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Understanding the Point System for Traffic Violations in California

Underwood Law Firm April 18, 2022

Money bag with the word Traffic violationPoints are not always rewarding; when they are on your California driver’s license, points work against you, not for you.

Not only can accumulating points result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, but it will also raise your insurance premiums. A ticket for exceeding the speed limit by more than ten miles per hour can add a point to your license and an 18.4% increase in your insurance premium.

If you were issued a traffic ticket in Bakersfield, Lamont, or Kern County, California, it’s too late to avoid getting one. However, it might not be too late to be punished with points. A traffic ticket is not always a minor thing. At Underwood Law Firm, we may be able to help you avoid or reduce the often massive consequences.

What Is California’s Point System?

When the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues someone a driver’s license, it does so with the expectation that the driver will obey laws and drive safely. Of course, not all drivers comply, so the California DMV point system can track a driver’s safety record and force them off the road if they accumulate too many points.

Certain violations of the California Vehicle Code are assigned a certain number of points. If you are ticketed, the appropriate number of points are levied against your driver’s license, and you are penalized for the duration they remain on your license.

Drivers who do not possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are allowed more points on their Class A and B driver’s licenses before suspension or revocation by the DMV. They will be considered negligent drivers if they accumulate six or more points in 12 months, eight or more points in 24 months, or ten or more points in 36 months.

You should know that you can be assessed points by the California DMV for traffic violations you commit in other states.

Non-moving violations, those that involve equipment such as exhaust systems and lights, may result in no points if the violation is not dangerous but may be assessed one point if it is. For example, a missing muffler may not compromise roadway safety, but a non-functioning tail lamp could. You may be assessed no points for the former but one for the latter.

What Are Some Common Point Violations?

Violations are assessed by one or two points based on the safety implications of the violation. The more the violation compromises roadway safety, the more points it receives.

Common one-point offenses include exceeding the speed limit, passing when prohibited, failure to secure a child as required by law, and running a red light or stop sign.

Common two-point offenses include leaving the scene of an accident, evading law enforcement, driving in excess of 100 miles per hour, and reckless driving.

What Are the Punishments for Having Several Points?

The penalties after several points are serious matters. If you reach any of the flagged levels reflecting a number of accumulated points within a certain period of time, penalties may include:

  • Revocation or suspension of your driver’s license by the DMV for some or all your driving privileges;

  • Payment of court costs and fines for every ticket you are issued; and,

  • Insurability of your vehicle by any insurance company. If you can find one willing to insure you, you can expect to pay exorbitant premiums.

  • There are long-term consequences as well. For example, you will lose your CDL, which likely means you will lose your job if you need a CDL to perform it. A license suspension or revocation may mean you cannot get to work, school, or spend time with your children as scheduled in a parenting plan.

The public transportation system in Kern County, California, may be insufficient for your purposes, which makes being unable to drive a problem. Think twice about driving while your license is suspended or revoked or without auto insurance. Those offenses can result in an additional two or more points assessed on your DMV record.

How Can I Find Out How Many Points Are on My License Right Now?

If you want to see what is on your driving record, including the number of points you have and when they were assessed to determine when they will be removed from your active record, you can request a copy from the DMV.

How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help

Working with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may make the difference between keeping your driver’s license or not. The Underwood Law Firm is a smart investment if you are facing points on your DMV record. Time is what removes points from your driving record. We can review it and determine when points were assessed and when they will expire.

The California DMV point system makes every ticket a serious one. Treat them with the same regard. Call Underwood Law Firm now for skilled legal guidance. We proudly serve clients in Bakersfield, Lamont, or Kern County, California.