The California department of motor vehicles (DMV) has a point system to help better identify and hold accountable risky drivers. You become a negligent and reckless driver when you have too many points on your license. Your license will get suspended for six months when you obtain 4 points in one year, 6 points in two years, and 8 points in three years.
If you are not the best driver and are wondering how many points are on your license, there is a way for you to figure it out. If you head over to your local DMV or visit their website online, you will discover the point count of California vehicle code violations on your license.
What Are the Types of Violations for License Points?
Two types of vehicle violations: a moving violation and a nonmoving violation. A moving violation is when motor vehicle laws are broken while your car is in motion. Some examples of moving violations that will give you points include:
- Running a red light
- Causing an accident due to reckless driving
- Driving while license is suspended
The second type of violation is non-moving, which pertains to any broken motor vehicle laws while your car is stationary. These violations do not put points on your license, but you can still receive punishment for them in other capacities. Some examples of non-moving violations include:
- Parking tickets
- Fix-it tickets (needing to repair car equipment like a broken light)
- Having no front plate
- Improper auto insurance
- Improper car registration
Some violations relate to cell phones and texting. If you receive two cell phone or texting violations within the timespan of 3 years, you will have a point put on your license. A first-time cell phone violation will not put a point on your license because it is essentially considered a slap on the wrist.
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What Are Examples of One-Point vs. Two-Point Violations?
One-point violations are not as severe as two-point violations. Regardless it is never a good thing to have a point against you on your driver’s license. You will receive one point if you have committed any of the following crimes:
- Running a red light
- Driving in the bicycle lane
- Making an unauthorized U-turn
- Making an unsafe lane change
- Failing to stop at a railroad crossing
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle
- Causing a traffic accident
- Not paying an out-of-state traffic ticket
Two-point violations are more serious than one-point violations and should be avoided at all costs unless you want your driver’s license to be suspended. You will receive two points if you have committed any of the following crimes:
- Reckless driving
- Driving over 100mph
- Performing a hit-and-run with injury and/or property damage
- Driving on the wrong side of the highway
- Transporting illegal explosives
- Driving while license is suspense or revoked
This is not a complete list of all the crimes and their point amounts, but it clearly explains which crimes the state views as more severe than others. The violation point system can be found on the California DMV’s website.
Can I Still Get Points if I Pay Off My Ticket?
There is a common misconception that if you pay off your traffic violation ticket, you will be in the clear and no longer receive a point on your driver’s license. This is not true because if you pay off the ticket, you are essentially admitting guilt. Therefore, you will still receive a point on your license.
To avoid putting a point on your license, which can increase your auto insurance and potentially risk your privilege to have a license, it would be wise to actually not pay off the ticket. Instead, try fighting the traffic violation ticket in court or opt for attending a traffic school program if there is one. You should only pay off the ticket as a last resort.
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Can I Hide Points on My License?
Masking means your points are hidden from the public and your insurance company. By hiding your points, you can save yourself from having to pay sky-high insurance rates and possibly losing a job due to background checks.
One form of masking is when you decide not to pay a traffic violation ticket and complete the California DMV-approved traffic school program instead. By successfully completing this, your points will only be visible to a court unless you commit another violation within 18 months. Then, your masked points are no longer hidden.
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What if I Have Too Many Points?
Once you receive the maximum amount of points on your license within a certain time period, your license will be either suspended or revoked by the California DMV. Once again, the conditions for this are 4 points in one year, 6 points in 2 years, and 8 points in 3 years. You can mask or hide points, but you cannot have your points removed before the time period is up.
The length of time that a point will remain on your license solely depends on the severity of the offense. This can range from 3 to 13 years. If you have four or more points against you in the span of one year, you risk having your license suspended. You can call your local DMV to try and file a hearing for a restricted driver’s license, which will help keep your license from being suspended.
A one-point traffic ticket for speeding will stay on your license for three years as it is a less severe crime. A two-point traffic violation like driving recklessly will remain on your license for at least seven years as it is a more severe crime than speeding. A two-point traffic violation for a DUI can remain on your license for 13 years as it is a very serious crime that causes injury, property damage, and even fatality.