nor any CA Court that I have been to charges an “abstract” fee anymore. That ended more than 5 years ago when the stopped issuing the “paper” abstracts – which no longer exist. If a Collections Agency such as GC Services charged you an “Abstract Fee” for a CA problem, please contact me directly because I believe that would be actionable evidence of FRAUD. And I hate those people. In my opinion, many collection agency employees will not hesitate to lie to you.

  51. Nathan Holt says:

    Hi there,

    I received a cell phone violation ticket in Walnut Creek, CA back in August of 2010 for $181 and the deadline to pay was 11/29/2010. I however go to school in Colorado so I forgot to pay so on 12/23/1010 the court sent my case to collections. At this point I had the original fine plus $300 civil assessment fee plus other fees that I still have no idea what they are for a grand total of $931. On 1/3/2011 I received a notice saying I now owed $1271. Since January I have called the court house, gone into the court house, and called the collection agency multiple times and Iv e literally have gone in circles doing so. Not one person can tell me what these fees are for, not one person from the court house or the collection agency has been able to tell me anything more then, “You can’t see a judge because the case has already gone to collections and you have to pay the $1271 before your license can be reinstated”. Ive tried repeatedly to try and see a judge but they wont let me because the case has already gone to collections. Any help is much appreciated.


    • Nathan, you cannot get anything done on a traffic citation by telephone. Dont try. Stop wasting your time. If I were you, I’d go to the courthouse in person at 7:30 am and ask the court clerk in person for a walk in court appearance. Ask if they have had a trial yet. They may have had a trial without you. If so, you’re screwed. If not, you can get a walk in court appearance – but you cannot do it by phone. Dont trust anything a private collection agency tells you. In my opinion, and based on what I believe to be true based on my observations, private collection agency employees sitting in cubical will not hesitate to lie to you. You can file a “Petition to Vacate” the $300 civil assessment. I wrote a form and declaration template for that purpose. But I am too busy to give you the link today. Its in this blog somewhere. I actually pass by that courthouse every week it seems. For a flat fee of $500 I will go and try my best to get you some relief. I try to make it easy for you to hire me. Just let me know if you are ready. Your driving privilege in CA is probably suspended as a result, even if you never had a CA drivers license. And if CA suspends your driving privilege, CO will honor it. So you cannot ignore the problem. Unless you are done driving – which ultimately is my own dream. There will be a day where I will not longer conduct ay business with DMV, and will not hold any form of DMV identification. Screw them. Oh Glory Be the Day! PS – “I however go to school in CO so I forgot” is not a defense. Forget about that part of the story. How about “I did not receive the 10 warning notice required by Penal Code section 1214.1(b) because the court failed to comply with the California Penal Code in imposing the Civil Assessment.”

  52. sean says:


    I got a ticket for talking on the cell phone the day I was leaving the country(3 hrs before flying out)–it was last September. I have come back for a 1 week vacation here in US and realized that I had not taken care of this ticket. I found out that it has been sent to a collection agency and they are asking for $800 or so to take care of this. Need help please…what are my options given that I have very little time and almost no money to deal with this. Can I go to the Bellflower Superior court–do they allow walk inns?


  53. Darnell says:

    To make a long story short… My license was placed on hold for 2 failures to appear and my case went to collections. I scheduled a court date to get this matter taken care of because the citation was not me. The judge dismissed the case and they gave me a abstract/document error pink paper. She said the matter was cleared off my record as if it never happened. the hold was released. Now what is the next steps I have to do? do I have to take another written test? Or is my license continued?

  54. cynthia says:

    hello and very informative blog. please give me some info with my situation if you will. i used to live in california but moved 6 years ago. i got a ticket in 2/05 in la county for running a stop sign and the court date was for 11/05. well i moved to georgia in 10/05 so needless to say i miss my date. well ive been in georgia now for 6 years and have had a license but this ticket just now popped up when time to renew. the ca court website says it has a 40509.5 hold with $760 due and i cant pay that nor can i come back to california to see a judge. its holding up me renewing my georgia license so what can i do without spending money i dont have? please help.

  55. Alonza says:

    hello mr. dort ok i have something a little old with a little new these tickets are all in 2006… I would like to know i have 3 tickets. 1 is a moving violation and i plead guilty and i was eligible for community service so i took it they issued 74 hours of community service i had good intentions and i started it but i couldn’t finish because of life hit me… So now when i looked up my citation it says matters set for compliance and the gave me a new court date set for next year march 2012 and they sent my ticket to GCS so what does this mean? Are they still willing to take my community service hours if i finish them b4 my next court date… My 2nd ticket is a fix it ticket at Glendale courthouse i had no idea i had it but i believe it was for not having registration or insurance which i went and retrieved immediately after i received the ticket i never went back i don’t have any proof of that insurace i don’t even remember the company name but i just got the minimum insurance possible because i didn’t have alot of money at that time… is there anyway i can get that proof and take it to the court and get the ticket dropped? my 3rd ticket was about the same as the last i just told you about so can you please help me. I have been with out a vehicle for almost 2 years now so i don’t drive and i live about 2 to 3 hours away from LA so would i be able to get it transferred to another court somehow or if i have to go to LA i will i just want the headache i gave myself to go away that Mr. Dort

  56. naomi says:


    I have a fix it ticket for tinted windows. I have fixed it and have proof of CHP sign-off. For some reason, the Court website would not allow me to pay online, so I sent it in the mail. I unfortunately did not choose signature delivery. Given that the check has not been cashed (sent over a week ago) and it’s due in 2 days, can I go on-line and Request an Extension? It was an option when I put in my ticket. If the check is then processed, will it override the extension date? I didn’t want a new court date, just a little longer for the DMV to process the check. Thank you.

    • Naomi,

      It is not unusual for a court to take a couple of weeks to cash a fine check. Make sure you have the money in the account until its cleared for sure.

      If I had this problem, I would se if I could get an automatic extension online. If not, I would go in person and ask the court clerk for an extension.

      If you would have sent it with Delivery Confirmation required (not necessarily a signature required, but date of delivery required), you would not have this problem.

      It’s always better to pay in person. Dont pay a fine via mail unless you really, really, have to.

      Also – keep your agencies straight. I hope you are not really waiting for the “DMV” to process it, because if you sent your fine payment to the DMV, you are going to have a problem. You should have sent it to the court, not DMV. They are not the same thing. (Assuming you are in CA, that is).

  57. Franklin says:

    First, I must ask, are you Mr. Dorton, regarding the OJ?

    If you are, I had the pleasure to see you in person at the S. Fernando Court House not so long ago. I was shocked, and honored to see in person. Althugh, we did not meet.

    40509.5 holds – If I understand you correctly, if the matter has been forwarded to collections by the court. The matter is considered over and by filing the motion afore-mentioned I can have the hold remove?

    It was a fix up ticket, what about any financial obligation?

    I eagerly await your reply.

    God Bless Dort, Esq

    • Franklin,

      Sadly, I must report that I am not Mr. Christopher Darden, the #2 prosecutor in the famous OJ Simpson Murder case. I am sorry.

      But . . . I have been to the San Fernando Courthouse! And I did read Mr. Darden’s book on the OJ trial (my mom gave it to me), and I actually did go to the same Law School, University of California, Hastings College of Law. He probably paid off his tuition with that book. I still owe them money.

      Anyway – he’s a prosecutor. Dont ask prosecutors for advice on what to do. They are trained to get the most out of your sentence, just like a new car sales person. Or more like the Closer at a used car dealership.

      According to the California Vehicle Code, section 40509.5 Holds are notifications from the court to DMV that a person has failed to appear in court or failed to satisfy an order of the court. Once hte problem is solved, the hold must be released.

      If the hold was placed due to a failure to appear, it must be removed upon an appearance in court. That is what the law says. California Vehicle Code Section 40509.5. Read it.

      Some courts, like the court clerks in the Traffic Court of Solano (in my opinion) ignore that part of the law.

      Some courts just decide to consider you guilty if you miss the date on a traffic ticket, and then convert the fine for your guilty sentence into a civil judgment to prevent you from challenging it in criminal or traffic court. Then, they issue a Veh Code 40509.5 hold to suspend the person’s drivers license without giving the driver the right to a trial. They consider the right to a trial on Vehicle Code violations to be something that expires. In those courts, victims of identity theft get really screwed – but the problems are so small that no one has brought a real legal challenge to the problem in Federal Court.

      Hope this helps.

  58. Rosie says:

    I received a letter from GC Services stating I owe $965 from LA County Superior Court. I received a citation for an expired auto registration in July 2010 & I understood that I either could pay the $25 citation with proof of correction or appear in court. So I chose to pay the citation by mail. It was mailed 3 weeks prior to the due date. After receiving the letter from GC Services, I decided to go to LA Superior Court website only to learn my case status: 40509.5 Holds. I have never received any mail from the court or the DMV informing me of this impending action. Was appearing in court mandatory? I have my receipt for payment & proof of correction. What do I do? I would have never intentionally missed a court date if I had known it was mandatory.

  59. Jeff says:

    So on Nov. 2010 during my first quarter of college, I’m late walking to class so i decide to quickly jog across a red stop light on a tiny street inside the campus seeing that many students ahead of me are doing the same. But I enter the street a little too late and a cop is right there to pull me over. And I get a ticket, my first ever for anything.

    I was supposed to go to court after Christmas, but I’m still a irresponsible freshmen so I totally forgot after going home during the break. And I didn’t know what to do, so I just waited until they sent me a letter. Today I got a letter from the LA superior court, which I’m guessing is a Failure to Appear warrant and the bail’s at $561. Case status is 40509.5 Holds and my action date was 1.18.11.

    I have to pay the bail within 10 days and I have one day to pay this off before the bail goes up to 861 and goes to a collection agency, and was wondering if there’s any way to reduce the costs? Do I have to pay it off and file an appointment with the judge to explain everything so I can at least get some money back? Can I get some of my bail money back or is it long gone once I pay it off? Is it too late to make a court date and do I just have to pay off the bail asap before the amount goes up? The money I have in my bank can barely pay off this bail, and is all the money I have to survive the rest of this quarter…

  60. Robert says:

    Just to let you know I used the information you provided here to have a VC 40509.5 Hold removed and a new court date set, even after my citation had been sent to collection.

    This applies to Pasadena Superior/Municipal Court. I went there today at 8am. Spoke to the clerk. Asked for a court date and the hold to be removed (due to a failure to appear). They set a new date and gave me an abstract showing that the hold was removed until the court date (in case I get pulled over). The fee was $10. According to the clerk, I have to follow up with the DMV in 48 hours to remove it from there also (in case it is there too) and pay their fees.

    I was in collection with GC Services, so the clerk referred me to a GC Services employee who issued the abstract (and asked for a phone number which I did not provide). The clerk then collected the $10.

    Easy and painless. I can now go to court and plead my case (speeding ticked) and since I am eligible for traffic school, I may still be able to avoid points on my license.

    Thanks Christopher.

    • Robert, Success! If you think I helped with some real info, please take a moment to give me a quick review on my Google Local Listing page. It helps me counter the complaints.

      You know I used to work at a bike shop. I once showed a customer how to repair a flat tire themselves. The owner saw me do it, and tore me a new one. I thought he was going to fire me. "Never show a customer how to do something we charge for!" still rings in my ears. But I dont feel that way. And besides, I make money on the Google Ads. So network us!

      Here are some more 40509.5 tips: Not all courts deal with them the same ways. Some court clerks will make up things just to prevent you from having the court date that you are entitled to. Pasadena obviously does it correctly. Solano county - the worst.

      What another Google Adsense supported tip: If you go to an in person arraignment, you can set a trial without posting bail. And if it is an old case in LA, the police officer is probably long gone. They dont stay there very long. Being an LA Police Officer is a seriously difficult, draining job. So if you set a trial on an old case, you may get lucky and end up winning a trial, even after a failure to appear and drivers license suspension.

      The officer must show up to prove he made a legal stop. The citation is hearsay, not admissible, if the police officer is not there to verify the signature, etc. And you have a right to cross examine the officer (witness against you). The citation is an out of court statement - hearsay.combomb.

      I have won many failure to appear 40508a/40509.5 cases this way.

      Here's another free legal self help tip:

      In Alhambra, there used to be a judge that would dismiss an old case if you just got it back on calendar, told the judge you were there to take care of it right, and then asked for a dismissal in the interests of justice (Penal Code section 1385). The reason he did it was efficiency (I think). Get rid of old cases without wasting court time. Actually, now that I think about, that judge is gone. Actually, there never was such as Judge. And he definitely was not in Alhambra. Maybe it was Antioch.

      Because of this, I think it is a good idea to always have a PC 1385 Motion ready when you go to court on an old case. You can do it orally at any time you are in court, or with a written form, like the Self Help Form for Penal Code 1385 Motion I sell for $22 (I think).

  61. Enrique Alvarez says:

    Hi Chris,
    I got a fix it ticket back in september 2010 for expired registration, CHP gave me to 12/16/10 to take care of it. I totally forgot about the ticket. I just got a notice in the mail about a failure to appear and the court has placed a hold on my driver’s license with the DMV. If i pay my bail amount online, do i still have to go to the court to pick up a form to take to the DMV? Or should i make an court date to pay the fine and then go to the dmv? Please help, i am confused in this matter. I have 7 days out of 10 left from the action date.

  62. Harry says:

    I got a fixit ticket in Oakland CA for a broken tail light and not having proper registration. I missed my court date and the mail was being sent to an old address (which I told the post office to forward.) and I did not recieve court’s notifications.

    Anyyywayyy. I have since fixed my tail lights, gotten my registration in order and managed to get some of my mail. Now I find out that my fine is at 908 dollars. Is it still possible to get this fine reduced if I show proof of the corrections?

    • Harry,

      This is a common question. And I have been working on this blog for 8 years now. My god. 8 Years of these questions! Can you imagine? Don’t worry though. Its not a big deal. I’m making money on the ads, so its cool.

      Ok, what was the problem?

      1) You moved, did not receive court notices: This is not a defense to anything. The deadline to take care of the citation is listed on the bottom of the citation by your signature. The court is not required to send you anything, until its too late to do anything.

      2) Fix it Fixed?: Technically, you only have until the date on your citation, by your signature, to correct a correctable problem. Then, you need an officer’s signature to have real proof of correction. Your registration will not work. You need an officer’s signature.

      3) Stop Ignoring the Drivers License Suspension: Your drivers license is probably suspended due to this problem. You think it is a fix it ticket problem, but its really a failure to appear / suspended drivers license problem.

      Recommendation: try to get a walk in court appearance and beg the judge to accept your Evidence of correction (assuming you do not have an officer’s signature). Go at or before 8 am. Ask for a walk in Arraignment. Bring current registration with you.

      Go to DMV when you are done in person to get your license reinstated. Do not leave without paperwork. Get proof you were there. Do not drive at all until you verify with DMV that your drivers license is valid.

      That is my best free advice while watching Sports Center.

  63. Dave Curtis says:

    Mr Dort,

    Hello I am trying to get my life back in order and have a problem. I had my license suspended a couple of years ago in San Jose Ca. I now live in Orange County Ca. I have checked the San Jose court websites and have found nothing on there sites about my ticket. I REALLY NEED HELP I HAVE TO GET MY LICENSE BACK ASAP!! I got another ticket in Long Beach trying to finish some community service while my drivers license was already suspended. I need direction on how to get this fixed please help if possible. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks again,

    Dave Curtis

    • If you are trying to get information on an old traffic ticket causing a suspension of your California drivers license you should:

      1) call or visit the DMV to get a list of the holds on your drivers with the case #s, and COURTHOUSE LOCATIONS. Do not settle for the “Court Codes”, because those will provide zero information to you. (DMV refuses to understand that);
      2) go to each courthouse in person at 8 am and find out what your options are.

      If you are far away, you have 2 main options: 1) hire an attorney to go to court for you and resolve the case(s); or 2) call the court and see if you can just pay to terminate the cases, then pay what they want.

      Most drivers license holds are the result of a failure to appear in court. Once you appear, problem solved.

      But: The DMV cannot tell you about criminal cases with warrants that are not causing a drivers license suspension.

      Once all drivers license holds are released, you must go to DMV in person to get a drivers license reinstated.

  64. lola says:

    hi, i got a ticket for my left brake light not working fixed it right away. did not know about a chp signing off. so i sent recipt and processing fee. got it returned but now deadline missed. now i owe 830. what can i do. i did not kill my brake light on purpose.

    • Lola,

      This, unfortunately, is a common problem. Dont take this personally, but the problem is not that you did not know about having an officer sign off on your prof of correction. The problem is really that you did not read the citation that you signed.

      Anyway, the best way to handle this problem is to go in person to the courthouse at 8 am and ask for a walk in court appearance. Once you get into court, you can ask the judge to accept your proof of correction, even though it is late.

      There is no way to get anything done on a case like this by mail or phone unless you are just going to pay.

      Make sure DMV has your current address. Call DMV today to determine if your drivers license has been suspended as a result of this case.

      If it has been suspended, you will need to visit DMV in person after going to court or after paying the fine in full.

      I wish you luck.

      For everyone else out there – READY YOUR CITATION!

    • Lola,

      This, unfortunately, is a common problem. Dont take this personally, but the problem is not that you did not know about having an officer sign off on your prof of correction. The problem is really that you did not read the citation that you signed.

      Anyway, the best way to handle this problem is to go in person to the courthouse at 8 am and ask for a walk in court appearance. Once you get into court, you can ask the judge to accept your proof of correction, even though it is late.

      There is no way to get anything done on a case like this by mail or phone unless you are just going to pay.

      Make sure DMV has your current address. Call DMV today to determine if your drivers license has been suspended as a result of this case.

      If it has been suspended, you will need to visit DMV in person after going to court or after paying the fine in full.

      I wish you luck.

      For everyone else out there – READ YOUR CITATION!

  65. David says:

    I currently have 4 FTA 4059.5 holds on my driver’s license, and since I just found out I’m going to be a father I need to handle these ASAP.

    I’ve been reading through your blog and talking with a couple of attorneys, but my biggest problem is I don’t know if I can come up with the money needed to pay an attorney to handle this for me by the time I’m supposed to take my pregnant fiance out of state, which I obviously need a valid license for.

    I’m almost inclined to make the court appearance myself to get the holds released, but here’s my problem — the 4 holds are related to FTAs at 3 different courthouses – Beverly Hills, Chatsworth, and Van Nuys west. Will I need to appear at each courthouse or can I make one appearance to handle all of them?

    • David,

      Traffic Citations in CA are assigned to the nearest County Superior Court Courthouse. If you have failure to appear cases in many courthouses, yes, you have to go to all of them. There is no practical way to get a courthouse changed.

      But I will tell you this – my own record in the Los Angeles area is court appearances in 7 courthouses, 3 counties in 1 DAY! and I DROVE HOME TO SAN DIEGO AFTERWARDS! and I LEFT AT 4:15 am form San Diego! NO SHIT! I DID IT.

      So stop complaining and take care of business. Wimp.

      If you break my record, let me know and I will send you a free tee shirt. (The one I actually wore that day).

  66. Daniel Altergott says:

    I owe san jose 511$ for a speeding ticket from 2008 im willing to pay it but i cant at the moment they have suspended my license and i need it I have a possible job coming up but i have to be able to drive to get there. Is there anything i can do to get them to take the hold off besides paying it in full?

  67. doja says:

    mr. dort
    i had a seat belt violation in mid 2009 but i never received a notice but i never had a license and i wasnt driving..what is gonna happen when i go to court??

  68. Allie says:

    Hi Christopher,

    I received a fix-it citation for my right front headlight. I stated to the officer that I was not aware it was out – especially since I was pulled over at 11AM in the sunlight which is noted on the citation. Later that evening, I checked the headlights and THEY BOTH WORKED! I figured, rather than fight it, I would just have the ticket signed off on and pay the $25 fee. Unfortunately, I put it off and completely forgot about it. I received a notice in the mail stating that I must pay $800 or my license will be suspended. Shortly thereafter, the DMV sent me a notice stating that my license will be suspended in 2 weeks due to a hold. I do not have the $800 to pay before my license is suspended – but the collection agency offers no alternatives. Do you have any recommendations for my particular situation? It was bad enough that I received a ticket for something that wasn’t broken…but now have to come up with $800 to continue driving!

    I appreciate your advice and this blog! Very helpful! Thank you!

  69. Sam Ali says:

    I accidently missed a traffic court date at San Francisco Superior court house by misreading the dates. I was supposed to arrive Nov 1, but I misread the dates as the 10th and was still anticipating showing up a the courthouse this Wednesday until I got a letter saying that 300.00 assessment fee had been added to my original ticket and that I now have no option of traffic school and they are giving me until Nov 18 to solve this dilemma.

    Because of this human error I now have to pay at least 800.00 worth of money to the court house which I can’t afford. I’m starting to suspect I might be dyslexic or have some type of disorder that prevented me from accurately logging my court date in my calander. Nonetheless times are hard I’ma full time student,work only 16 hrs weekly, and I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do.

    As you can see I’m desperate to add logic into my mishap and somehow reduce my fines or reschedule my court date.

    Any one with experience in this matter feel free to comment

    Are there any options such as partial payments? rescheduling of court dates, perhaps doctors note which I should have gotten a while ago, yet its only becoming apparent to me now that I have a ‘learning disorder.’

  70. Erin says:

    I got a traffic Ticket in August 2010 and missed the court date. I looked up the citation on the LA Superior Court Website and the total due is now 856. The website gave me the option of setting arraignment for December, which I did. Does that mean that my license is suspended until December? Also, what happens at the arraignment?

    • If you set the date on line in Los Angeles, your drivers license suspension will not disappear automatically. You have to go there in person, wait in line, and ask them to release the VC40509.5 hold. Once released, you need to personally go to DMV (wait in line again) and ask DMV to reinstate your drivers license.

      Call the DMV right now to verify that your drivers is suspended (or not, maybe I am wrong ????).

  71. Justin says:

    Mr. Dort,

    In December, 09 received a fixit ticket for expired registration on a vehicle I had purchased in September. The dealer had told me he would take care of the registration, transfer, etc. When I got the ticket, I called the dealer. He took the ticket and promised to send in the fixit ticket and the processing fee. Eventually, I received the registration on the vehicle, dated September, but forgot to check that the dealer had taken care of the registration fixit ticket.

    A few days ago, while attempting to procure a new insurance policy, I was informed that my license was suspended on an FTA on the registration violation that the dealer never handled.

    I went to LASC yesterday, and was told they can not schedule an arraignment until March 8, 2011, some 6 months from now. Furthermore, the clerk told me she could not issue a DMV abstract because I have two other outstanding infractions with the court, both with FTAs. The first is a bicycle fixit ticket for no headlight, scheduled for March 9,2011. The other violation, a failure to stop at a stop sign, was from 2005. I had apparently paid the full fine amount in 2005, but mailed it after the due date, so the court issued an FTA for that, as well. Because the violation was so old, they could schedule a walk-in appearance for that violation only.

    Today, I appeared on the 2005 violation and FTA. I was nearly the last person before the Judge Rubin, so I asked what I could do to have my license suspension lifted before the arraignment hearing in 6 months. He allowed me to briefly explain the circumstances for the license suspension and ask how to proceed. After conferring with the calendar clerk, he told me that I should be able to get a DMV abstract now that the 2005 case was closed.

    I thanked him for his time and proceeded to the cashier. There, I was notified I only owed $18, more than the fine I had paid in 2005. I asked for an abstract on the registration case and was told the cashier could not issue one. I informed the cashier that the judge had just told me they would issue one. She got up from her seat and left the room. Shortly, the cashier and the courtroom calendar clerk, returned. The calendar clerk informed me that the court could not issue an abstract. She did; however, tell me to get a letter from my employer, stating that the company will suffer if I am not able to drive and present that to the clerks downstairs and they will provide me with a DMV abstract.

    I am self-employed. It is a fact the my company will suffer greatly if I am unable to drive for 6 months. I can’t find any documentation on this exemption on the internet. Obviously, I have written the letter on my company letterhead and plan to present it tomorrow? What pertinent facts do I need to include? Is there any other proof required to prove I am self-employed? Other than the letter, business cards, and a Federal Identification Number, is there any other evidence of my employment and the financial hardships my business will incur that are necessary to compel the clerk to issue a DMV abstract on my registration case?

    • Justin,

      Well, your question suffers from terminal vagueness.

      Courts do not issue “abstracts” any more. Abstracts for releasing Vehicle Code 40509.5 holds were actual pieces of paper that you had to take to DMV to get a VC 40509.5 hold cleared. Now, it happens electronically – and there is no such thing as a paper “Abstract”.

      So here is the problem with your question – I cannot tell if the court was just screwing with you to say “We do not issue [paper] abstracts and you canot have one”, or if the clerk was refusing to release the Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold electronically – even though the judge ordered it.

      Here is my advice:

      Call the DMV now to verify the status of your drivers license. If there are 40509.5 holds remaining, get the case #(s).

      If that was a case the judge ordered the 40509.5 hold released on, get the transcript for that hearing (this is what an attorney would do) and show it to the court clerk. IF that does not work, take the transcription back into the judge and tell him/her that the court clerk is refusing to execute the order.

      If that does not work – the best approach is to pay of the citation that is still causing a Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold.

      And stop talking about abstracts. Talk about releasing VC40509.5 holds. It’s a way more precise way of discussing the problem.

  72. Yaster says:

    Im paying my 2 fines (40509 A Holds)that I owe the L.A.S.C through GC services to close the cases and have my license re-isssued. I lost my wallet 2 days ago and have no ID whatsover. Can I go to DMV and apply for an Identification card or will they deny it since my license is still suspended? Thanks

    • Yaster, you can get a DMV Identification Card even if your drivers license is suspended. An Identification card from DMV will not allow you to drive, but it is real, government issued Identification. A drivers license technically is not real Identification. People think it is because they have gotten sloppy and dont stop to think what the words “Drivers License” mean. So yes, go get a DMV Identification Card. They will not deny it to you because your drivers license is suspended. You can get a passport too. Handwritten Fishing Licenses are not valid ID unless you are buying a firearm (no kidding – they work for rifle purchases – crazy but true).

  73. Deric says:

    I have a problem with the clerks of the Superior Court of California in the city of Lancaster, Ca For a 4000(a)1 Registration Violation, even though the vehicle was registerd and fee’s were payed the court fined me $35 + pent = $209. since I was getting know where with traffic I figured I would let this go to warrent and handle it upstairs where the real gudges are, wrong choise it went to collections. So now I have a 40509.5 and a $509 fine and on top of that there is a hold on my License the clerk totally ignored the code that applies to me
    40509(e) and 40509.5(h) I take it the clerk does not like me she refuses to remove anything with a smile on here face. What can I do? And one other question? Who can and how do you use 1805vc
    Thanks for your time Deric

    • Deric, They only thing I can say about this is that if you missed a court date or failed to pay a court ordered fine intentionally because you thought it was a good idea, you should stop trying. You’re not using your brain. The clerk is laughing at you because you did something stupid.

  74. Ali says:

    Another question regarding Failure to Pay and the subsequent suspension of your license. Does this show up on a background check for employment such as livescan?

    • Ali, there is no such things as rules for a “background check” by a private company. The term “Background Check” is too vague, it has no meaning to me. What do they check? Drivers History Report? Criminal Convictions? Criminal Arrests? I cannot tell from the info you provided. And I cannot tell what your employer might be interested in. Do they even care about your driving history? Or do they just want to check to see if you lied n the application?

      But I can say this:

      A failure to appear conviction as a misdemeanor will create a criminal conviction record (Vehicle Code section 40508(a));
      But a failure to appear charged as an infraction will not create a criminal conviction.

      All traffic court failure to appear cases will appear on your driver history report. The fact that your drivers license will appear on your driver history report.

      Infractions generally do not show up on anything but a driver history report at DMV. Misdemeanors and felonies show up on criminal court record searches and are available to the public.

  75. In need of help says:

    I need help. I had a 40509.5 hold for FTA that i was not aware of. Then was arrested for it with a 100,000 bail. They cited me and gave me a court date in Pomona traffic court. I looked on GC Services for the ticket and saw it has a 828.00 price. Should I pay the ticket prior to my court date? Since I now have a court date can I go to the court to get the hold released so I can get my drivers license re instated? Will the judge in the Pomona court reduce my ticket or should I just pay in full prior to going to court? I really need your help.

    • In Need of Help –

      Sounds like you have 2 different cases – one in traffic court and one in felony criminal court. There are no $100,000 warrant cases in traffic court. And anything with a bail over $50,000 is almost certainly a felony charge. You probably have 2 court dates scheduled. You need to re read every single piece of paper you got when you were arrested. And I would recommend calling the criminal division court clerk (or better yet go there) to check to see what case # the $100,000 bail case had and see if it matches up with the traffic division case #.

      Anyway, talking about the matter that is in traffic court – the Veh Code 40509.5 hold – if that case is causing a suspension of your drivers license, you probably want to end it quick. Assuming this is an infraction case and that there are no misdemeanor charges, paying the fine in full end the case. You do not need to wait for the court date. Since there is a court date set, you might be able to get the court clerk to release the drivers license hold. You will have to go in to the courthouse in person and ask. Check with DMV before you go to make sure they did not do it when the court date was set.

      I have no idea if the judge is going to lower your fine. What started the case? What violation are you charged with? What is your defense? What are you going to say in court? Too many variables here.

      For an $800 problem, I would probably just recommend paying, because it is not worth the effort and delay in getting your drivers license to try to get something done on the case. Maybe it would be worth the effort if the court was in Tahoe, but LA????? No way. You might get killed on your way to court.

      If it turns out the $100,000 bail case is the VC 40509.5 case (which I seriously doubt) – a court appearance will be required and paying the $850 fine will not help. A warrant with a $100,000 is a sign of some really, really, bad trouble.

      Double and triple check everything. You probably have 2 separate cases. And the Traffic Division and the Criminal Division in Los Angeles are completely independent of each other. You may have to talk to both.

  76. Ali says:

    What is the distinction between a Failure to Appear and Failure to Pay a Fine?

    I contacted Santa Clara County Revenue requesting arrangements to pay in increments prior to my license being suspended. I had lost my job and could not pay the entire fine all at once. My license was still suspended. I was originally ticketed for an expired registration and seat belt violation. I made the hard choice of securing childcare instead of paying my tags on time.

    Initially, when I received the ticket I contacted the court regarding my financial situation and was given extra time to clear up the registration and pay the ticket, in the interim the car was repossessed. I co

    I am absolutely unable to pay the entire fine of over $1000 at this time. I am now unemployed. The original ticket amount tripled. Are there any programs for people who cannot afford fines, to eliminate or reduce them with some sort of community service?

    Everything is snowballing, not having a license excludes me from many prospective jobs, it is very demoralizing.

    The court clerks are absolutely NON-empathetic, when I asked what should I do since I can’t pay the entire fine, I was told by a clerk that she pays her bills and that what I should do. The fee structure literally criminalizes being poor or struggling.

    • Allyson,

      A failure to appear charge (Vehicle Code section 40508(a) is the misdemeanor crime of missing a court date after you have signed a promise to appear (citation).

      A failure to pay charge (Vehicle Code section 40508(b)) is the misdemeanor crime of failing to pay a fine after you have been convicted.

      Nowadays, on traffic tickets that are infractions (like a registration violation under Veh Code 4000), many courts will treat a failure to appear as a request for a Trial By Declaration (without your participation). If you do not participate in the Trial by declaration, you lose and get sentenced to a fine. The court then gives you a few minutes to pay the fine, and if you do not pay, the case turns into a Failure to Pay case instead of a failure to appear case.

      Now – this does not happen in misdemeanor cases such as a DUI – because they cannot have a trial without you in a misdemeanor case. But they can in an infraction case.

      Once a case gets to the failure to pay status – there is almost nothing you can do. You have already been convicted. The case is over. You have no right to a trial, no right to contest anything at that stage.

      But if it is a failure to appear case, getting into court is the way to correct the problem.

      You problem is a common problem. Your first mistake was not going into court. “Contacting” the court by phone if you cannot pay a fine is not the right thing to do. Calling the court is pointless. The correct thing to do when you can not pay a fine is go to court, ask for a court appearance (before the deadline) and then ask THE JUDGE for more time. Judges will almost always give a person more time to pay a fine. But you have to go in person and ask the judge, not the court clerk via telephone.

      Here is a tip [WARNING] for everyone else out there – If you blow off the date on the bottom of a citation by your signature and instead decide to try and call the court or write a letter to the court, you are gong to have a bad outcome.

  77. Tammy S says:

    This is for my Dad for we thought it was taken care of and now my Dad’s license is suspended. I think it’s been 4 years ago, my Dad received a ticket for expired tags on two different occasions. It was not his car and they said they would take care of the problem.They didn’t and now we owe close to 4 grand and want to know what we should do. The DMV told my Dad the statue of limitations has passed but the clerks at the court house says we still need to pay the bill. It doesn’t fair we have to pay for someone elses car tags.

    • Tammy,

      It is the Driver’s responsibility to make sure every car they driver is properly registered and insured. If your dad got a citation for driving with expired registration tags – that is what it is – a citation for DRIVING with expired tags. It is not illegal to own a car with expired tags. It is illegal to DRIVE a car with expired tags. So the bottom line is that it is your dad’s responsibility, not the car owner’s.

      Here is a tip for all other readers out there: Do not ever drive someone else’s car without verifying that it is properly registered and insured to cover you.

      As far as the statute of limitations goes, do not trust anything a DMV employee tells you about a court case. They are not Attorneys, they do not have law degrees, and most of them know very little about how the law works. Very few of them even have a college degree. People who work at DMV are not there because they are legal geniuses.

      There is no statute of limitations problem with any traffic citation that a police officer gives to a driver. This is because the statute of limitations is a deadline to file charges against a person, not a deadline to catch them. (Geez!, I am really, really sick of telling people this). Once a police office gives a driver a citation, also known as a promise to appear, and the driver signs it – charges have been filed and there is no statute of limitations problem even if the court case lasts 20 years.

      What the DMV employee (probably sitting in a cheap cubicle) was telling you (probably) was that the period during which DMV keeps a record of the citation has ended. But the DMV record keeping has no effect on the court case. They are two different things. The record of the citation can be completely gone from DMV records, but the court can still issue a warrant, charge you with a failure to appear crime (Vehicle Code section 40508(a)), and order that your drivers license be suspended (Vehicle Code section 40509.5).

      Old traffic citations never disappear from the court docket on their own – even if DMV removes them from a Driver History Report.

  78. Sam says:


    I have been pulled over 4 times in the past few months for tinted windows (and no license plate on the front) by CHP. Leave me alone already!

    The equipment corrections are relatively simple, however, for some insane reason which I cannot seem to explain, I let one of the cases go to a failure to appear. The second case is set for Sept 2nd – which I will send in the proof of correction.

    I now have a 40509.5 hold on the first case. Like an idiot, I paid the bail amount ($831) and called GC Services to inquire as to the release date. They gave me the same song and dance that I had to go downtown to the court and get an abstract and then present that to the DMV. I told them that I understood that it was all done electronically and that an abstract would do me no good. They argued with me about that until a supervisor came on and told me the abstract fee would also expedite the update of electronic records – same day.

    My questions are this:

    1. How do I expedite the release of the 40509.5 hold?

    2. Do I still need to go to DMV to have the license reissued?

    3. Since I have now had the equipment corrected – and I have proof evidencing same – can I seek to have the conviction overturned (or expunged) and my driving record restored?

    4. If 3 is a yes, can I seek recovery of the bail amount since the underlying violation was dismissed?


    • Sam,

      After paying a collection agency for a failure to appear case, you need to go to the courthouse in person and ask the court clerk to release the hold. There is no such thing as an abstract anymore. It happens automatically once the court clerk enters the end of the case. There is no abstract fee required by law, and almost no courts actually charge it any more. If a court charged you an abstract fee, when there is no such thing as an abstract any more, I would say its a scam. But then again . .. .

      You do have to go to DMV in person after a VC 40509.5 hold. They charge a reissuance fee.

      If you have proof of correction (which means an officer’s signature on your citation or courtesy notice – not pictures), you can ask for dismissal – but not expungement.

      They are not moving violations, so a DMV record does not matter here.

      You can not re open a case you pay a collection agency for. Once you pay GC Services, the case is over (expect for the part where the court releases the drivers license hold).

  79. Roger says:

    I got a Ticket for driving without my headlights on Feb 24, 2010…I applied and was approved for a 60 day extension but was unable to pay the ticket due to my unemployment. The original bail amount was $242. I just checked the status of it today and the amount is $869 and i have the 40509.5 Hold on my license…now is that really an acceptable amount to pay? I dont have that kind of money..what would you suggest I do?

  80. Lisa Ward says:

    Hi, thanks for this informative site. Like countless others, I have a Failure To Appear suspension. I have paid the total due through G C Services. On this site, you have said that the collection agency notifies Department of Motor Vehicles that you have paid, that you then go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and pay the re-issuance fee. When I spoke to the idiots, I mean professionals at G C, they said that I had to go to the courthouse and buy a $10.00 abstract. Which is correct? I’d rather only stand in one line if necessary. Thanks.

    • Lisa,

      First of all – THE PEOPLE AT GC SERVICES ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS!!!!!!! The term “Professional” refers to a person who has earned a level of knowlege and expertise that allows them to apply for and receive a license to practice a certain skill. The people who work at GC services do not have licenses to do anything!!! (except maybe drive – they might have that). OMG. They work in little shared cubicles with headsets, just like the people who call you when your cable bill is overdue. Actually, they are the same people. Hold on, I have to barf.

      OK – I feel better. But my dog needs a bath now.

      Anyway what they told you is straight up wrong. The $10 fee used to be what the court would charge you to give you a piece of paper to take to DMV called an “abstract” to prove that the hold has been removed by the court. But those days are long over. way over in every court I’ve been to in the last 2 years. Now it is all done electronically.

      Here is my best advice: call the DMV driver safety office near you and see if the Vehicle code section 40509.5 hold is still there. If so, you need to go to the courthouse in person and show the court clerk your proof that you paid and ask him or her (through the bullet proof glass) to release the hold (electronically). Then go to DMV.

      If you do not have proof you paid, you are screwed and you just have to wait – call DMV every day to check on it (This is why it is a TERRIBLE IDEA TO PAY GC SERVICES RATHER THAN DEAL WITH THE COURT DIRECTLY)

      And to the rest of you readers – if anyone ever calls the people at GC Services “Professionals” again, I am going to take your comment, drop it into photoshop, flip it over and upside down, and then put it back in the blog so that it looks like you are really screwed up!

  81. Cristian B says:

    I got an expired registration ticket on Nov 4, 2009 in Santa Monica. The ticket was due on the 8th of January (it was a fix it ticket)but was then extended till the 28th. On the 6th of January I stopped at my local CHP office (about 160 miles from Los Angeles) to show proof of correction which at that time the officer made me a copy of my ticket showing his signature, badge number and office stamp. He also told me to send to the L.A. Superior Court a check for $25 for fees, so I went to the post office and sent the original ticket and the check for $25 fee. I thought nothing of it as I was going through other issues with my employer and kept me pretty busy dealing with these issues… Well this Saturday I come to find out that I have a Failure to appear and my licence is suspended! Apparently the ticket was lost and so was my check. Now my ticket went to collection company (GC Collections) and they are asking $990.00 (39.6 times the cost of the original ticket!) and I cannot get a court date to show the judge my copy of the ticket and the copy of the check I sent.

    I was referred to the infamous GC collection which told me the only way to get my licence back was to pay the incredible exuberant amount of money requested. I requested an appearance date from GC since the court of los angeles doesn’t want to deal with me and referred the case to the agency and the guy from GC told me it would be at least 6-7 months before my date in front of the judge and that it would be easier to pay the fees than to get the appearance date. I contacted everybody, lawyers, DMV (which she was shocked to hear what had happened and she saw the correction date), I sent an email to the L.A. Court (there’s no number to call and speak with a real person about the matter), I even contacted my State Represantives and they said they might contact GC on my behalf but in the meantime I cannot drive and support my family! Any suggestions? Did this happen to anybody else? I understand that the voltures at GC want the money but why can’t I walk in the court myself? Why can’t I schedule an appearance by walking in?

    • Cristian,

      Ignore the people at GC Services, go to the courthouse yourself, ask the court clerk for a court date and then go in and try to convince the judge to accept your proof of correction. The people at GC Services have lied to you. I know this, because I have done hundred of these exact cases in the same court(s) and it works just fine. Do not deal with GC Services, do not trust them. Deal witht eh court directly. If you cannot go to court yourself tomorrow, hire our local attorney Mark Gallagher to do it for you: attorneygallagher@gmail.

      Do not delay, your drivers license is probably suspended.

      For the rest of you, never ever send anything to the court without getting proof it was delivered and the date of delivery. The best way to do that is to send it from the US Post Office with proof of delivery requested.

      I hate GC Services. I’m going to put you on the list of potential plaintiffs for the lawsuit we are preparing against them for fraud and civil rights violations. I’ll contact you when we are ready. Anyone else interested in participating can email me at suegcservices@dortlaw.com. No Kidding, that is the email address. Actually phuckgcservices@dortlaw.com will work also.

  82. Arpitkumar Shah says:

    Hi There,

    I have this hold (license suspended) may be for year now but I just came to know about this today. I live in Bay area and citation was for LA Court. When I go online it says my case is referred to GC servics. I called GC services and did not get any relevant answer. DO I have any option without paying a amount?

    • Arpitkumar,

      No, there is no free way to solve a traffic citation problem with a failure to appear and drivers license suspension. (We call them VC 40508(a) w/ VC 40509.5 cases). You can go to court (or hire an attorney to go for you and ask the court to release the drivers license hold before you have to pay a fine, but it is not easy to do if you do not know what you are doing. In LA, depending on courthouse, we usually charge between $300-$500 to make the court appearance(s) for you.

      Some LA courthouses are horrible, some are easy.

      If you did not know your drivers license was suspended, it was because you were in denial and just ignored the problem. It may also be because your address in not current with the court where you case is pending and DMV.

      To get details on the correct way to solve the problem, contact our local attorney sponsor in LA Courthouses, Mark Gallagher Email: attorneygallagher[at]gmail.com or http://www.losangelescountywarrants.com. He is very good with these cases and can probably have it solved within a couple of days.

      If you are smart, you will not drive at all until the problem is solved correctly (not even to the DMV).

  83. khayree echols says:

    hey im in a very bad spot right now. i used to live in los angeles ca and moved to IL he end of 08. recently i am trying to get a cdl in il to drive a school bus i send ca dmv my form w/ mone order to get my driving record sent just to find out my ca DL was suspended for a failure to appear that i had no clue about that was said to have happened in 08 being that im in il is here anyway i can have them remove the hold over the phone or is in person the only way

    • khayree,

      If you have a drivers license suspension due to a failure to appear on a Los Angeles County traffic citation (Vehicle Code 40508(a); Veh. Code 40509.5 holds), you have 2 options: 1) pay the collection agency in full and wait until they get around to releasing the drivers license hold; or 2) make a court date and appear in court and take care of the case through the court.

      Dealing with the court directly is the best option. They may release the drivers license hold on the same day you set a court date. And you can go to court to present proof of correction if you have it.

      An attorney can go to court for you on this case. In LA, I have had many cases where I got the driver license hold released the same day I got hired or the next day. It can happen fast if you hire an attorney, but it is not free.

      One more advantage to dealing with the case in court is that you may be able to get the failure to appear charge dismissed, and may be able to avoid one or more points on your driving record with skilled help.

      If your livelihood depends on a drivers license that is now suspended in LA, hire Attorney Mark Gallagher http://www.losangelescountywarrants.com to handle the case. He has been getting great results there.

      There is a way to solve the case over the phone: Pay the collection agency by credit card. But that is not the best option. They are over charging you, take forever to release the hold, and you are admitting guilt to everything, including the failure to appear.

      California Driver License Suspensions are honored by other states.

      Once you get the drivers license hold released, you probably have to contact the DMV to pay a reissuance fee. I recommend people do that in person. It is the best option.

  84. John says:

    Hello Christopher Dort.
    I have a question. Is there any way i can get some kind of temporary licence for just for work and school? My uncle was telling me something about that and wanted to ask you if you know anything about that.

    • John,

      Is this what you are really asking?:

      “If I have a Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold causing a suspension of my drivers license, is there a way I can get a restricted drivers license for work?”

      The answer is no. There is no way that I know of to get a restricted drivers license when there is a Veh Code 40509.5 hold. You have to take care of the case(s) somehow.

      The best option is usually going to the courthouse and telling the court clerk you want an in person arraignment to get a court date. If they give you an arraignment on a different day, ask the court clerk to release the Veh. Code 40509.5 hold. In the courts that actually follow the law, as soon as you appear for an arraignment, they have to release the hold – even if they have to set one for a date far away. The reason is that you have not been convicted of anything and because you are there, ready to go. You have the right to an arraignment and a trial if you want one.

      An example of a county where the court follows the law and releases the 40509.5 hold after setting of a court date are Los Angeles and Contra Costa. But in LA you have to ask for it specifically or they will not do it for you. Examples of counties that (in my opinion) violate the law by illegally denying a defendant an in person arraignment are: Solano, Solano, and Fresno, Solano,

      Some counties use the VC40509.5 hold as a way to force (inflated) payments to a private collection agency without giving you your right to a trial. In effect, a denial of Due Process of Law and an illegal government taking in Violation of the 14th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution.

      It boils down to this – some counties use the VC40509.5 holds to strangle the most money out of people. Other Counties realize it is in the community’s best interest to keep people driving legally when they make a good faith effort to go to court. People cant work if they can drive, and they sure can pay fines if they cant work.

      At least that is the best argument if some one out there really wants to appeal the issues. The constitutional issues are sufficient to get you into Federal Court – but that is a lot of work. Suing the Superior Court in the Federal Court? You’ll need a lot of paper.

  85. John says:

    I have multiple citations which i have more then one Failure to Appear and Failure to Pay over the last 3 years. I was a stupid kid back then and didn’t take care of it like i was suppose to. And over the last 3 years penalties keep adding up and i have no way to pay the amount.
    All of the citations went to GC services.I don’t know what to do,should i just go to court and try to work something out with the judge? I am unemployed at the moment and its been really hard to get around to really look. I just want to thank you in advance for your time to read and answer my question the best way you can.

    • John,

      On the failure to PAY cases, there is almost nothing you can do, because if the case is over and you have been sentenced, the court is not going to reopen the case. But a “Failure to appear” is different. On those cases, I would recommend going to court at 8 am and asking the court clerk for a walkin court appearance to see if you can get something done. If you can get into court, you have a good chance of getting more time to pay or you may be able to schedule a trial and win??????

      If I were doing the work, I would ask the judge to use his/her authority under penal code section 1385 to “suspend” a portion of the fines because it would be “in the interests of justice to do so”.

      If this is a CA problem, I can write a PC 1385 motion for you to take to court with you for $49. Send me an email to cdot@dortlaw.com if you want me to write the motion for you. You can make the motion verbally if you want.

      But the more important part of the problem is the related drivers license suspension that comes with these cases. Make sure you ask the judge to release the drivers license holds, and once they are released, go to DMV in person.

      You should call DMV now to: 1) verify the status of your drivers license (probably suspended); and 2) verify your address is correct with DMV.

  86. Ariana says:

    I was pulled over 3 years ago in the parking structure at Cal State University Long Beach for not having registration and insurance. I thought I had received a fix it ticket of a sort. I thought I had taken care of it by getting insurance and registration. Three years later, I just received a notice from GC Services for failure to appear in court. I have contacted the DMV, and they do not show anything in their system about this.
    GC Services has informed me that they have sent the DMV information on this and that my license will be suspended shortly. I have set a court date. The court date is not until April of 2011. In the meantime, I have to wait? for the DMV to notify me that my license has been suspended? I will continue to call the DMV to find out; so that I can go to the court and get an “abstract” to lift the suspension until my court date. Is there a better way to go about this so that I don’t have to wait for my license to be suspended? I would like to take care of this BEFORE my license is suspended! I was informed by GC Services that I would have to pay the full amount of $1528.00. I am unable to pay that right now, as I was recently layed off.

    • Ariana,

      If you thought that you “had taken care of it by getting insurance and registration”, then you failed to read your citation – especially the part on the bottom by your signature that stated you must appear in court. YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT READING IT PEOPLE!

      But there is good news, if you can get into court and show proof of correction, you may be able to get the judge to accept it, even though it is technically too late.

      In your situation (assuming this is in the Los Angeles Superior Court), the court clerk could have released the drivers license hold part of the problem when you set the court date – but they are assholes and if you did not ask them to release that hold specifically, (Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold), they probably did not do it – and your drivers license is going to be suspended.

      This is why it is better to have an attorney’s help in these cases. An Attorney can get your case on the court’s calendar right away, and can probably get that drivers license hold released quickly by going back to the court clerks office. I would recommend that you hire our local LA sponsor attorney, Mark Gallagher to take care of the case correctly, so that you do not have to spend months riding the bus. He is very good at these cases, and it is worth the money in a case like yours, because if he can get the court to accept your proof of correction and save your license, it will save you about $1200. He can be reached at:

      (800) 797-8406
      attorneygallagher @gmail.com

  87. lee says:

    Please help me, I am making many mistakes. I have failure to appear on three different LA county citations; am I screwed and just pay them?

    I have old citations for a not wearing a seat belt and exp tags in ’05, an illegal u-turn, and not having my ins card when someone crashed into and totalled my car in ’08.

    All three citations have gone to collections and I cannot afford over $2500 worth of fines, fees, and penalties to get the holds on my CDL released.

    Can I try to walk-in court and get the amount reduced? What should I do?

    • Lee, if you have multiple failure to appear cases and you have not been able to resolve them correctly yourself – I recommend that you hire an Attorney to do the work for you. I would say contact our local LA sponsor attorney Mark Gallagher at:

      (800) 797-8406
      attorneygallagher @gmail.com
      http://www.socaldefenselawyer .com

      If you had only 1 case, I would say go to the courthouse and ask the court clerk for a walk in appearance. But if you have 3 that are years old, you’re not going to be able to get a good result on your own. Hire a professional.

      If your toilet had been leaking for 5 years and destroyed your floor joists and caused toxic mold to grow in your house, would you try to fix it yourself?

  88. Gianna says:

    I hope you can give me some advice in regards to my situation. Back in 2005 I was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt in Sacramento county. Well actually is was the passenger who wasn’t wearing one, but since I was the driver I took the resbonsibility for it. Plus, I was cited for ” no proof of insurance.” I did have insurance when I was pulled over, I just didn’t have the paper work in the car. Shortly after I lost my job and I didn’t have a steady place to live. I returned home to the bay area and was able to stay with different friends until I was able to get a steady job and get back on my feet. Unfortunately, during this time I had missed my court date and apparently the Sacramento county court added a failure to appear to the pile. I wasn’t even aware of it until July of 2009.

    So this is where the part of my situation gets a little strange, at least to me….how I found out about the failure to appear was when I recieved a
    renewal in the mail for my DL from DMV. Attached to my renewal was a notice advising me that I must clear the outstanding citation before I can renew my DL. I find this weird…. Reason I find this weird is beacuse in the past 4 years, I have renewed my DL registered multiple vehicles, and I have even appeared in sacrameto county traffic court for a red light violation and this is the first time in 4 years this citation is even mentioned???

    So I called into the county clerk and was advised that I could NOT appear in court because my bail/fine has gone into collections. So I called GC and was told I had to pay in full in the amount of $1600. I was unable to pay in full at the time and decided that I shouldn’t have to pay so much due to the fact that I actually DID have insurance.
    Since I failed to pay, my DL expired on my birthday of 2004. I haven’t been driving since then. Don’t want to risk it.

    I would like to have my day in court so I may prove that I in fact had insurance at the time I was cited back in 2005 so that my bail/fine can be reduced and hopefully the infraction will be dropped.

    How can I make this happen? Is it possible? Do you have any suggestions as to how I can handle this? Any advice would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Is there any way I can request a day in court? What are your suggestions about my situation?

    • Gianna, your situation is not weird. You have a violation that was originally correctable, a missed court date, and the court says you have to deal with a Collection Agency. The court claims that because you are late in responding to the citation that you have been found guilty by default. In order to ask the judge to accept your proof of correction (proof of insurance) late, you need to get into court. But even if you do get in to court, the judge can refuse to accept your proof of correction. So getting a court date is not a guarantee of a good result.

      To get a court date you have to request one. The best way to request a court date is go to the court at 800 am on a week day morning and ask for a walk in appearance. If the court clerk refuses your request, then you have to request the court date in writing.

      I wrote the Legal Form for Demand Entry of Not Guilty Plea and Demand for Trial Form for this purpose. You can by my ready to file in court form for $10. The form has worked for many people. It comes with EX instructions. If the form is denied, then it gives you legitimate issues for appeal if you want to keep fighting.

    • Gianna, your situation is not weird. You have a violation that was originally correctable (Vehicle Code section 14068 in CA), a missed court date, and the court says you have to deal with a Collection Agency (GC Services or Alliance One). The court claims that because you are late in responding to the citation that you have been found guilty by default. Because you did not pay their default judgment on time, the court has asked the DMV to suspend your drivers license under Vehicle Code section 40509.5. The fact that this problem just showed up after 4 years does not matter at all. You need to take care of it.

      In order to ask the judge to accept your proof of correction (proof of insurance) late, you need to get into court. But even if you do get in to court, the judge can refuse to accept your proof of correction. So getting a court date is not a guarantee of a good result.

      To get a court date you have to request one. The best way to request a court date is go to the court at 8:00 am on a week day morning and ask for a walk in appearance. If the court clerk refuses your request, then you have to request the court date in writing.

      I wrote the Legal Form for Demand Entry of Not Guilty Plea and Demand for Trial Form for this purpose. You can buy my ready to file in court form for $10, and filling your info. The form has worked for many people in several CA counties. I cannot tell what county you are in. It comes with EZ instructions. If the form is denied, then it gives you legitimate issues for appeal if you want to keep fighting. If you get the court date, you can ask the judge to accept your proof of correction (proof of insurance for the date of the citation) and dismiss that violation. Then you also have to ask the judge to remove the VC 40509.5 holds related to the case.

      Keep in mind that even if you do get the court date, and take a doy off work to go in and go through all of the stress and frustration, you may get there and find the judge says “NO, you are too late”.

      The real secret in these cases is getting the drivers license hold released prior to paying the fine. Get to court and ask the court clerk to release the drivers license hold because you are there ready to go to court.

  89. Breelyn says:

    I have a 40509.5 hold charge. I have a fix-it ticket. I never went to court, but I had the ticket signed by CHP a week later. I lost the ticket when moving 150 miles away. I just wanted to know if I can get my license back and get the fee reduced can this happen? And how will I be able to find out if I have a warrant online?

  90. KIKI says:

    This was the perfect site I was looking for. My dilemma is that I now have 3 FTA. I was young and dumb and was unaware that I had to Show proof that I fix the issues. My first ticket was in 05 and I asked the officer what do I do with this and he said “Oh just fix your rear light bulb and you’ll be fine”. Ok no prob, fixed it, done. Second and third ticket was for registration, well fixed it, done. Then I was conversing with friends and it came out that I needed to show the court that I fixed the problems. Uh-oh!!! Went to the DMV and was notified of the 3 FTA. I did not receive any notice, I was moving quite abit in between those tickets. Also had mail issues around the time of the first ticket, our mail would end up around the corner (stayed on 109th STREET and our mail would be on 109th PLACE) Now I am terrified that if I go to the courts their going to arrest me. Please someone give me an insight on what I need to do so that I dont go to jail. Thanks for any help.

  91. Richie says:

    Thanks In advance for this great help.

    I got a ticket for speeding in may 2008 and don’t recall getting anything in the mail as i have moved a number of times since then. A sheriff told me last week that my license was suspended and i have outstanding FTA’s and that there was a $10,000 warrant for my arrest. Needless to say my jaw dropped. I wasn’t driving when he told me. I was walking to my car and he was out there already by my car. So i checked out my case online and it is now with GC services and they told me i had to pay $995 but didn’t say anything about a warrant. Is there anything i can do? I don’t mind paying that much if that’s what i have to do but i don’t want some warrant out for my arrest.

  92. Mandy says:

    To make a long story short, I tried to do a trial by mail with Vista, CA court. Didn’t work out. The court never made a decision and my case was never heard. I did not plead guilty. Two months later my case was sent over to Alliance One. I have been back and forth with them. They told me a lot of stuff that ended up being not true. I found your website and I tried going to the court. They would not assist. That document you wrote out to ask for a new trial, I took down and the clerk refused. I ended up sending it registered mail. I know they have it now, because I tracked it. I am confused of my next steps. Should I go back down to the court? Or should I wait to hear something back in the mail. I included a SASE.

    • Mandy, if you have proof that you filed a request for a Trial (and entry of not guilty plea), the next step is to wait 45 days. After 45 days, you can: 1) file a motion to dismiss due to denial of right to a speedy trial (this is what I would do); and/or 2) File a notice of appeal and start to appeal on the ground that they are denying you due process of law (a trial). They will probably respond within 45 days somehow. In many instances that form has worked to get people a trial date. So wait 45 days, then decide if it is worth fighting further. If it is, get ready to APPEAL! Appeal! Appeal!.

  93. JEREMY SWAIM says:

    i have a fta plus so i paid for an abstract. and the dates just slipped my mind. i was my tickets were sent back to gc sevices two days prir to show up to court. how can i get the holds off without paying gc services? please anything said could be useful. thank you.

    JEREMY from av courts.

    • Jeremy, in Los Angeles County, once you fail to appear in court for 2 court dates, and get 2 drivers license suspensions, you are screwed. They are not going to give you another chance. My recommendation: just pay as soon as you can, and do not drive until you confirm with DMV that your drivers license is valid.

  94. Jose says:

    Mr. Dort:

    I just recently renewed my licence (online) and was issued a new one; I have a 40509.5 Hold according to the Court Website.

    Does this mean I in fact, have a suspended license? (If, so why would DMV let me re-new and not say anything?)

    It was a three part case. The officer wanted to impound my father’s vehicle but my father arrived just in time to correct the officer and the officer re-veried and said I could go. All of this was after I had signed the violation. I could have sworn he tore it as he sped off and told to me “just go.”

    I never received a notice to appear in court. Just one that stated I missed court and would be sent to collection.

    I went to court. Resulted in dismissal of the tail light,and proof of registration, as we no longer had the vehicle. I showed proof I did have insurance but it was received as valid because the bill statement showed it was from a month after the incident, even though I told them it was a year long policy and that they could verify it by calling the insurance.

    Judge told me to come back with proof on another date and will get it removed and did not want to deal with failure to appear in court until then. I guess he gave a court date and just a deadline to show proof. I was unable to find a record from Progressive.com of my policy.

    Some time after that, I get a notice of failure to appear in a court and that it can only be dealt with the collection agency. I set-up payments and start payments and then I cease to make them as I lost my job.

    I end up finding the actual policy card for the time during which I was stopped and alleged not have insurance. I call the Court and they tell me I need to talk to GCS about my case and GCS tells me I need to talk to the court about opening my case.

    Here, I am with a recently issued licensed and 40509.5 Hold thought the Court system (online).


    • Jose, a Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold is an instruction from the court to DMV that says “Suspend this persons drivers license”. DMV takes 30 days to put they suspension into effect. If you have a 40509.5 hold, your drivers license is probably suspended. Do not drive at all until you contact DMV and confirm that your drivers license is valid. If you have a 40509.5 hold and have not received anything from DMV, you address with DMV is probably not current. The law requires you to keep DMV notified of your current address.

  95. John says:

    I have two separate citations in Los Angeles county. One from the Sheriff, and one from CHP. Both have to do with my car tabs. My car kept failing the smog check, and even after having it worked on, would continue to fail. I was pulled over on two separate occasions, both times I got hit for not having “adequate” proof of insurances (it was a printout from e-surance). I never made my court dates, and I got the 40509.5 Holds along with the suspended license. Now, the case is with GC collections. The total amount they want is $3,642.00

    I am completely prepared to just pay the fine and get this dealt with, but that is such a giant sum to pay all at once. Is there any possible way for me get the holds taken off of my license, while paying off the amount due?

    • John, that is a classic failure to appear 40509.5 suspended drivers license case. The best way to solve it is in court, not with GC Services. I recommend hiring an attorney to do the work, and not paying GC Services. Here is what I would do: 1) go to the courthouse and schedule an arraignment; 2) ask the court to release the vc 40509.5 holds without posting of bail; 3) go to court date and try to get the cases dismissed or reduced to best possible result. I would present proof of your old or even new insurance and try to talk the judge into accepting it. Usually in LA we have been able to get the Veh Code 40509.5 holds released at the time we set the arraignment, because as an officer of the court, the attorney really has to show up once they declare they are the attorney of record. You may be able to get it done yourself, but that’s like trying to re-wire your own lexus, you might get shocked and end up paying more.. Contact our So Cal Sponsor Attorney Mark Gallagher for quote.

  96. Nice. You have a couple of great points The issue with law is that it doesn’t always work to the advantage of the victim. It is a system failure and needs to be revised.

  97. Matt says:

    Hi. I forgot to pay 2 outstanding tickets in Santa Clara County, and they both got slapped with Misdemeanor VC 40509 “Failure to Appear” charges. I paid both tickets off and after checking online at the Santa Clara County Traffic Court website, it says “Dismissed” under the Misdemeanor “Failure to Appear” Charge and “fine imposed” under the infraction charge. Since it says that the misdemeanor has been dismissed, does this mean that I am not convicted of misdemeanors?

  98. Sheena says:

    To whom it may concern,
    Great you have this blog as I went on line to get info and from DMV and didn’t see any real answers for me. Here’s my situation as follows, it has to do with ticket for not current registration stickers and unpaid ticket. I received a ticket for not having my registration stickers current for 2010 so I got a ticket in February. Can’t afford to pay my registration currently, about $250 plus. Didn’t pay ticket or go to court,etc. Just got a notice that says I need to pay $639 in 10 days or 939 in LA Superior Court. It also says a failure to appear the court has placed a hold on your driver’s license with the dmv. Please help and how do I resolve this? I don’t have even close to the $639 to pay ticket yet need to drive to work somehow. Can I inquire about hardship,etc?Thank you for your time.

    • Sheena, the bad news is that if you cannot afford to register your car, you cannot drive at all. There is no way around that. Driving is a privilege, not a right. The law says only those who can afford the DMV fees are allowed to drive. That is just the way it is. But aside from that, if you go to court and ask for a walk in court appearance, you can prevent the additional penalties and drivers license suspension, which is caused by a failure to appear, not by a lack of money. Get there at 8 am, and go before the deadline on the civil assessment notice. Once in court, ask the judge for more time to register the car and bring in proof of registration. As long as you get into court and ask or more time, you will get more time. But if you do not go, they are going to hammer you.

  99. Jason says:

    I would like to start by saying thanks for having the heart to help us out for free with these questions, and I hope you pick mine to help with also.

    I will be brief. I got a ticket by LAPD for the metro court. It was for not having a license, but I did, so I got it signed off. I never made the payment or mailed the proof, and the courtdate passed, now my ticket is with GC Services and jumped to $869. After a long battle with them I got a courtdate for Sept. 2010, but they will not give me any info about the temporary abstract so I can drive until the courtdate. They told me I have to just go to their window at the court and see if I qualify, and pay $10 if I do. They won’t tell me the qualifications over the phone. I live 3 hours away, so going just to see if I qualify (and possibly being turned down) is very hard for me.

    Do I have to just go to the court to get it and what would the qualifications be? They will not give me a phone number to their window at that court, and the court refers me back to GC Services when I call and enter my ticket info. Please help! Thanks!

  100. Jorge Perez says:

    I received a speeding ticket in Los Angeles for speeding issued by the Los Angeles
    Police department and handled by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Courthouse on 1945 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007.
    Therefore I requested an extension until November 27. Before then I had moved back to Oklahoma in Aug 20th (I have an Oklahoma license). At this point my Bail amount went up to 995 dollars with a 300 dollars assessment fee added. And failure to appear fee and referred to GC services. I called them (GC services as per the court instructions) before Nov 27th
    and asked for an abstract, and a court date was set for feb 19th of 2010.
    Since I knew I wasn’t going to be able to travel back into los angeles . I researched online
    for a trial by declaration but when I learned I had to pay full bail
    I never got around to gathering the money. Now I stand with a 995$ bail amount, failure to appear charges,
    and a hold/suspension on my Oklahoma license. What can i do to clear this matter? they would not clear the hold
    unless it was paid in full and an installment plan wouldnt clear the hold either…
    I’m stumped as of what I can do to clear this. 995 is way out of my budget but I need to drive.
    I am now in Virginia and I’m planning on getting a Virginia state license. Will i not be able to get on with a CA hold placed on my CA license? What do you suggest? Thanks in advance

    • Jorge, the real problem here is that you have 2 missed court dates. That kills all of the options for a good result. I recommend that you just pay ASAP. VA will honor the CA drivers license suspension.

  101. Raymond says:

    Christopher, this is a wonderful and very helpful blog. Thank you for taking the time to write the entry and respond to so many questions. I hope you don’t mind if I give you one more… and I’m sorry if this is a little long.

    I got a ticket way back on thanksgiving of last year (+1 year ago) out in Los Angeles while I was still in college, but I have moved back to Chicago in May of 09 after graduating. I was in possession of my friend’s car over the turkey break while he went home so I could drop him off and pick him up from the airport. On the last day of break and on the way home from the airport, I got a ticket from LAPD for rolling a stop sign on the corner turning into the college’s axis road. The ticket also included a broken tail light. I never got the letter of the ticket in the mail, but knew I had to deal with it, so I called into the hotline about 12 times, but never once was able to get through to anyone — call again at a less busy time. I went online, but I couldn’t deal with it because it said I need to attend court to provide proof the tail light was fixed. I tried sending a written contest because his car broke down less than a month later and he sold it to a chop shop, but the letter was never received and I didn’t send certified mail. I couldn’t attend my court date because it was over winter break and I had already booked plane tickets to Chicago, so I postponed the date online. Only the earliest my next date could be set was in June, when I would be gone to Chicago again! I tried to call in more to let them know, but I have never ever been able to reach a person. I don’t live in CA anymore, but my ticket is still out there unpaid. I have never received anything in the mail from the court or from a collections agency even though my address on the ticket is correct. I just found out how to find the cost through your blog by going through GC Services — $844!! I can’t afford that much money, nor can I go back to CA to go to court. Any advice you can offer me would be so very much appreciated. Thanks in advance and keep up the great work helping us who are less informed in legal matters.

    • Raymond, if you missed your court date and have a pending failure to appear case – you only have 2 options: 1) go to court; or 2) pay the full bail to end the case (if they will let you). Writing to the court is a waste of time. It never works out well. You can hire an attorney to go to court for you and resolve the case. But beware! If you are focused on the $844 bail, you are focused on the wrong part of the problem. More important issues are: CA DMV is going to suspend your driving privilege in CA if they have not already. Illinois will honor that suspension, and suspend your IL license as well. And secondly – a failure to appear charge under Vehicle Code section 40508(a) is a misdemeanor crime. The main reason you should go to court or hire an attorney to go for you is to make sure you are not convicted of the misdemeanor which is a real crime. Do not ignore the problem and think that it will just go away on its own. It will not go away.

  102. Hank says:

    I received a ticket for driving on wrong side of the road, which is totally false! I booked a court trial on Feb 11, 2010. After that, I received trial by declaration request form so I sent that too. I appeared to the court on Feb 11, 2010 and I have evidences for that (I still have parking permit for the underground parking lot, and I took pictures while I was waiting for the line). I finally met the receptionist after long waiting and she told me that the court trial was cancelled b/c I sent the trial by declaration form. I went back home, and few days ago, I got a letter from superior court that my driver lic is suspended b/c I didn’t appear to the court. Also the bail amount is $849. The website still shows that my status is in VC40509.5 Hold. Today, I got court’s decision for the trial by declaration and they found no guilty for my case. What should I do with VC40509.5? Should I call superior court first to clear that and go to DMV to reinstate my driver’s lic? I do not want to pay any bail amount or DMV reinstation fee because I didn’t make any fault.

    • Hank, you need to double check to make sure that you are talking about one case. Check the case #s to make sure there are not 2 cases out there. Assuming there is only 1 case, the trial by declaration ruling ends the case and is proof that you won.

      I would recommend that you take your notice of Not Guilty to the Traffic court clerk in person. Then ask, “WTF?” and demand they correct their records. Do not try to do it by mail. Go in person. You can probably go in the afternoon to avoid lines.

  103. Dave F says:

    Thanks for the help. Went to court this morning 3/9/2010 in Long Beach, CA and was not able to see the judge. They do not have walk in appearances. Got a court date for 8/16/2010 and paid a $10 fee to have the hold released. Have I done the right thing? And now my next step is what you replyed before? For some reason I am still worried about the 10 day thing

    • Dave, Once you get a court to release a failure to appear hold (Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold), the court will notify the DMV electronically, the same day. I’m surprised they charged you. Most courts have stopped charging for the release. It’s a complete rip off to charge you. Anyway, once the hold is released, your drivers license probably will not clear automatically. You need to call the DMV (recommend the driver safety office) and tell them you just got a VC40509.5 hold released and need to know whether or not you have to go in and pay a reissuance fee. If you have missed the 10 day warning deadline, they will require you to go to DMV in person and pay.

      So – for everyone else – once a VC40509.5 hold is released, do not drive at all until you call dmv to verify whether or not you have to pay the DMV reissuance fee. I have had heard from many people who get a VC 40509.5 hold released, but fail to contact DMV only to discover the reissuance fee requirement while their car is being impounded.

  104. Dave F says:

    I received a regestration ticket in Ocotbor 09 from the california Highway patrol in long beach Got the regestration but never went to court. Just got a 40509.5 hold. They want 939 or 639 befor the 12 of march 2010. I do not have that kind of money. What are my options. will they take the hold off if making payments

    • Dave, what you are reading is a Penal Code section 1214.1(b) warning notice telling you that you need to go to court. You need to go to court before the 12th of March to request a walk in appearance. Get there before 8am, and expect to be there all day. But before you go, take your car and proof of current insurance to a CHP Business Office and ask them to sign proof that you have corrected the problem. They will want to sign either your citation or the notice of Civil Assessment which you are reading from. They will charge you a fee to sign off on the proof of correction. Once in court, tell the judge that you have signed off proof of correction and ask him/her to accept it and dismiss the Vehicle Code section 4000(a) violation. Then ask that the failure to appear charge under Vehicle Code section 40508(a) be dismissed or reduced to an infraction. Then ask that the Penal Code section 1214.1 civil assessment be vacated due to the fact that the court has denied you the due process hearing required by Penal Code 1214.1(d).

      If you get what you want, you should end up with a $25 dismissal fee. If you don’t get it, plead not guilty, demand a jury trial and hire our local attorney sponsor of http://www.Losangelescountywarrants.com, Mark Gallagher to finish the case. Once the Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold is released, you need to go in person to DMV and pay a re-issuance fee to get your license reinstated. Your license will not be reinstated automatically.

  105. Lola Cruz says:

    I have quite a dilemma… I received a traffic ticket in 2005. Back when I first got my driver’s license. I was visiting CA and on my way back home I got pulled over. I didn’t ever get anything in the mail for a court appearance.. Even If I had, I couldn’t show up for court because of how far I live. So now I have a 40509.5 hold on my License. I have to pay 1,544. Violation was for crossing a yellow line on the highway. I didn’t know that you can not enter the car pool lane whenever you want like you can on the highways here in AZ. So besides paying the amount in full all at once what are my options to reinstate my license? For Example, Here in AZ I could go down to the court and request for removal of the suspension as long as I am making payments towards my fine. Please give me all options including any if there is anything I could do without having to go up to El Monte Courthouse. BUT if I have to go down there that will be ok too.. I just want my license back.

  106. Launa Ross says:

    Hope you can help???
    I have a hold (40509.5) for a litter bug ticket that i received standing on the street.
    1. What does that have to do with my Lis.?
    2. Litterbug ticket,(misd.) is that a valid charge?
    3. Should the fine for that charge be as much
    as 400.00? Now with not appearing be almost 1000.00.?
    I went to court as scheduled and pleaded not guilty and asked for trial and was told to pay the 400.+ I could’nt pay the fine and now im here with a 1000.00 hold.

  107. Jesse says:

    Thanks for the blog! I’m in quite the shitty predicament at the moment, I got a jaywalking ticket and failed to show up to the first court date, then I mAde another court date and forgot to show up to that one to,the court said my license is on hold till my next court date, which is 4 months from now, they told me I have to pay 800 dollars to collections if I want it back before my court date, is there anything I can do??

    • Jesse, I cannot tel what court this is. But I can tell you this, in Los Angeles County, the traffic court clerk can release a drivers license hold (also known as a Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold) when a court date is set. But if you do not ask for the release, they ignore it (in a very cruel way). So I would recommend going to the court clerks office (where ever your case is) and tell them that you have a court date set and want the VC 40509.5 hold released. If they say no, ask for a walk in court appearance on the case, and ask the judge to release it. Most courts (but not all) will allow a walk in appearance on some days. Once the hold is released by the court, you do not need to take anything to the DMV, but you do have to go in person to the DMV to pay a reissuance fee and to have a new card issued (in most cases). If it turns out that you really do have to wait 4 months with a suspended license, I would recommend just paying, because getting arrested / car impounded for driving on a suspended license (Vehicle Code section 14601.1) is a $3000-$4000 problem.

  108. Will says:

    I moved to LA in August from Virginia and recieved $141 ticket while driving on my VA driver’s license. I missed my court date and my case has gone to GC Services and is now 800 bucks. Since then I’ve gone to DMV and actually gotten a CA driver’s license. It was issued on 11/18 and according to la superior court website the 40509.5 Hold was place on 12/8. My job requires that I have a drivers license. When I search my new driver’s license number on the courts website no citations come up. Only when I search my VA license number does the citation come up. Is my CA driver’s license suspended? Are they going to notify VA DMV and what will VA DMV do since I no longer have a license in that state? Whats the best way to settle this and can it be done with a less amount to pay? 800 is extremely steep for a seatbelt. Thanks.

    • Will, the ticket will only show up with your VA license # because that is the lic you had when the citation was issued. It was what the officer wrote on the ticket. California has probably suspended your CA license (and driving privilege). You can have your privilege to drive in CA suspended, even if you have a valid lic from another state if you fail to appear and get a Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold. CA DMV will notify VA of the suspension, and most states will honor it. Do not drive until you verify that your CA lic is valid. Call the DMV driver safety office to confirm (now). To deal with the ticket, I would recommend going to court and requesting a walk in court date. One of our local attorneys (Mark Gallagher http://www.losangelescountywarrants.com) can take care of this sort of case very quickly. Most of the time, our attorneys can get a Failure to appear hold released upon a first court date in LA. Then, the next step is trying to get the court to dismiss the ticket and/or civil assessment. But the drivers license suspension is the biggest part of the problem, followed by the failure to appear charge (that you do not want on your record as a conviction). You can hire an attorney to go to do the work for you as soon as tomorrow and probably get your license back my Monday. Once the hold is cleared, you need to go to the DMV in person to have the license reissued.

  109. chase says:

    My wife has 3 tickets. ignored fines and failed to appear in court. License now suspended. one of her citations was a carpool vilation,no car reg and ins. and failed to appear in court for this citation. It is now with gc collections and the amount is around $2100.it couldnt have been this much??? is there a way to get that fine reduced after its transferd to collections?

    • Chase, in most courts you can go to the courthouse and schedule an arraignment on the case even after the case was sent to collections. Go at 8 am and ask for an arraignment

    • Chase, UPDATE!!! I finally got sick of this problem and did some real legal work. I just wrote a new document for people who have a civil assessment added and the court will not allow them to have a trial date.

      It’s a real legal form, on pleading paper, instructions included, for a Notice of Not Guilty Plea and Demand for Court Trial. In your situation, I recommend you fill it out and file by delivering to the court clerk it ASAP – so that you have prof they refused you a trial. If it does not work, you can appeal and in my opinion, with a strong case. Here is a link where you can get this form I wrote myself for free for a limited time: http://sites.google.com/site/dortlawcom/DemandforTrialTrafficCourt.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1. After a short free period, it will be available for $9.99.

  110. CHIH says:

    THANK YOU so much for this blog it helps out a lot i just found out that i have the hold on my license. this is great info and again thank you. I moved to chicago will this affect me getting a dl in IL.?

    • Too many people think that moving to a different state means they can ignore a court case. I see it every day, and it never works out good. Chih – It would be a bad idea to think that just because you move to IL you can ignore a failure to appear case. Most states will honor another state’s drivers license suspension – even if there was never a license “card” issued. For example, if you come to CA to visit from TX, and get a traffic ticket, the court can suspend your driving privilege in CA and notify TX, who then suspends the TX drivers license until the problem is solved.

      And then – you have to consider that one day the failure to appear problem may cause the loss of a job or potential job when the employer finds out. It happens a lot.

      My advice: take care of the case. You can probably hire an attorney to go to court for you, or if it is just an infraction case, you may be able to just pay a fine by mail. Once the drivers license hold (Vehicle Code section 40509.5 hold in CA) is released, you need to contact CA DMV to be sure that you do not have to visit them to have your driving privilege in CA reinstated (they charge a $55 fee for reinstatement).

  111. Mike says:

    Hey thanks so much for writing this! I forgot to pay a $15 fix it ticket but went on with my life. Well, despite the fact I never received any notifications, I found out my insurance had sky rocketed so went to investigate and found out I had a suspended license and a big fee. I have been scouring the internet all day trying to find answers to my questions and your post did it all!

    One final question though: the fee that I have to pay to the collection agency, is this the final fee including all the FTA fees and such or is that only for the ticket and I still have to pay additional fees?

    • Mike, usually if you pay a collection agency such as GC Services for a failure to appear case, the case gets closed completely. You should contact the court afterward to make sure the case is closed by checking the exact case number. You should also contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, because if your drivers license was suspended as a result of the failure to appear (which is usual), DMV will not reinstate your license until you make a personal visit and pay a re issuance fee. Don’t get caught driving with a suspended license after you pay the collection agency!!

  112. pong says:

    I need someone to help me . im stuck overseas waiting for a U.S. Visa for my wife, I dont think shes gonna get anytime soon because I have people on the inside of U.S. Government screwing with me. they took all my original passports and birth certificate and disappeared with my wifes case. i have traffic tickets in Los Angeles and Chatsworth citation number 8112621
    and citation number 7905235

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