How the DMV Point System works & what to do
On this page, you will learn:-
- How the California DMV point system works
- How you remove points from your license
- How to save your license from suspension
- How long points stay on your license
- How to check your DMV driver record for points
- Why we recommend you fight your traffic ticket
- How we can help you get a restricted license if you have 4 points or more in one year
Violations and Points on your license
Visit our Points page to find your particular violation and how many points it puts on your driver's license.
Point Count for California Vehicle Code (VC) Violations
|Section||Violation||Points on your license|
|VC 14601,14601a,14601b,14601.1- 14601.4||Driving while suspended/revoked||Two points|
|VC 14601.5||Driving, suspended/revoked for refusing test||One point|
|VC 14603||Violation of license restrictions||One point|
& Negligent Operator
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has a point system concerning drivers' licenses. If you get:-
- 4 points in one year
- 6 points in two years
- or 8 points in three years
- then the California DMV will want to suspend your license for 6 months for being a negligent operator, a driver with too many points.
If you get pulled over by a police officer and he writes you a traffic ticket for a moving violation you will now face at least one point being put on your driver's license record. See examples of DMV points below.
A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a car while it is in motion. Moving violations put DMV points on your license.
Parking tickets, fix-it tickets concerning the car equipment like broken lights, tinted windows or no front plate do NOT put points on your license. Paperwork violations relating to insurance or registration do NOT put points on your license.
Cell phone violation and points
Talking or Texting on a cell phone - VC 23123 & VC 23123.5 - a ticket for talking or texting on a cell phone does NOT put a DMV point on your license record, and it will hopefully not affect your insurance rates but you should ask your insurance company just in case.
However, the California Legislature is considering a new law that will make a cell phone or texting violation count as a DMV point starting on January 1, 2021. So currently a cell phone or texting violation does not put a DMV point on your record but if this new law is passed starting January 1, 2021, a cell phone or texting ticket will put a DMV point on your DMV record which could cause your insurance rates to go up.
VC 23123.5 states:
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
- Running a red light
- Making an unsafe lane change
- Having an at-fault accident.
The California DMV will put one point on your driver's license record if they find out about an out of state traffic ticket you received.
See our list of California Vehicle Code (VC) violations for the number of points each violation puts on your license.
Do I still get points if I pay my fine?
Please keep in mind, if you get a traffic ticket for a moving violation such as speeding or running a red light (any violation committed while your car is in motion), and if you decide just to pay this ticket off:-
- You will be putting at least one DMV point on your record
- which may result in higher insurance rates
- and can possibly hurt you when applying for a job that involves driving.
Also, keep in mind, 4 DMV points acquired in a 12 month period will result in the DMV sending you a letter informing you that your license will be suspended for 6 months for acquiring too many DMV points.
Too many points - get a DMV Hearing to save your license
Learn more about DMV Hearings - your entitlements, issues and mitigating circumstances.
The DMV keeps a record of all traffic convictions and accidents. Depending on the type of traffic ticket, you can get from one to two points for a traffic ticket, and one point for an accident. (A traffic accident in which the driver is deemed by the DMV to be responsible shall be given a value of one point.)
How many points do I have on my driver record?
There are 3 methods for checking how many points you have on your California driver record - in person, online or by mail.
(1) In person: you can make a request for your driver record in person at your local DMV office. There is a $5 fee. Your local DMV office accepts cash.
(2) Online: You can check online by registering as a certified online user with the California DMV and making a DMV Driver Record Request. There is a $2 fee, and as stated on that page, "Please ensure that your printer is ready and able to print your Driver Record printout as you will only have one opportunity to print your record after your fee is paid."
For more information about becoming a certified user with the DMV, see DMV FAQ regarding DMV Online Service Accounts.
(3) By mail: To request an official copy of your driver record by mail, fill out form INF1125 (PDF) and mail it to the DMV Headquarters address on the form along with a check or money order for the $5 fee.
The length of time depends on the severity of the offense:-
- Most one point convictions remain on your record for 36 months (3 years)
- A speeding ticket stays on your record for 36 months (3 years)
- A DUI stays on your record for 10 years
Most points (illegal turn, not making a complete stop, driving over the speed limit, etc.) and/or accidents will stay on your DMV driver record for 36 months (3 years).
Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or a DUI, will stay on your license record for 10 years.
Your driving privilege will be suspended by the California DMV and an Order of Probation/Suspension will be sent to you from the California DMV under the following conditions:
|Point Count||Time Period|
|You get 4 points||Within 12 months|
|You get 6 points||Within 24 months|
|You get 8 points||Within 36 months|
Most people when they get a traffic ticket usually just pay it off. The problems with this approach are that:-
- It automatically puts at least one point on your driver's license record
- 4 or more points can result in your license being suspended.
- And it will probably increase your insurance rates.
Traffic School: Remove points from your license
We recommend that you do everything you can to fight your traffic ticket to avoid points going on your DMV driver's license record. Keep in mind you are allowed to do traffic school once every 18 months and this will remove the point and ticket from your DMV record if done successfully. The 18-month eligibility period is determined from violation date to violation date and not from when you attended traffic school.
We can help keep the points off your license
California Vehicle Code (VC) violations for the number of points each violation puts on your driver's license.