What is a VC 40508 Failure to Appear in Court?
Many of my clients have traffic tickets with a “failure to appear” charge. A failure to appear means you did not pay your traffic ticket by the due date, or you did not show up in court to schedule a date to fight the ticket.
The code section is California Vehicle Code section 40508. VC 40508 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as an infraction. If you pay GC Services in Los Angeles County, the charge will go on your record.
I have handled hundreds of these cases in court for my clients. For a free consultation, call me at 888-250-8450.
Why Did I Get a VC 40508 Failure to Appear in Court?
Many are surprised to find out they have a failure to appear in court in the first place, and didn’t even know their license was suspended.
Mistakenly, many rely on the “courtesy notice” that is supposed to come in the mail. Sometimes the officer who cited you tells you to wait for the courtesy notice to come in the mail, but often Los Angeles County traffic courts are no longer issuing courtesy notices due to budget cuts.
Even if you never saw your courtesy notice, you will still get charged with a failure to appear in court if you do not pay your traffic ticket or show up in court to contest it.
By law, your signature at the bottom of the citation is your written promise to appear. If you look closely, at the bottom of the citation that the officer gave you, you’ll see a little box checked that tells you which courthouse to appear in, and by which date.
As long as you signed the citation, you are expected to appear in court whether or not you received the notice in the mail.
What Happens if I got a VC 40508 Failure to Appear in Court Charge?
When you fail to appear on a traffic ticket, the court usually issues a “hold” on your driver’s license pursuant to Vehicle Code 40509.5. This means the court notifies the DMV that you failed to appear in court, and then the DMV suspends your license.
Also, the court can slap you with Vehicle Code 40508 – which is usually initially charged as a misdemeanor, meaning if convicted of the failure to appear charge, you are looking at getting a charge on your criminal record.
Being convicted of Vehicle Code 40508 also means several hundred dollars in fines, as well as a potential $300 civil assessment.
If the ticket is handled in traffic court, usually the 40508 charge will be knocked down from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
Are There Any Legal Defenses to a Vehicle Code 40508 Charge?
The legal defenses for failing to appear are as follows:
- you were hospitalized;
- you were on active duty in the military; or
- you were incarcerated in either county jail or state prison on the date you were supposed to appear in court.
There are other factors that judges will listen to, such as: you were at a funeral, a loved one was sick, etc.. In these cases judges are not REQUIRED to dismiss or reduce your failure to appear charge, although offering these reasons MAY result in the judge reducing or dismissing your failure to appear.
Get Help With Your VC 40508 Failure to Appear
If you failed to appear on your traffic ticket, I can help you by:
- getting your license clear;
- getting the charge reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction; and
- getting your charge dismissed or reduced.
If you’d like to talk to me (Attorney Paul Denni) for a free consultation, call me at 888-250-8450. You can also fill out the Contact Form below.