The point system is used in the state of California to monitor the driving habits of all licensed drivers.

Below you’ll find the basic information you need to know about the DMV point system in California along with common violations that could result in a suspension of your driver’s license.

CA Point System: How It Works

When you receive a traffic ticket in California, points are assigned to your driving record. The number of points you receive for each violation will depend upon the type of infraction you are convicted of.

Some or all of your driving privileges may be revoked or suspended in California if:

  • You receive 4 points or more within 12 months.
  • You receive 6 points or more with 24 months.
  • You receive 8 points or more within 36 months.

Other violations that may result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license include:

  • Lack of insurance at the time of an accident.
  • A DUI conviction.
  • Drinking while underage.
  • Not appearing in court for a traffic ticket or other violation.
  • Refusing a test for drugs or alcohol.

Teen Drivers

If you are under 18 years old, the penalties for a traffic infraction are more severe. In California, a minor’s provisional license may be:

  • Suspended if you receive:
    • 3 points within 12 months.
    • A traffic conviction and fail to pay the required fines.
  • Restricted for 30 days if you receive 2 points within 12 months.
  • Suspended for 1 year for the use of alcohol or drugs.
    • Penalty is for individuals between the ages of 13 and 21 years old.

Common CA DMV Point Violations

For convicted traffic infractions, drivers will have points placed on their driver license record depending on the severity of the infraction. Note that if you are driving a commercial vehicle when you are cited, the points are worth 1 1/2 times the standard point amount.

For a full list of violations, please visit the California DMV’s point schedule.

1-Point Offenses

If you commit any of the following offenses in California, 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 can result in 2 points being placed on your driving record in California:

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

Clearing Your CA Driving Record

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 CA driving record:

  • Violations adding 1 point to your driving record are usually cleared after 39 months.
  • 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 your driving record for 5 years.
  • Failure to appear in court for a DUI will remain on record for 10 years.

Defensive Driving Courses

For some traffic infractions in California, you may be able to attend a CA traffic school, also referred to as defensive driving, in order to keep points from being added to your license.

You may be eligible for traffic school if:

  • You possess a valid California driver’s license.
  • The violation occurred in a non-commercial passenger vehicle.
  • The offense was a moving violation.
    • Non-moving violations such as parking tickets are not eligible for traffic school.

Offenses that will disqualify you from traffic school include:

  • Violations related to non-moving offenses.
  • Violations that result in a misdemeanor conviction.
  • Infractions that occur in a commercial vehicle.
  • Offenses that require a mandatory appearance in court.
  • Offenses related to alcohol.

Since points for traffic violations can increase insurance premiums, successfully completing a defensive driving course may also help to lower your rates.

Check the Status of Your CA Driver’s License

Whenever you need or want to check the status of your California driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. From time to time it’s smart to verify that your driver’s license is in good standing and that no errors have been made on your driving record.