Drivers who are charged with a traffic violation in California are not always immediately arrested. Sometimes, a police officer will instead give drivers a ticket. These tickets generally require the driver to either:
- Mail in a Fine OR
- Appear in Court
Drivers in this situation who fail to appear in court can be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 40508: Failure to Appear. The Simmrin Law Group can help you understand this charge and the penalties for a conviction. Increase your understanding of VC 40508 today.
Let Us Go Over the Definition of VC 40508
Many drivers are given court dates for minor traffic infractions, such as speeding. Drivers who receive red light camera tickets in the mail may also find a court date enclosed with their tickets. A driver may be charged with failure to appear if they:
- Were Given a Citation after a Traffic Violation
- Signed the Citation, Which Included a Promise to Appear in Court AND
- Did Not Appear in Court
Individuals can face charges under VC 40508 as long as they willfully or purposefully fail to appear in court. This means that individuals can be charged even if they did not set out to violate any laws. Drivers can also be charged under VC 40508 if they:
- Do Not Pay Their Bail
- Do Not Pay Their Fines
- Do Not Comply with Court Conditions
Note also that an individual can be convicted under VC 40508 even if they were not convicted of their original traffic violation. This makes it very important to handle all court dates properly. A criminal defense lawyer can help make sure a driver does not miss any court dates.
Focus on the Penalties for a VC 40508 Conviction
Failure to appear is treated as a misdemeanor in the state of California, even if the original violation was an infraction. Drivers who are convicted under VC 40508 may face the following penalties:
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
- Fines: Up to $1,000
Individuals may also lose their driving privileges for 30 days after a VC 40508 conviction.
Legal Defenses for Failure to Appear Charges
Drivers in California do not just have to accept a VC 40508 conviction. In many cases, a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help drivers build a solid defense against these charges. A driver may be able to defend against failure to appear charges if they were unable to make it to court because they were:
- Injured and Hospitalized
- Actively Serving in the Military
- Already in Jail
Drivers may also be able to avoid a VC 40508 conviction if they received a late filing that did not give them appropriate time to reach the court.
A criminal defense lawyer can also help you handle more severe traffic violations, including:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 12500: Driving Without A License
- California Vehicle Code Section 23103: Dry Reckless
- California Vehicle Code Section 20001: Felony Hit And Run
- California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5: Wet Reckless
Examples of Failure to Appear in California
Individuals in California may end up facing charges in court for failure to appear in the following situations:
A man is arrested for a traffic violation and given an order to appear in court in several weeks. He is a member of the military and is deployed before he can make it to court. He misses his court date, but should not face charges for failure to appear due to his situation.
A police officer pulls over a driver for speeding. He gives the driver a ticket that requires to her show up at court in several weeks. In the intervening weeks, the court date slips her mind and she does not show up in court. She could face charges under VC 40508.
The police pull over a man and accuse him of a traffic violation he does not believe he committed. In protest, he refuses to go to court and is charged with failure to appear. He could face charges for failure to appear and his initial traffic violation in this situation.
Get Advice Handling Charges for Failure to Appear
Drivers who face charges under California Vehicle Code Section 40508: Failure to Appear can get help on their side right away. You can reach out to the Simmrin Law Group for professional legal advice about your case today. Contact us by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form to learn more about your legal options.
We can provide clients in your situation with a FREE case evaluation.