Vehicle Code Crimes

In California, crimes are listed in various code categories. Although many criminal offenses are found in the penal codes, when a crime is committed in a motor vehicle, involves driving an automobile, or is related to a driver’s license, the crime is listed in California’s vehicle code.

Under California law, many of the vehicle code sections are charged as a felony or misdemeanor including:

  • Vehicle Code 20 VC – False Statements to the DMV or CHP
  • Vehicle Code 31 – Providing False Information to a Peace or Police Officer
  • Vehicle Code 2800.1 – Evading a Peace or Police Officer
  • Vehicle Code 2800.2 – Felony Reckless Evading
  • Vehicle Code 2800.3 – Evading an Officer Causing Injury or Death
  • Vehicle Code 2800.4 – Evading an Officer by Driving in Opposite Direction of Traffic
  • Vehicle Code 12500 – Driving without a License
  • Vehicle Code 14601 (a) – Driving on a Suspended License
  • Vehicle Code 14601.2 – Driving on a License Suspended Because of DUI
  • Vehicle Code 14601.3 – Habitual Traffic Offenders
  • Vehicle Code 14601.4 – Driving on a Suspended License Causing Injury
  • Vehicle Code 14601.5 – Driving on a License Suspended from DUI Refusal or Excess BAC
  • Vehicle Code 14610 – Unlawful Use of a Drivers License
  • Vehicle Code 20001 (a) – Felony Hit & Run
  • Vehicle Code 20002 (a) – Misdemeanor Hit & Run
  • Vehicle Code 21200.5 – Cycling Under the Influence
  • Vehicle Code 23103 – Reckless Driving
  • Vehicle Code 23109(a) – Engaging in a Speed Contest
  • Vehicle Code 23110 – Throwing Objects at a Motor Vehicle
  • Vehicle Code 23136 – Underage DUI
  • Vehicle Code 23140 – Under 21 DUI
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (a) – Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (b) – Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (c) – Driving While Addicted to a Drug
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (d) – DUI & Commercial Drivers License
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (e) – DUI by Taxi, Limo or Ride-Sharing Drivers
  • Vehicle Code 23152 (f) – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
  • Vehicle Code 23153 – DUI with Injury
  • Vehicle Code 23221 – Drinking Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle
  • Vehicle Code 23222(b) – Possession of Marijuana While Driving
  • Vehicle Code 23224 – Possession of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle by a Person Under 21
  • Vehicle Code 23572 – DUI & Minor Passenger Under 14
  • Vehicle Code 23573 & 23575 – Ignition Interlock Devices

Attorney for Vehicle Code Crimes in Ventura, CA

Jay Leiderman helps clients fight crimes charged under California’s Vehicle Code. These offenses often come with harsh penalties that might include a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.

Important defenses exist in these cases. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Jay Leiderman can spot important defenses that others might miss.

For a free and confidential consultation, call (805) 654-0200.


Overview of Vehicle Laws in California


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Racing or Speed Contest on a Highway – § 23109

A person is prohibited from engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (a). Additionally, California law prohibits a person from aiding or abetting another in any motor vehicle speed contest as provided by Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (b).


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Exhibition of Speed on a Highway – § 23109

California law makes it a crime to engage in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway, and a person shall not aid or abet in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway. See Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (c).


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Placing a Barricade for Racing – § 23109

California law prohibits in any manner obstruct or place a barricade or obstruction or assist or participate in placing a barricade or obstruction upon any highway for the purpose of facilitating or aiding or as an incident to any motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition upon a highway,  (Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (d).


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Penalties for Speed Contest Crimes in California

The penalties for motor vehicle speed contest crimes are punished by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 24 hours nor more than 90 days; or
  • by a fine of not less than $355 nor more than $1,000; or
  • by both that fine and imprisonment; and
  • a condition of performing 40 hours of community service.

The court may, but is not required to, order the privilege to operate a motor vehicle suspended for 90 days to six months as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (e)(1).

Enhanced penalties can be imposed for:

  • Speed Contest Causing Bodily Injury – The penalties are enhanced if a person is convicted of a motor vehicle speed contest and that violation proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver. In those cases, the person convicted shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than $500 nor more $1,000, or by both.
  • Second within five – If a person is convicted of a motor vehicle speed contest for an offense that occurred within five years of the date of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of motor vehicle speed contest, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than four days nor more than six months, and by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than one thousand dollars $1,000 as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (f)(1).
  • Second within five causing bodily injury – If the most recent offense within the five-year period causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver, a person convicted of that second violation shall be imprisoned in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars $500 nor more than $1,000 as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (f)(2).
  • Second within five causing serious bodily injury – If the most recent offense within the five-year period proximately causes serious bodily injury, as specified, to a person other than the driver, a person convicted of that second violation shall be imprisoned in the state prison, or in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than one year, and by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (f)(3).

Additionally, if any person is convicted of a second offense within five years, the court shall order the privilege to operate a motor vehicle of the person suspended for a period of six months, as specified by Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (f)(4).

Court Order to Impound a Vehicle in a Speeding Contest

If a person is convicted of a motor vehicle speed contest and the vehicle used in the violation is registered to that person, the vehicle may be impounded at the registered owner’s expense for not less than one day nor more than 30 days as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (h).

Aids or Abets a Motor Vehicle Speed Contest

Any person who aids and abets a motor vehicle speed contest, engages in, or aids and abets, a motor vehicle speed exhibition, or for the purpose of facilitating or aiding or as an incident to any motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition upon a highway, in any manner obstruct or place a barricade or obstruction upon any highway, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 90 days, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars $500, or by both that fine and imprisonment as provided in Veh. Code, § 23109, subd. (i).

Reckless Driving Causing Serious Injuries

A person convicted of reckless driving that proximately causes one or more serious injuries, as specified, to a person other than the driver, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail, or guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $220 nor more than one thousand dollars $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment as provided in Veh. Code, § 23105, subd. (a).

Reckless Driving Causing Great Bodily Injury

Whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than $220 nor more than $1,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment as provided in Veh. Code, §, 23104, subd. (a).

Reckless Driving Causing Great Bodily Injury with a Prior

A person convicted of reckless driving that proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined, to a person other than the driver, who previously has been convicted of a specified violation of reckless driving or driving under the influence, shall be guilty of a felony punished by imprisonment county jail up to three years, or guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two $220 nor more than $1,000 or by both the fine and imprisonment as provided in Veh. Code, §, 23104, subd. (b).

Impounded Vehicles Engaged in Motor Vehicle Speed Contests

Whenever a peace officer determines that a person was engaged in a motor vehicle speed contest, reckless driving, or exhibition of speed, the peace officer may immediately arrest and take into custody that person and may impound the vehicle. A motor vehicle so seized may be impounded for up to 30 days as provided in Veh. Code, §23109.2.


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2019 Bail Schedule for Felony Vehicle Code Crimes

According to the 2019 Bail Schedule for Ventura County, CA, the presumptive bail amount for vehicle code cases are listed as follows:

  • Section 2800.3 – WILLFUL FLIGHT CAUSING DEATH – $100,000
  • Section 2800.2 – ATTEMPT TO EVADE PEACE OFFICER – $50,000
  • Section 10851(c) – THEFT – EMERGENCY VEHICLE – $50,000
  • Section 23104(b) – RECKLESS DRIVING: GREAT BODILY INJURY WITH PRIOR – $50,000
  • Section 23110(b) – THROWING MISSILE WITH INTENT TO DO SERIOUS BODILY HARM – $50,000
  • Section 38318(b) – THROW SUBSTANCE AT OFF-ROAD VEHICLE WITH INTENT TO DO GREAT BODILY HARM – $50,000
  • Section 38318.5(b) – PLACE CABLE, CHAIN, ROPE – WITH INTENT TO DO GREAT BODILY HARM – $50,000
  • Section 10851(a) – THEFT – NON-EMERGENCY VEHICLE – $20,000

According to the 2019 Bail Schedule, the following bail enhancements apply to felony offenses listed in the vehicle code:

  • Section 20001(c) – FLEEING THE SCENE OF THE CRIME AFTER COMMISSION OF VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER is enhanced by $50,000
  • Section 23566(C) – FOUR OR MORE PRIOR CONVICTIONS OF SPECIFIED ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSE WITH CURRENT CONVICTION OF DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE AND CAUSING GREAT BODILY INJURY is enhanced by $30,000
  • Section 23558 – MULTIPLE VICTIMS – RESULT OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS is enhanced by $10,000

The misdemeanor bail schedule for vehicular code crimes includes the following presumptive amounts:

  • Section 14601.2 – DRIVING WHILE LICENSE SUSPENDED OR REVOKED (DWLSR) FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI) – $5,000
  • Section 14601.4 – DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE CAUSING INJURY – $5,000
  • Section 23152(a) – DUI – ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUGS – $5,000
  • Section 23152(b) – DUI  – ALCOHOL/DRUGS BLOOD OVER .08% – $5,000
  • Section 23152(c) – DUI – ALCOHOL/DRUGS – $5,000
  • Section 23152(d) – DUI – COMMERCIAL DRIVER W/BAC .04% – $5,000
  • Section 2800.1 – EVADE PEACE OFFICER – $5,000
  • Section 20002(A)  – HIT AND RUN – $5,000
  • Section 23247(a) – DEFEATING INTERLOCK DEVICE – $5,000

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Additional Resources

California Vehicle Code 2019 – Find the most commonly prosecuted crimes listed on the California vehicle code violations chart. Law enforcement officers often carry a cheat sheet with them listing the crimes and infractions found in the full text and index of the California Vehicle Code. Officers in training also use the cheat sheets while studying for examinations in the academy.


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Vehicle Code Crimes Lawyer in Ventura, CA

Driving can be part of your everyday life, and under California law, many motor vehicle codes are charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Being charged with a vehicle code violation can lead to points being deducted from your California DMV driving record, which can eventually impact your insurance. Having multiple deductions in a short period of time can have its consequences, such as your license being suspended. If you would like to contest a ticket and have been charged with any vehicle code violations, it is essential to have an experienced attorney.

It is crucial to retain a lawyer if you would like to object to a ticket. Having an experienced lawyer can assist you in multiple ways; for instance, the defense attorney can be able to minimize the charges or dismiss them. Furthermore, having an attorney represent you means that you would not have to appear in court. Consult with an experienced attorney at Jay Leiderman call at (805) 654-0200

Jay Leiderman Law has experience with criminal cases ranging from abuse, petty theft, DUI offenses to murder. Having an attorney represent you at the earliest stages of your charges can increase the results of a positive outcome. Call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200


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