DMV Point System in California
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The Department of Motor Vehicles uses a "point system" to rate driving records, starting each driver with a clean driving record. A traffic ticket, however, can change all that. These are examples of one-point incidents:
- A minor moving violation (traffic ticket).
- Issues involving certain vehicle mechanics or additional equipment, such as brake issues and child safety seat violations.
These will get you two points:
- Reckless driving
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license
- Hit-and-run accident
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
As you acquire points, you place yourself in danger of losing your driver's license. The DMV has the right to suspend or revoke your driving privileges if you accumulate a certain number of points over a set period of time.
- Four points within a 12-month period
- Six points in a 24-month period
- Eight points in a 36-month period
Contrary to popular thought, driving records are not automatically cleared of all points once the points are over a year old.
When you apply for auto insurance, and every time you renew, your insurance company checks your driving record. If you've amassed points, you'll pay more, or even be booted.
The DMV will notify drivers when points are logged against their driving records. Once you have received half of the points required for a license revocation, the DMV will send you a warning letter.
Once you get within a single point of the revocation limit, the DMV will send you a Notice of Intent to Suspend, letting you know that you perilously close to losing your license.
If your driver's license is suspended due to points, the DMV will mail you an Order of Probation/Suspension.
A commercial driver's license holder in California will incur points at one and one-half the rate of a noncommercial driver.
Time will clear your record of any points logged against it. Here is a breakdown of how long each point infraction will remain on your driving record:
- One-point additions to a driving record are usually cleared after three years.
- Points for serious violations like DUI and hit-and-run incidents stay on for 10 years.
- Failure to appear in court for any traffic violation will remain on the driving record for five years. Failure to appear in court for a DUI will remain on record for 10 years.
Don't break the law.
But if you find yourself with a ticket, you might be able to attend traffic school to keep the points from being added to your record. Two point infractions, however, cannot be dismissed with traffic school. If you've got a lot of points, consider consulting an attorney specializing in traffic tickets.
Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. From time to time it's smart to verify that your license is in good standing and that no errors have been made on your driving record.
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