Health and Safety Code – HSC § 43012
(a) For the purpose of enforcing or administering any federal, state, or local law, order, regulation, or rule relating to vehicular sources of emissions, the executive officer of the state board or an authorized representative of the executive officer, or a representative of the department, upon presentation of credentials or, if necessary under the circumstances, after obtaining an inspection warrant pursuant to Title 13 (commencing with Section 1822.50 ) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, has the right of entry to any premises owned, operated, used, leased, or rented by any new or used car dealer, as defined in Sections 285 , 286 , and 426 of the Vehicle Code , for the purpose of inspecting any vehicle for which emissions standards have been enacted or adopted or for which emissions equipment is required and which is situated on the premises for the purpose of emission-related maintenance, repair, or service, or for the purpose of sale, lease, or rental, whether or not the vehicle is owned by the dealer. The inspection may extend to all emission-related parts and operations of the vehicle, and may require the on-premises operation of an engine or vehicle, the on-premises securing of samples of emissions from the vehicle, and the inspection of any records which relate to vehicular emissions required by the Environmental Protection Agency or by any state or local law, order, regulation, or rule to be maintained by the dealer in connection with the dealer’s business.
(b) The right of entry for inspection under this section is limited to the hours during which the dealer is open to the public, except when the entry is made pursuant to warrant or whenever the executive officer or an authorized representative, or a representative of the department, has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of any federal, state, or local law, order, regulation, or rule has been committed in his or her presence. No vehicle shall be inspected pursuant to this section more than one time without an inspection warrant or without reasonable cause unless the vehicle undergoes a change of ownership or the inspection reveals that the vehicle has failed to comply with required emissions standards or equipment, in which case one additional inspection may be made to verify the violation or to verify that the violation has been corrected.
(c) With respect to vehicles not owned by the dealer, the state board or the department may not prosecute, without the owner’s knowledge or consent, any violation by the owner of any law pertaining to vehicular emissions unless prior notice of the inspection has been given to the owner.
(d) If the executive officer or authorized representative, or a representative of the department, upon inspection, finds that a used motor vehicle fails to comply with applicable emissions standards or equipment, the state board or the department shall issue a notice to correct and enter the appropriate vehicle information into the centralized computer data base created pursuant to Section 44037.1 . Until all violations in the notice have been corrected and the dealer has sent proof of correction by certified mail to the state board or the department, whichever issued the notice, the motor vehicle shall prominently display the following disclosure affixed to the windshield in at least 18-point type:
NOT FOR SALETHIS VEHICLE IS PRESENTLY NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA VEHICLE POLLUTION CONTROL LAWS AND MAY NOT BE SOLD UNTIL A VALID CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE HAS BEEN ISSUED.
Any dealer who sells a vehicle prohibited to be sold under this subdivision is subject to a civil penalty of not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). For purposes of this subdivision, “proof of correction” shall consist of a copy of a certificate of compliance or noncompliance issued following the issuance of a notice to correct by a licensed test station or licensed repair station not affiliated with or owned by the dealer or any other proof of repair satisfactory to the inspecting officer. The dealer shall send the copy of the certificate of compliance or noncompliance by certified mail to the state board or the department, whichever issued the notice, within three days of obtaining the certificate.
(e) Civil penalties may be assessed or recovered for one or more violations by a dealer involving the tampering with or disabling of a vehicle’s air injection, exhaust gas recirculation, crankcase ventilation, fuel injection or carburetion systems, ignition timing or evaporative controls, fuel filler neck restrictor, oxygen sensor or electronic controls, or missing catalytic converter.
(f) No civil penalty or criminal penalty may be assessed for a violation by a dealer identified in a notice to correct as a result of an inspection under this section if the violation is related to lack of maintenance or customer tampering or vandalism, including, but not limited to, a missing gasoline filler cap and a disconnected or missing heated air intake tube or vacuum hose. However, if notices to correct are issued under this subdivision to more than 20 percent of the vehicles offered for sale on a dealer’s premises during each of three consecutive inspections conducted 30 or more days apart during any one-year period, civil penalties may be assessed and recovered for each vehicle issued a notice to correct.
(g) If the executive officer or authorized representative, upon inspection, finds that a certificate of compliance or noncompliance was issued to a motor vehicle that fails to comply with applicable emissions standards or equipment, the state board shall immediately refer these findings to the department for investigation under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 44000 ). The state board may refer any other suspected violation to the department for appropriate action.
(h) Notwithstanding Section 17150 of the Vehicle Code , the state shall be liable for any injury or damage caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the operator of any vehicle which is operated pursuant to this section.
(i) This section provides the exclusive authority for inspections of motor vehicles for the purposes specified in this section.
(j) As used in this section, the terms “tampering” and “disabling” mean an unauthorized modification, alteration, removal, or disconnection.