General Provisions of California Vehicle Code
This act shall be known as the Vehicle Code.
The provisions of this code, insofar as they are substantially
the same as existing provisions relating to the same subject matter,
shall be construed as restatements and continuations thereof and not
as new enactments.
All persons who, at the time this code goes into effect, hold
office under the code repealed by this code, which offices are
continued by this code, continue to hold them according to their
No action or proceeding commenced before this code takes effect,
and no right accrued, is affected by the provisions of this code,
but all procedure thereafter taken therein shall conform to the
provisions of this code so far as possible.
If any portion of this code is held unconstitutional, such
decision shall not affect the validity of any other portion of this
Unless the provision or the context otherwise requires, these
general provisions and rules of construction shall govern the
construction of this code.
Division, chapter, and article headings do not in any manner
affect the scope, meaning, or intent of the provisions of this code.
Whenever, by the provisions of this code, a power is granted to
a public officer or a duty imposed upon such an officer, the power
may be exercised or the duty performed by a deputy of the officer or
by a person authorized pursuant to law by the officer.
Whenever any notice, report, statement, or record is required by
this code, it shall be made in writing in the English language.
Whenever any reference is made to any portion of this code or
of any other law, such reference shall apply to all amendments and
additions heretofore or hereafter made.
"Section" means a section of this code unless some other
statute is specifically mentioned and "subdivision" means a
subdivision of the section in which that term occurs unless some
other section is expressly mentioned.
The present tense includes the past and future tenses; and the
future, the present.
The masculine gender includes the feminine and neuter.
The singular number includes the plural, and the plural the
"Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive.
"Oath" includes affirmation.
"Signature" or "subscription" includes mark when the signer or
subscriber cannot write, such signer's or subscriber's name being
written near the mark by a witness who writes his own name near the
signer's or subscriber's name; but a signature or subscription by
mark can be acknowledged or can serve as a signature or subscription
to a sworn statement only when two witnesses so sign their own names
Officers and employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles and
the Department of the California Highway Patrol are, for the purposes
of this code, authorized to administer oaths and acknowledge
signatures, for which no fee shall be charged.
Whenever the acknowledgement of any document is required by
this code or any regulation of either department, the signature of
the applicant attested to in his presence by the signature of a
subscribing witness is sufficient.
It is unlawful to use a false or fictitious name, or to
knowingly make any false statement or knowingly conceal any material
fact in any document filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles or
the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of
this code are applicable and uniform throughout the state and in all
counties and municipalities therein, and a local authority shall not
enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution on the matters covered
by this code, including ordinances or resolutions that establish
regulations or procedures for, or assess a fine, penalty, assessment,
or fee for a violation of, matters covered by this code, unless
expressly authorized by this code.
(b) To the extent permitted by current state law, this section
does not impair the current lawful authority of the Mountains
Recreation and Conservation Authority, a joint powers authority, or
any member agency constituted therein as of July 1, 2010, to enforce
an ordinance or resolution relating to the management of public lands
within its jurisdiction.
Whenever notice is required to be given under this code by a
department or any division, officer, employee, or agent, the notice
shall be given either by personal delivery to the person to be
notified, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by mailing
the notice, postage prepaid, addressed to the person at his or her
address as shown by the records of the department.
The giving of notice by personal delivery is complete upon
delivery of a copy of the notice to the person to be notified. The
giving of notice by mail is complete upon the expiration of four days
after deposit of the notice in the mail, except that in the case of
a notice informing any person of an offense against him under Section
40001, the notice is complete 10 days after mailing.
Proof of the giving of notice may be made by the certificate of
any officer, employee, or agent of the Department of Motor Vehicles
and the Department of the California Highway Patrol or of any peace
officer, or by an affidavit of any person over 18 years of age,
naming the person to whom the notice was given and specifying the
time, place, and manner of the giving of the notice.
All civil process in actions brought against the director and
the Department of Motor Vehicles and all subpoenas for the
production of department records shall be served upon the director or
his appointed representatives at the department's headquarters.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to display or cause or permit
to be displayed any sign, mark, or advertisement indicating an
official connection with either the Department of Motor Vehicles or
the Department of the California Highway Patrol unless such person
has lawful authority, permission, or right to make such display.
(b) It is unlawful for the holder of any occupational license
issued pursuant to Division 5 (commencing with Section 11100) to use
the initials "DMV," the Department of Motor Vehicles logogram, or the
words "Department of Motor Vehicles" in any business name or
telephone number. No occupational licensee may use the initials,
logogram, or words in any advertisement in a way that indicates, or
could be construed to indicate, any official connection with the
Department of Motor Vehicles other than as a licensee.
It is unlawful for any person to falsely represent himself or
herself in any manner as an employee of the Department of Motor
Vehicles for the purpose of obtaining records or information to which
he or she is not entitled.
Any person who without authority impersonates, or wears the
badge of, a member of the California Highway Patrol with intention to
deceive anyone is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(a) Whenever possession is taken of any vehicle by or on behalf
of its legal owner under the terms of a security agreement or lease
agreement, the person taking possession shall contact, for the
purpose of providing the information required pursuant to subdivision
(d), within one hour after taking possession of the vehicle, by the
most expeditious means available, the city police department where
the taking of possession occurred, if within an incorporated city, or
the sheriff's department of the county where the taking of
possession occurred, if outside an incorporated city, or the police
department of a campus of the University of California or the
California State University, if the taking of possession occurred on
that campus. If, after an attempt to notify, law enforcement is
unable to receive and record the notification required pursuant to
subdivision (d), the person taking possession of the vehicle shall
continue to attempt notification until the information required
pursuant to subdivision (d) is provided.
(b) If possession is taken of more than one vehicle, the
possession of each vehicle shall be considered and reported as a
(c) Any person failing to notify the city police department,
sheriff's department, or campus police department as required by this
section is guilty of an infraction, and shall be fined a minimum of
three hundred dollars ($300), and up to five hundred dollars ($500).
The district attorney, city attorney, or city prosecutor shall
promptly notify the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of
any conviction resulting from a violation of this section.
(d) For the notification required by this section, the person
shall report only the following information and in the following
(1) The approximate location of the repossession.
(2) The date and approximate time of the repossession.
(3) The vehicle year, make, and model.
(4) The last six digits of the vehicle identification number.
(5) The registered owner as provided on the repossession
(6) The legal owner requesting the repossession as provided on the
(7) The name of the repossession agency.
(8) The telephone number of the repossession agency.
Wherever any notice or other communication is required by this
code to be mailed by registered mail by or to any person or
corporation, the mailing of such notice or other communication by
certified mail shall be deemed to be a sufficient compliance with the
requirements of law.
It is declared as a matter of legislative policy that red
lights and sirens on vehicles should be restricted to authorized
emergency vehicles engaged in police, fire and lifesaving services;
and that other types of vehicles which are engaged in activities
which create special hazards upon the highways should be equipped
with flashing amber warning lamps.
No person shall give, either orally or in writing, information
to a peace officer while in the performance of his duties under the
provisions of this code when such person knows that the information
Whenever local authorities are given the power to take action
by ordinance pursuant to Division 11 (commencing with Section 21000)
and Division 15 (commencing with Section 35000), they shall also have
the power to take such action by resolution.