What is a Vehicle Code 40508(b) Violation? Failure to Pay, Not Failure to Appear

What happens if you fail to pay for a traffic ticket fine after pleading guilty? Well, the court adds charges to the case like Vehicle Code 40508(b).

California Vehicle Code sections 40508b and Veh. Code 40508a are different.  VC40508(a)  is a misdemeanor crime defined as “Failure to Appear”. The “B” Version, VC40508(b) is a misdemeanor crime defined as a “Failure to Make Fine Payments” on time (Failure to Pay).

Both of these violations are real crimes that carry a jail sentence as a possible consequence.  Simply missing a fine payment or showing up late for a court can lead to a new misdemeanor charge under one of these code sections. 

But one big difference is that a VC 40508(b) Failure to Pay violation is usually only added after the defendant has been convicted. Unlike a Failure to Appear charge, it usually means the case is over.

When a court adds a VC40508a or 40508b charge to a case, they usually also notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the failure to appear or pay, and then DMV suspends the defendant’s drivers license based on that notice. This notice, and the suspension, is known as a VC 40509.5 suspension.

When there is a Vehicle Code 40508(a) or (b) charge, the court may also issue a warrant.

Visit Traffic Court Pros.com.  Free Legal Self Help, Free Attorney Case Reviews.

If you cannot pay a fine, it is always better to go into court in person early and ask for more time. Do not wait until the deadline passes.

Once in court, you can ask the judge for more time or an adjustment.  Chances are the judge will respect your efforts to get it done without causing the court a problem and will grant your request.

If you have a failure to appear problem or bench warrant, request a Free Attorney Case Review and let us show you why it makes sense to have help.

About Attorney Christopher Dort

Public Interest Attorney. CA State Bar #196832. Licensed to practice law in California 1998, and then the US Federal District Court in 2000. Civil Litigation Trial Attorney (Insurance Defense Firms) 2000-2003. Private practice 2003 - present. First Solo Criminal Jury Trial 1998 (Santa Cruz County). First Civil Jury Trial 2002 (Orange County). Santa Cruz County Public Defenders Office 1996-1999 (law clerk). BA in Politics from UC Santa Cruz, 1995. JD, University of California, Hastings, 1998.
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5 Responses to What is a Vehicle Code 40508(b) Violation? Failure to Pay, Not Failure to Appear

  1. Joseph Ofurie says:

    0pDIG1EXGcES – I just purchased your motion to dismiss but realized that is for failure to appear. I have unsuccessfully to see the judge before the due date and the clerks will not allow me to see the judge. [I already pled guilty and was sentenced to pay a fine. I did not pay the fine as the court ordered.]

    The clerks said I need to wait until my file is giving to collection and said $300 will be added to my fine. It went to collection and they refused my request to see the judge. I am unemployed for 2 years and would like to do community service or serve weekend for my fine. What options do I have to successfully see the judge?

    • Joseph,

      Once you plead guilty, you get convicted and sentenced. Once the judge gives you a sentence, that is it. Your case is over. Game over, insert new quarter.

      From the court’s perspective, a sentence is not optional. It is punishment. It is designed to hurt. The court wants you to feel the pain and sting of that sentence, because you admitted to breaking the law. There is no adjusting a sentence later in a traffic ticket case.

      From the court’s point of view – of course they dont want you back in court. It costs the court money to give you court time. Judges are expensive. And so are those guys and women with guns. Think about it, if they let you back in court to talk about your fine and case that is already over – they might have to produce 10 or 15 written pages of paper to tell you again that your case is over.

      The court would be losing money on you. They would be better off just letting you go scott free. But lucky for them, you dont have a right to use more court time after pleading guilty and getting a fine as a sentence. They can just tell you NO.

      Wish I had better news.

      This is a common problem. People frequently want to change their sentence months or years after the judge hits them with it.

      None of my forms will work for you

  2. Ger says:

    I got a 40508b on my driving record and can I get rid of it. Didn’t even know that I had it.

  3. bob ridley says:

    Pursuant to 40508(a), what exactly is a “lawfully granted continuance.” In my case, I signed a promise to appear on a traffic matter. I appeared on the date and time specified on the ticket. The court clerks could not find me in the system and I did not have the ticket with me. The clerks told me the CHP is back logged and I should be hearing something from them. A few weeks later I got a notice from the CHP advising me of a new appearance date. Is the new date a lawfully granted continuance?

    • Bob, Good Question. I would say this – if they sent you a new date, you have to appear at that new date and time in person, unless they give you the option to pay bail and plead not guilty by mail (and you want to do that). Just go. Dont worry about whether or not the have the right to change the date. You’ll never win that kind of battle. Keep copies of everything. Do not try to get anything done by phone.

      For future reference – if you get a citation – treat it like it is your original birth certification. It should be with you when you go to court. And if you go to court on the right date, and they have to record of your citation – get written proof from the court clerk that you were there. And keep it safe.

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