How Does the California Traffic Point System Work

Every state has a point system for traffic violations, and California is no different. These point systems are used to keep track of the driving records of all licensed drivers in a particular state. 

The more serious the violation, the more points you receive, and likewise with less serious violations – the less serious the violation, the more minimal your points will be. 

The amount of points given for a particular offense vary depending on your state; here, we’ll be going over the point system in California, and breaking it down for you as far as we can.

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When you receive a ticket for a traffic violation in the Golden State, as with any other, the points for the violation are assigned to your driving record. Also like any other state, the amount of points received on your license within a certain amount of time will determine whether or not your license will be revoked.

In California, some or all of your driving privileges may be revoked or suspended if you:

  • Receive 4 or more points in 12 months;
  • Receive 6 or more points in 24 months or;
  • Receive 8 or more points in 36 months.

It’s also important to note that these point systems and repercussions of receiving them are slightly more severe if you are still considered a teen – meaning that you are under the age of 18 at the time. In the state of California, minors can lose their provisional license if they receive 3 points within a year, or have been convicted of a traffic violation and fail to pay the required fines associated with that violation. As a minor, you can also have your license restricted for 30 days if you receive 2 points within a year, and suspended for a year if you are found guilty of the use of illegal drugs or alcohol, and this penalty is for those between the ages of 13 and 21.

While there are some violations that will not result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license, there are a few that will. These include a lack of insurance at the time of an accident, a DUI conviction – meaning they were able to prove without a doubt that you were intoxicated while driving – underage drinking, failure to appear in court for a traffic ticket or violation, and refusing to test for drugs and alcohol – something which is considered an admission of guilt.

Common California DMV Point Violations

As we mentioned before, the severity of the infraction decides how many points you receive on your license.

1-Point Violations

  • Disobeying a traffic officer or fire official;
  • Unsafe vehicle load;
  • Disregarding a non-student crossing guard;
  • Disregarding a funeral escort officer;
  • Violation of license restrictions;
  • Disregarding an officer’s directions;
  • Driving in the bicycle lane or on the sidewalk;
  • Illegal movement on a green, yellow, or red light/arrow;
  • Not using traffic signals;
  • Improper lane use;
  • Following too closely;

2-Point Violations

  • Reckless driving;
  • Evading a police officer;
  • Driving while suspended or revoked;
  • Driving while suspended or revoked and refusing to test for drugs and alcohol;
  • Hit and run resulting in injury or property damage;
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or highway;
  • Speed over 100 mph;
  • Reckless driving resulting in bodily injury;
  • Speed contest or exhibition of speed (racing);
  • Minor driving with a blood alcohol content of .05% or more;
  • DUI
  • DUI resulting in bodily injury or fatality;
  • Explosives transportation

These are violations that have a definite point count, but there is lots of other information on different violations that can result in points on your license, or the suspension thereof. You can find information on the complete points chart and system here.

Can I Clear My Driving Record?

There are two possible ways to clear your driving record of any points received due to a traffic violation. 

The first way is to let time clear them for you. For instance, any violation adding one point to your record will typically be cleared within 39 months (3 ¼ years). Any points received for serious violations such as DUI and hit and run accidents remain on your record for 10 years, failure to appear in court for traffic violations remain for 5 years, and failure to appear in court for a DUI remains for 10 years.

The second way to clear points from your record or possibly keep them from being added due to a violation in California is to take a traffic school course or defensive driving course. Your eligibility for this option will depend on the violation itself. 

You are eligible for the course if:

  • You possess a valid California driver’s license;
  • The violation occurred in a non-commercial passenger vehicle;
  • The offense was a moving violation.

Likewise, certain elements will disqualify your eligibility for traffic school courses, such as:

  • Violations related to non-moving offenses, such as a parking ticket;
  • Violations that result in a misdemeanor conviction;
  • Infractions that occur in a commercial vehicle;
  • Offenses that require a mandatory appearance in court;
  • Offenses related to alcohol.

If you are eligible to take a defensive driving course, whether it be in a classroom or online, doing so may also keep your insurance premium from skyrocketing due to the infraction, and in some cases may even lower it if you take them to simply better your driving knowledge and ability.

Where Can I Take an Online Defensive Driving Course in California?

Again, you may take defensive driving courses in-person or online. If you prefer a more convenient way of completing the course, you’d like to take lessons that are offered online.

Below is a list of the best online traffic schools in California. Check them out to see if you’d be interested in registering for their course.


Aceable is best recommended for drivers looking for an online traffic school or defensive driving course that is fun and easy, with a little bit of modern humor to it. They have engaging videos, animations, and 3D driving simulations that you can access conveniently through their stellar mobile app.


Another course that is known to incorporate humor to make lessons interesting is MyImprov.

They already have over 10 years of experience, providing education through their very unique “edutainment” style of teaching. They make learning exceptionally funny without losing the quality of education. Well, their courses are written by professional comedy writers and driving experts, so rest assured that their courses are very informative despite the good laughs that you’ll get while completing their courses.


You’ll appreciate the course provided byiDriveSafely if you value simplicity. This is because their courses are very straightforward. Little comedy jokes to nothing at all can be expected. They offer a standard text-based course, that although tried and tested by many drivers already, can be a bit boring if you’re not into reading long and very comprehensive course content. Their courses are aimed at people who prefer reading over watching videos.


We also have GoToTrafficSchool who made a policy that they will match the lowest price available for an online traffic school in your state. This means you can consider their course the cheapest. Yes, their course may not have the most modern user interface and design, but it remains as comprehensive and as informative as any of the above-mentioned courses. You just have to make do with a few outdated course materials for the price you are willing to pay, right?

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