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How Many Points Can You Get on Your License in California?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2019

Violating a traffic law in California can result in points on your license. The point system serves to punish drivers for moving violations. If you accrue too many points on your driver’s license, you could lose your driving privileges. Understanding how the point system works can help you avoid losing your license due to too many points.

How the Point System Works in California

California promotes smart, safe, and prudent driver behaviors by punishing offenders with points. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has assigned each moving violation with one or more points associated with that crime. Depending on the infraction, you could receive one or two points for a traffic ticket, and one point for a traffic accident. If you accumulate too many points within a certain period of time, you could face a range of penalties.

More minor traffic offenses will result in one point on your driver’s license. These infractions may include unsafe lane changes, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, turning without a turn signal, or running a red light. If you cause an at-fault car accident, you could also receive one point on your license. More serious infractions will lead to a two-point penalty. These include reckless driving, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended/revoked license, or causing a hit-and-run accident. Commercial drivers will receive points of 1.5 times the usual value.

When the DMV assigns a point to a driver’s license, the point becomes part of the driving record. The DMV keeps a record of every driver’s license, convictions, and accidents in the state of California. Your driving record is also part of public information. It is possible for an employer, for example, to access your driving record and see the offenses you have committed. This could prevent you from getting certain jobs involving driving, picking up passengers, or making deliveries.

Penalties for Points on Your Driving Record

Accruing points on your license tells the state that you are a negligent or reckless operator. This can result in consequences for you, the driver. First, the California DMV will send you a warning letter when you reach two points within one year, four points in two years, or six points in three years. These are Level 1 point offenses that will typically only result in warnings. At the next level, the DMV will send you a letter of intent to suspend your driver’s license.

  • Three points within one year
  • Five points within two years
  • Seven points within three years

At this stage, you will have the chance to defend yourself and explain why you accrued so many points in such a short period of time. Otherwise, the DMV will suspend your driving privileges for the specified amount of time. If you receive four, six, or eight points within the same timeframes, the DMV will have the power to suspend your license and put you under probation. If you fail to pay, fail to appear, cause an accident during probation, or commit other specific crimes, the DMV will suspend your license and send a Violation of NOTS Probation notice. A traffic lawyer may be able to help you defend yourself and avoid serious penalties for acquiring too many points on your driving record in California.