Business Law

Business Law News 2014, Issue 4

Practice Tips Under Alternative A (the New Driver’s License Rule)1

John R. Engel

John R. Engel is a shareholder at Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel in San Diego. He is Co-Chair of the Commercial Transactions Committee of the Business Law Section, and has more than forty-five years experience as a transactional lawyer in corporate, real estate, commercial and business law. He has served as an arbitrator, expert witness, adjunct professor of law, panelist and contributor to professional publications and is admitted to practice in California and New York.

California has changed the way in which an individual debtor is to be identified on a financing statement under Commercial Code section 9503. Assembly Bill No. 18582 was approved by the Governor on August 25, 2014, to take effect January 1, 2015. It adopted Alternative A, also known as the "only if" option or the driver’s license rule. If an individual debtor holds an unexpired driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, then a financing statement sufficiently identifies the debtor only if it provides the name of the individual as indicated on the driver’s license or identification card (the "license name requirement"). Absent such a license or card, then the financing statement sufficiently identifies the debtor only if it provides the individual name of the debtor or the surname and first personal name of the debtor (the "individual name requirement"), which was the only standard previously provided by section 9503.3 These rules apply only when the debtor’s principal residence is in California. If the debtor has more than one unexpired license or card, the most recently issued is the source document.

Transition Rules (new sections 9901-9907):

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