The California DMV point system is a way to monitor the activity of drivers on the road, and punish people who drive dangerously. The traffic point system is a scaling system that takes extremely dangerous drivers off the road while also reminding people that driving is a privilege that should not be abused. If you receive enough points, you can have your driver’s license suspended. So if you’ve gotten a recent traffic violation, it’s important to understand how the point system works so that you don’t end up having your license suspended.


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VIDEO: How The California DMV Point System Works

How Many Points Are You Allowed

The point system is determined by a sliding scale. Any time you receive a traffic ticket in California, points will be assigned to your driving record. These points are added up and can lead to having your licenses suspended. Here is the point guidelines system:

Your driving privileges may be revoked if:

  • Within 12 months you receive 4 or more points
  • Within 24 months you receive 6 or more points
  • Within 36 months you receive 8 or more points

These penalties are much harsher for individuals under the age of 18. If a driver under the age of 18 gets 3 points within twelve months their license will be suspended.

How Are Points Distributed

In California, traffic points are weighted by the severity of the infraction. The more serious the traffic violation, the more points you will acquire. Here are how the points are assigned based on violation:

If you commit any of these traffic infractions, the state of California will assign 1 point:

  • Disobeying or disregarding traffic signs or signals like running a traffic light or a stop sign, failing to yield, or driving the wrong direction on a one-way street
  • Speeding above the posted speed limit
  • Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian
  • Passing another vehicle over double lines or on the shoulder
  • Making an illegal U-turn
  • Not stopping for a school bus
  • Not properly using child safety restraints
  • Miscellaneous drug and alcohol violations

The penalties are steeper for the following infractions. You will be assigned 2 points to your driver’s license in California if you:

  • Operate a vehicle on a suspended or revoked license
  • Drive at any speed above a 100 MPH regardless of posted speed limit
  • Commit a hit and run that resulted in either property damage or physical injury
  • Drive recklessly
  • Flee or evade law enforcement
  • Transport any explosive materials without proper authorization

Since you can get more than one violation when you are pulled over, these infractions can add up very quickly and lead to a suspension if you are not careful. However, these points are cleared from your record after 39 month from the date of the accident.


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What Infractions Lead To Automatic Suspension

Beyond the points system there are some infractions that will lead to an automatic suspension of your license. These traffic violations include:

  • Not having insurance at the time of an accident
  • Not appearing in court for any traffic ticket or other criminal violations
  • A DUI/DWI conviction
  • Refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test
  • Drinking or using drugs under the age of 18

Even if you get your license back, these violations will stay on your record for years. If you get a DUI, commit a hit and run accident, or fail to appear in court for a DUI/DWI, the violation will stay on your record for 10 years from the date of the incident. If you fail to appear in court, these violations will stay on your record for 5 years from the date of the traffic violation.

Consequences To Having Points On Your California Driver’s License

Outside of the possibility of suspension, there are some serious consequences to having traffic points on your license. The first, is that you will have higher insurance premiums. Drivers with a lot of points, increase the risk for insurance companies, so they will charge you a lot more for coverage. Also if you have too many points, you may be denied insurance coverage all together. Since the state of California requires all drivers to be insured, you could end up not being able to drive if you can’t afford your premium or you can’t get approved for insurance coverage.

Another consequence is many employers look at driver’s records to determine job eligibility. A poor driving record can prevent you from getting a good job because it shows irresponsibility. This can really be a problem if the job requires you to drive on the clock. So it is really important not to let points stack up on your license so it doesn’t impact other areas of your life.

How To Remove Points From Your License

If you have been convicted for traffic violations and have start accruing points on your license, there are some things you can do to take them off so they don’t affect your life. California allows people to take a defensive driver course to remove points from their license. However there are some state requirements in order to take a defensive driver course including:

  • You must have approval from the traffic court
  • Drivers can only take one defensive driving course every 18 months to dismiss points
  • You must have a valid driver’s license to take the course, so defensive drivers courses will not help if your license is already suspended
  • Drivers must have current valid insurance
  • The offense was not a misdemeanor or a felony
  • Your offense cannot be drug or alcohol-related
  • Tickets cannot be dismissed for violations committed with a commercial vehicle

If you meet these requirements, you can remove points from your license and get your record back on track.

Overall, the California traffic point system is a way for the state to ensure that all drivers on the road are safe. Fortunately, California is fair and understands we all make mistakes sometimes, so they give responsible drivers the opportunity to remove points from their license. So if you have points on your California driver’s license, don’t risk suspension, high insurance premiums, and possibly miss out on a great job, take a defensive drivers course to have them removed. To find a great California defensive drivers course check out our listings on Traffic School Critics. We offers reviews of different schools and can help you find the perfect program to get your driving record back on track.

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