Understanding the California License Points System

Understanding the California License Points System

Today, nearly all states utilize a points system for driver’s licenses. Drivers receive points on their driving record when they commit certain offenses. Once a driver has accumulated a certain number of points, that driver may face license suspension or revocation. Due to the accumulation of points, most drivers facing a license suspension for points do so through multiple minor offenses, rather than one or two large offenses which carry more points. Thus, those minor offenses which seem trivial can ultimately result in the major headache of having your license suspended. To ensure that you don’t face license suspension, consulting with an experienced traffic attorney following traffic violation is essential.

At Cheap Traffic Attorneys, we understand that handling traffic tickets can be an overwhelming as well as annoying. We also understand that it can be tempting to simply pay the ticket rather than contest it due to the required court appearance involved in the latter. However, failing to contest a ticket often results in fines and points on your driving record. Understanding this issue, we have created a unique law firm –- one that offers affordable legal services focused on resolving traffic tickets and other driving offenses at an affordable rate. Rather than paying the fine and accepting the penalties associated with the offense, come to us. We offer you a low-cost opportunity to contest the ticket and save time and money in the long-run. While you’re busy with your day, we will appear on your behalf in court and contest the ticket to protect your finances and driving record. If you have received a traffic ticket or other driving-related offense, please contact our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles’ Point System

Like most states, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) utilizes a points system to monitor repeat driving infractions and traffic offenses. Under California law, the DMV may revoke or suspend your driver’s license through automatic suspension or point accumulation. While automatic suspension results from more serious offenses such as driving without insurance, drinking while underage, driving under the influence (DUI), refusing a test for drugs or alcohol following an arrest for DUI/DWI, or failing to appear in court for a traffic violation. A license suspension from the points system occurs over time through multiple offenses. In California, a driver may face driver’s license suspension or revocation if he or she accumulates: (i) 4 points within 12 months, (ii) 6 points within 24 months, or (iii) 8 points within 36 months. The number of points you receive for an offense depends on the specific offense. The point is accrued on the driver’s license on the date of conviction, not on the date of violation.

Accumulating Points on Your California Driving Record

In California, traffic offenses carry penalties of 1 or 2 license points per offense in addition to fines and other penalties prescribed by law. For more serious offenses, 2 points will be added to your driving record. Traffic offenses resulting in 2 points being added to your driving record include:

  • Operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license
  • Hit and run collisions resulting in damage or injury
  • Driving at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour
  • Evading law enforcement
  • Reckless driving

Comparably, traffic offenses resulting in 1 point being added to your driving record include:

Once you are issued a traffic ticket, you have two options: pay the ticket or contest the ticket. While paying the ticket may seem easier, especially because it doesn’t involve an attorney, paying the ticket is a major mistake. If you pay the ticket, you will receive one or two points on your driving record. However, if you contest the ticket, the points may not be added to your driving record until the case is finalized with a conviction.

If a driver has three points on the driver’s license within 12 months, it is important to try to delay any additional conviction for a fourth point for as long as possible so that the driver will not accrue the fourth point within 12 months and have the driver’s license suspended as a negligent operator.

A string of traffic violations can quickly add up and cost you more than just time and money –- they can cost you your driver’s license. Thankfully, points on your driving record are not permanent and may be removed.

Removing Points from Your California Driving Record

While points can be removed from your California driving record, they generally take much longer to be removed than to be added. For single-point violations such as speeding and illegal U-turns, the point you receive for the violation will remain on your record for 36 months. However, if you are charged with more serious offenses it will take longer for the points to be removed. For example, if you receive points on your California driving record for a DUI/DWI, those points will remain on your driving record for at least 10 years. In some instances, the points can remain on your driving record for even longer.

Penalties for Accumulating Too Many Points

The California DMV monitors driving records to ensure that all licensed drivers have not accumulated more points on their California driving record than statutorily allowed. Once the California DMV recognizes that your driving record exceeds the number of points allowable, it will suspend your driver’s license.

Los Angeles and Orange County Traffic Attorney

At Cheap Traffic Attorneys, we have successfully defended the citizens of Orange County and Los Angeles against more than 10,000 traffic tickets. Our business model provides the best value services available in Southern California, which ensure that you can afford to protect your California driving record. For recent examples of how we have helped others in your situation, please visit our success stories page. If you have received a traffic ticket please contact our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation or submit your ticket information through our website.