California has a point system that monitors the driving habits of all licensed drivers. This point system can be complicated, so we’ve broken it down, so you know what the California point system is, how the points are calculated, and how to avoid getting points on your CA license.

What Is the California DMV Point System?

If you receive a traffic ticket in CA, points will be assigned to your driving record. You will receive a specific number of points for each violation you receive. The points you receive depend on the traffic infraction you’re convicted of. Some or all of your driving privileges can be revoked or suspended in CA if any of the following applies:

  • You receive at least 4 points within 12 months
  • You receive at least 6 points within 24 months
  • You receive at least 8 points or more within 36 months

Other traffic violations in CA can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, such as the following:

  • Lack of auto insurance at the time of an accident
  • A DUI conviction
  • Drinking while underage
  • Failing to appear in court for a traffic ticket or violation
  • Refusing a drug or alcohol test

Teenage Drivers

Teenagers who are under 18 years of age have more severe penalties for traffic violations. In California, a minor’s (individual who is younger than 18) provisional license may be suspended if they receive any of the following:

  • 3 points within 12 months
  • A traffic conviction and failure to pay the required fees

Your CA license can be restricted for 30 days if you receive 2 points within 12 months. If you use alcohol or drugs, your license will be suspended for 1 year, this penalty is for individuals between the ages of 15 and years of age.

Common Point Violations in California

If a driver is convicted of a traffic infraction, points will be placed on their driver’s license record depending on the severity of the infraction. If you are operating a commercial vehicle when you are cited for a traffic violation, the points are worth 1 ½ times the standard CA point amount. Here are different traffic offenses you need to know about.

1 Point Offenses

If you commit any of the following traffic violations/offenses in CA, 1 point may be added to your driving record:

  • Disobeying traffic signals or signs
  • Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian
  • Conducting an illegal U-turn
  • Speeding above the posted limits
  • Failure to stop for a school bus
  • Drug and alcohol offenses
  • Child safety restraint violations
  • Passing on a double-line

2-Point Offenses

The following offenses in CA can result in 2 points being placed on your driving record in CA:

  • Reckless driving
  • Evading law enforcement
  • Driving at a speed over 100 MPH
  • Transporting explosives
  • Hit-and-run collisions that result in property damage or physical injury
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license

Removing Points From Your Driving Record

In time, your record will clear any points that are logged against it. Here’s what you need to know about the length of time each point infarction will remain on your California driving record. Violations that add 1 point to your driving record are generally cleared after 36 months. Points for serious traffic violations, such as DUI and hit-and-run incidents remain on your driving record for at least 10 years. Failure to appear in court for traffic violations will remain on your driving record for at least 5 years. Failure to appear in court for a DUI will remain on your driving record for 10 years.

Defensive Driving Courses in California

For some CA traffic infractions, you can attend a California traffic school, also so known as defensive driving, which can help you with the following:

  • Have a ticket dismissed
  • Avoiding adding points to your driving record
  • Potentially earn a discount on your auto insurance policy

It’s a good idea to check with the traffic school regarding specific details about how passing a course can help you clear your driving record.

How to Check Your California Driver’s License Points

If you want to check the status of your CA driver’s license, you can order your driving record report from the CA DMV. It’s a good idea to check and verify your driver’s license record to ensure your CA license is in good standing and that no errors have been made.

What Are the Consequences of Acquiring Too Many Demerit Points

The CA DMV sends the following notices to CA drivers who accumulate a specific number of points. Depending on the points you acquire, you can expect a certain disciplinary action to occur.

First Warning Letter

The CA DMV will send you a warning letter if you receive 2 points in 12 months, 4 points in 24 months, or 6 points in 36 months. This initial letter will explain the consequences of acquiring an excessive amount of points.

Second Warning Letter

If you receive 3 points within 12 months, 5 points within 24 months, or 7 points within 36 months, you will receive a second warning letter from the CA DMV. This letter will inform you that any future violation points will result in your license being suspended.

Suspension Letter

If you accumulate 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points within 36 months, you will receive an order of probation or suspension. You will also be notified that you have been designated as a negligent operator.

The CA DMV can suspend your license for up to one year, however, the DMV usually imposes a 6-month suspension. The DMV can also place you on a 1-year probation period. If you receive any traffic violation during this probation period, the CA DMV can impose additional suspension penalties.

Auto Insurance Matters

As a condition of CA driver’s license reinstatement following a license suspension, the CA DMV can require you to maintain specific proof of auto insurance, which is an SR22, for the next 3 years.

Drivers who are under 18 years of age are subject to stricter reinforcements. Any minor who has 2 points will automatically receive a 30-day license restriction. During this period, the teenager may only operate a vehicle while under the supervision of a parent, guardian, spouse, or a licensed adult who is at least 25 years of age.

California Point System FAQ

When it comes to laws, especially traffic laws, it’s easy to get confused, so we provided answers to the most asked questions about the CA point system.

What Is an SR-22?

The Safe and Responsible Form (SR-22) is a form that your auto insurance provider must send to your state’s transportation authority to certify that you meet the state’s minimum liability coverage requirements.

What Is the California DMV Point System?

The CA DMV point system is a system the state uses to monitor licensed driver’s driving habits. This system keeps track of any points drivers accumulate due to traffic violations they are convicted of.

What Happens If You Accumulate Points On Your Driver’s License?

Getting points on your license can result in serious penalties. Depending on the number of points you accumulate within a specific time, your driver’s license could be revoked or suspended.

How Many Points Are Associated with Traffic Violations?

The traffic violations you’re convicted of determine the number of points that are placed on your driving record. Depending on the severity of the violation, you could obtain 1 to 2 points. Accumulating an excessive number of points can result in your driver’s license being suspended, revoked, or confiscated for 6 months to 1 year.

Final Thoughts

The good news is that receiving points on your license is avoidable! Always follow CA’s traffic laws and road signs to stay on the right side of the law. Remember that driving is a privilege, not a right!