How Does California Point System Work?


California Point System -

California Point System

California driver point system is known as the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS). It is based on negligent driver points and includes warnings and sanctions against your driver’s license.

In California, the point system affects drivers 18 years or older. Drivers under 18 years are only affected if they violate a provisional probation or suspension.

One Point per Conviction

Under the point system, California DMV assigns one point to a driver’s record after a conviction of most common offenses. Examples of such one point offenses are speed violations and disobeying signs and signals. More serious convictions are assigned two points. Such convictions are all specified in the vehicle code and include Hit and Run accidents, Reckless Driving, and Driving Under the Influence.

Commercial License holders are assessed a point count of 1.5 times the usual value. A two-point violation will result in three points on the driver record.

Traffic Convictions in Other States

Your driver record is also affected by traffic convictions in other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. DMV adds the same point count to your record as if the offense occurred in California. Out-of-state collisions are also reported to CA DMV. These reports are reviewed to determine if the driver was responsible, had been drinking, was injured, etc.

Actions by the DMV

Level I (Warning Letter)

You will get a warning letter if your driver record shows:

  • 2 points within 12 months.
  • 4 points within 24 months.
  • 6 points within 36 months.

DMV also sends you a warning letter when a major conviction is added to your driving record.

Level II (Notice of Intent to Suspend)

California DMV notifies you about an intent to suspend your driver license, when any of the following occurs:

  • 3 points within 12 months.
  • 5 points within 24 months.
  • 7 points within 36 months.

You will also get a notice when a major conviction is added to your driving record.

Before a suspension takes effect, you have the opportunity to defend yourself. You simply contact your local Driver Safety Office to schedule a formal hearing. In general, you need to do this within two weeks.

Level III (Probation/Suspension)

DMV will suspend your driving privilege and you will receive an “Order of Probation/Suspension” when your record shows:

  • 4 points within 12 months.
  • 6 points within 24 months.
  • 8 points within 36 months.

Your one-year probation includes a six-month suspension which run concurrently. The action is effective 34 days from the date the order is mailed.

Level IV (Violation of NOTS Probation)

DMV will suspend your driving privilege and send a “NOTS Violation of Probation Order” when:

  • Any violation or collision occurs during a suspension.
  • A one-point or two-point violation or responsible collision occurs during a probation period.
  • Any Failure to Appear (FTA) or Failure to Pay (FTP) violation during the probation period.
  • A driver under the age of eighteen years violates provisional probation because of a responsible collision, an FTA or FTP, or any other reportable violation.

Learn more about California NOTS Program

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14 Comments on "How Does California Point System Work?"

  1. is it true that if I have 12 points on my driver’s license record that I will not be able to get a driver’s license in california?

    • I am assuming that you have 12 points on your record in another state.

      States usually share DMV information. When you change your residency from one state to another points follow, if the two states have the same point system. Otherwise, points may be re-assessed on your new driver record according to the rules in your new state (California). In such a case, they will be based on the violation that you originally committed in the old state.

      So, it all depends! It is always best to contact a DMV office in California. They can explain the details regarding your specific case.

  2. How long before a point comes off your record?

    • Depends.

      Most points for moving violations are removed after 39 months (3 years, 3 months). Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or a DUI, will stay on your record for 13 years.

  3. Anthony Famulari | January 1, 2020 at 1:23 am | Reply

    I received a one point violation for making a right on Red Light. Will my insurance go up if I don’t take the traffic safety course ?

  4. I got a speeding ticket in AZ but I live in CA obviously, how many points would that be on my record? I was going 27 over the limit.

  5. Does backing up in my driveway, hitting a parked car, cause a point on my driving record, if I submit it to my insurance

    • Depends on what you mean. If you plead guilty, or you are found guilty by the court, a traffic violation may be recorded with the DMV and added to your record.

      If you only report a fender-bender (accident) to your insurance company it may affect your insurance premium.

      While insurance companies look at the DMV record, they also keep track of your claims. With many claims, you can expect the premium to go up. Your premium is based on many factors that companies don’t usually disclose.

  6. I have a class A driver license in California. I involved in a small accident in State of Wisconsin, police officer issued me a ticket with 2 points. How does it work to my California driver’s license? How many points assessed against me on CA points system if convert to CA points? In WI, accumulating 12 or more points within 12 consecutive months will be cause for suspending your driving privileges.

  7. My 16 3/4 age driver was stopped for 125/65. Cited for:
    *Reckless Driving – Misdemeanor
    *Excessive Speed – Infraction
    *Restricted License – Infraction

    what is worst case scenario?

  8. I received 3 traffic violations on the same ticket in CA
    – Unsafe Speed (30 miles over)
    – Fail to obey Red light/RT Turn
    – Sudden stop without signaling
    Will DMV add 1 point for each violation to my record?

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