It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Get your ticket dismissed online.
Well, while the process itself isn’t quite as easy as you might first imagine, there is an effective way to remove points from your license so you don’t run the risk of having your license suspended.
It first requires a bit of understanding of the California traffic point system and then you can determine if you’re able to dismiss traffic tickets and their accompanying license points.
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How Do Points Get On Your License?
Like the rest of the states, certain driving offenses will put points on your license. These marks against you encourage drivers to be safe and also help the state keep track of drivers’ behavior. Luckily, not all traffic tickets automatically mean you get a point on your license. Non-moving violations won’t put you at risk for getting points on your license—so parking tickets, fix-it tickets that are related to maintaining your car, or lack of a front plate. These are offenses, but they don’t involve the motion or operation of a car.
Moving violations are what you need to worry about when we’re talking about points on your license and having them removed. There are 1- and 2-point violations in California, and they all involve actions committed by the driver while the car is in motion. You can see a full list of the violations on the California DMV’s website.
VIDEO: How The California Point System Works
Common 1-point violations include:
- Disobedience to traffic signs/controller
- Driving in a bicycle lane
- Driving on sidewalk
- Marijuana or open container/driving
- Illegal movement/green light/arrow
- Illegal passing
- Maximum speed 70 mph
Common 2-point violations include:
- Driving wrong side/divided highway
- Hit and run/injury/property damage
- Reckless driving
- Speed over 100 MPH
- Driving while suspended/revoked
A single offense may not be your biggest concern, but it could potentially lead to bigger problems down the road. Your main concern is getting too many points on your license in a certain period of time.
First, it helps to know that points will not stay on your license forever. They will stay there for several years, depending on the violation, and can even be there for a decade. Don’t worry, though—that’s for the harshest of offenses. Most violations, like speeding tickets, illegal turns, or failing to come to a complete stop will only be there for 3 years.
The state of California may deem you a negligent operator and suspend your license if you accrue:
- 4 points in one year (12 months)
- 6 points in two years (24 months)
- Or 8 points in three years (36 months)
Because this can result in suspension of your license, we highly encourage you to take any and all precautions against even one point on your license. After all, they don’t disappear immediately and can add up quickly. Preventative measures are the best way to ensure you never have to deal with losing your license!
The real question, of course, is: how do I remove points from my license? You might imagine that paying the fine from your ticket will do the trick, but that is not so; instead, it’s important to know your options so you can act appropriately after any traffic violation.
Before you get too excited about removing points from your license, though, it’s also good to check and see if you’re even eligible. Some violations will be considered while others will not. For example, Alcohol-related offenses (DUIs), violations that require a mandatory court appearance, misdemeanors, and any violations that involve a commercial vehicle and/or commercial vehicle license cannot be removed. However, if your moving violation would not fall into one of those categories, then you can proceed with trying to get the points removed!
You also won’t be eligible if you’ve already taken traffic school for a different ticket within the last 18 months.
There are three ways that you can attempt to remove points: appeal the court, play the waiting game, or take a defensive driving class.
Option 1: Appeal The Court
If you’ve been charged with an offense and there is not sufficient evidence against you, you may be in luck. Additionally, this is a great option for first-time offenders who have a pristine driving record otherwise. Some people go into court and base their defense on the fact that they have a clean driving history and that human error was at play. This is certainly a stressful option, but we would be remiss not to mention it.
Option 2: Play The Waiting Game
Yes, you could just wait it out for your points to be removed. Time will clear your record of any points, eventually—although you could be waiting quite a while. To give you an idea:
- 1-point violations usually clear after 39 months on your record.
- DUI and hit-and-run incidents stay on for about 13 years.
- Failing to appear in court for a traffic violation stays on your record for 5 years.
- Failing to appear in court for a DUI stays on record for 13 years.
This is a passive approach but could work if you dedicate yourself to the highest driving standards following your violation.
This is also ideal if you haven’t accumulated a lot of points on your driving record and you can afford just a point or two added to it.
Option 3: Take A Defensive Driving Class
For certain infractions, you can attend a California traffic school, or defensive driving class, to keep points from being added to your license. You’re eligible if:
- You have a California driver’s license.
- The offense occurred in a non-commercial vehicle.
- It was a moving violation.
Despite these requirements, the court still has the final say on whether you’re allowed to take a traffic school or not. This will be in a notice where a due date for traffic school completion will be stated.
Note: You cannot take traffic school and get your points removed without going to court. The court will need to issue a notice about sending you to a traffic school.
The course will refresh you on the rules of the road, and if you complete it within 90 days of your ticket, you won’t ever see that point on your license. And luckily, in California, you’re able to take this course all online, at your own pace, and on your own time. The state shows compassion and makes it more convenient to become a safer driver by taking the defensive driving course online to dismiss your ticket. This is the most proactive and guaranteed way to remove a point from your license, keep your record clean, and even potentially improve your insurance premiums.
However, this doesn’t mean that your violation is erased. It will still be recorded in the DMV, but it will be stated as a ‘confidential conviction’. You will also be required to pay for the traffic fine, the administrative fees, and the traffic school course.
Nonetheless, no point or violation will show up on your driving record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a traffic school required to remove points in California?
Not all violations and points will be eligible for traffic school.
But when you are eligible, the court will have to give you a notice allowing you to take a course. This will be the basis for removing your points.
How many points are removed by a traffic school in California?
One point is removed from your driving record when you take traffic school before the due date assigned by the court.
The points that are removed will not reflect in your driving record but will still be recorded in the DMV.
How much is California Traffic School?
In general, traffic school courses are priced at an average of $30. Aceable is one of the most affordable online traffic schools that offer discounts for enrollees.