Article 4. Service Of Process of California Vehicle Code >> Division 9. >> Chapter 1. >> Article 4.
As used in this chapter, "nonresident" means a person who is
not a resident of this State at the time the accident or collision
The acceptance by a nonresident of the rights and privileges
conferred upon him by this code or any operation by himself or agent
of a motor vehicle anywhere within this state, or in the event the
nonresident is the owner of a motor vehicle then by the operation of
the vehicle anywhere within this state by any person with his express
or implied permission, is equivalent to an appointment by the
nonresident of the director or his successor in office to be his true
and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful processes in
any action or proceeding against the nonresident operator or
nonresident owner growing out of any accident or collision resulting
from the operation of any motor vehicle anywhere within this state by
himself or agent, which appointment shall also be irrevocable and
binding upon his executor or administrator.
Where the nonresident has died prior to the commencement of
an action brought pursuant to this article, service of process shall
be made on the executor or administrator of the nonresident in the
same manner and on the same notice as is provided in the case of the
nonresident. Where an action has been duly commenced under the
provisions of this article by service upon a defendant who dies
thereafter, the court shall allow the action to be continued against
his executor or administrator upon motion with such notice as the
court deems proper.
The acceptance of rights and privileges under this code or
any operation of a motor vehicle anywhere within this state as
specified in Section 17451 shall be a signification of the
irrevocable agreement of the nonresident, binding as well upon his
executor or administrator, that process against him which is served
in the manner provided in this article shall be of the same legal
force and validity as if served on him personally in this state.
Service of process shall be made by leaving one copy of the
summons and complaint in the hands of the director or in his office
at Sacramento or by mailing either by certified or registered mail,
addressee only, return receipt requested, the copy of the summons and
complaint to the office of the director in Sacramento. Service shall
be effective as of the day the return receipt is received from the
director's office. A fee of two dollars ($2) for each nonresident to
be served shall be paid to the director at the time of service of the
copy of the summons and complaint and such service shall be a
sufficient service on the nonresident subject to compliance with
A notice of service and a copy of the summons and complaint
shall be forthwith sent by registered mail by the plaintiff or his
attorney to the defendant. Personal service of the notice and a copy
of the summons and complaint upon the defendant wherever found
outside this State shall be the equivalent of service by mail.
Proof of compliance with Section 17455 shall be made in the
event of service by mail by affidavit of the plaintiff or his
attorney showing said mailing, together with the return receipt of
the United States post office bearing the signature of the defendant.
The affidavit and receipt shall be appended to the original summons
which shall be filed with the court from out of which the summons
issued within such time as the court may allow for the return of the
In the event of personal service outside this State, compliance
with Section 17455 may be proved by the return of any duly
constituted public officer, qualified to serve like process of and in
the state or jurisdiction where the defendant is found, showing such
service to have been made. The return shall be appended to the
original summons which shall be filed as aforesaid.
The court in which the action is pending may order such
continuances as may be necessary to afford the defendant reasonable
opportunity to defend the action.
The director shall keep a record of all process served upon
him under this article which record shall show the day and hour of
The acceptance by a resident of this state of a certificate
of ownership or a certificate of registration of any motor vehicle or
any renewal thereof, issued under the provisions of this code, shall
constitute the consent by the person that service of summons may be
made upon him within or without this state, whether or not he is then
a resident of this state, in any action brought in the courts of
this state upon a cause of action arising in this state out of the
ownership or operation of the vehicle.
The acceptance or retention by a resident of this state of a
driver's license issued pursuant to the provisions of this code,
shall constitute the consent of the person that service of summons
may be made upon him within or without this state, whether or not he
is then a resident of this state, in any action brought in the courts
of this state upon a cause of action arising in this state out of
his operation of a motor vehicle anywhere within this state.
In the event summons is served outside of this state,
pursuant to Sections 17459 and 17460, it may be served and proof of
service shall be made, in the manner provided by Sections 17454,
17455, and 17456 for service of summons upon a nonresident, or it may
be served pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 413.10) of
Title 5 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
In the event of service outside the State, the person so
served shall have 60 days in which to appear in the action in which
the summons is issued.
Notwithstanding any provisions of Section 351 of the Code of
Civil Procedure to the contrary, when summons may be personally
served upon a person as provided in Sections 17459 and 17460, the
time of his absence from this State is part of the time limited for
the commencement of the action described in those sections, except
when he is out of this State and cannot be located through the
exercise of reasonable diligence, except this section in no event
shall be applicable in any action or proceeding commenced on or
before September 7, 1956.