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Failure To Appear or Pay a Court-Ordered Fine
What happens if you fail to Appear?

Your signature on the citation (ticket) is your promise to appear on or before a specific date, place, and time. Even if you did not receive the court's courtesy notice, you are responsible for appearing by that date. If you fail to appear by the date on your ticket, by an extension date you were granted, or a date you were scheduled to appear in court, the court will take several actions. A charge of Vehicle Code section 40508(a) (failure to appear) will be added to your case, substantially increasing your fine. The DMV will be notified of your failure to appear. The DMV will then suspend your driving privileges. In general, your license will remain suspended until the case has been fully resolved. Additionally, depending on the charges involved, other common actions are:
  • Issuance of a bench warrant. This means that a warrant for your arrest will be outstanding. If you are pulled over, the police officer may arrest you and take you to jail and from there, to appear before the Court; or
  • Addition of a civil assessment of $300 to your fine and referral of the matter to the court's collection vendor. If your case has been referred to the collection vendor, you may speak with them regarding your options.
Once the DMV has been notified of your failure to appear, setting your case for court will not release your license. Paying the full fine will result in the suspension being lifted as to that case only. If you have only one failure to appear on your case and you have set the case for a court hearing, you can usually go to the courthouse and purchase a clearance abstract. This abstract will inform the DMV that you are taking care of your case and the license suspension will be lifted as to that case only.
Important
If you have more than one failure to appear on your case, an abstract will not be issued.
Important
In any event, if you have received a notice of suspension from the DMV, it is your sole responsibility to verify with the DMV that your license is valid before you drive.
What happens if you fail to Pay a Court-Ordered Fine?

If you have gone to court and been assessed a fine and/or allowed to complete community service and you fail to do so by the due date or any extension date granted by the court, your case will go into a delinquent status. The court will attempt to send a notice to the address we have on file. If the fine remains unpaid, a $300 civil assessment will be added, the case will be sent to our collection vendor, and, after a short period of time, the DMV will be notified of the failure to pay. The DMV will then suspend your license. If your case has been sent to the collection vendor, you must deal directly with them. The phone number is: (800) 352-3778.
The license suspension will be released upon payment of the full fine (including the civil assessment). Cases in this status are not set for court hearings as there are no legal matters left for the court decide and they are adjudicated matters. The exceptions are (and clear proof is always required): Hospitalization, incarceration, or military deployment during a substantial portion of the time the fine was due.
Important
In any event, if you have received a notice of suspension from the DMV, it is your sole responsibility to verify with the DMV that your license is valid before you drive.
 
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