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California Driver’s License Point System

Do not let the fact that a traffic violation puts only one or two points on your California driver’s license fool you. That may not seem like much, but the number of points only tells half the story. What happens with those points, how they are applied and how long they stay on your record is even more important. Not only are points impossible to remove once on your license, they can remain on your driving record for years. These points can raise your insurance rates, and possibly even keep you from finding a job. The best way to avoid these problems is to avoid points on your license altogether, even if you must fight traffic tickets.

Your first line of defense is to obey traffic laws at all times, even when out of state. If you get a ticket or have an accident in another state, California may still assess points on your driving record. If you receive four points on your driver’s license in a single year, you may be classified as a “negligent operator.” You may also be classified as a negligent operator if you receive six points in two years or eight points in three years. Once designated as a negligent operator, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked.

Numerous moving violations will add points to your driving record. Consider how often motorists, in Los Angeles alone, make illegal U-turns, exceed speed limits or drive faster than 70 miles per hour. Each of these offenses puts one point on your license. Other single point infractions include overloading a vehicle, a child not wearing a seatbelt and failure to dim your headlights. Such infractions are so common that it is no wonder so many people fight traffic tickets.

Two point violations include serious driving offenses such as driving on the wrong side of a divided highway, hit and run, and evading a police officer. Two point violations also include serious infractions that many impetuous youth do at some time or another, such racing, exceeding 100 miles per hour or driving after drinking even a small amount, since drinking is illegal for minors. If you are a minor, you especially need to avoid points on your license because they can keep your driving privileges from advancing under California’s graduated driver licensing program.

In addition to risking your license, allowing points on your record ultimately costs more than just fines and court costs. Points on your license raise your insurance rates. This becomes a long-term expense. In California, points stay on your license at least three years, and serious violations such as DUIs can follow you for 10 years. How much they raise your monthly premium depends on your personal circumstances, your insurance company, and other factors. Even if your insurance rates increase by only 10 or 15 percent, this can be very expensive when multiplied by 36 months (for three-year persistent points) or 120 months (for 10-year persistent points).

The overall cost of driver’s license points quickly adds up, even for someone with a previously good driving record. For commercial drivers, the costs could be even greater, since points can mean losing your job and having to find other employment in these difficult economic times. This is why hiring an attorney to avoid points on your license is an investment in your future. Hiring a lawyer can prevent greater long-term expenses than the short-term costs of fighting traffic tickets.

An experienced attorney can help you successfully fight traffic tickets in court. It may be possibly to have a traffic ticket dismissed altogether. Even when this is not possible, hiring an attorney to fight your traffic ticket may still help avoid points on your license. Sometimes, a lawyer can keep points off altogether and often an attorney can have the number of points reduced. Whichever happens, it leaves you better off than having more points haunting you for three to 10 years. Avoiding points on your California license saves money, could save your job and definitely saves your reputation.