Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Points

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What are points? What is the "traffic violation point count"? What are negligent operator points? What is the Negligent Operator Treatment System?

The point count is the running tally of points for unsafe events on your driving record. If you get too many points, DMV can presume you to be a "negligent operator" and suspend your license or refuse to renew it. If you are trying to get a California license for the first time, DMV can look at the points you got elsewhere to deny you a license in California. You have the right to a hearing if DMV suspends your license, refuses to renew it or denies your application for a license because of too many points.

If you accumulate too many points, DMV may conduct an investigation and suspend your license, placing you on negligent operator probation (Section 13800). Too many points also authorize DMV to refuse to renew a license or deny an application for a new California license (Section 12809(e)). For new licenses, California will look at points a driver accumulated in the United States, U.S. territories and Canada.

For a driver 18 years and older, too many points mean four points in a year; six points in two years or eight points in three years ("4,6,8") (Section 12810.5(a)).

A Class A or B driver without a special certificate/endorsement may be allowed two extra points each year ("6,8,10"), but a violation in a commercial vehicle counts 1 1/2 times the normal point count (Section 12810.5(b)(2). Despite the higher allowances for these commercial drivers, it is common for DMV's computers to initiate a negligent operator action against them based on the "4, 6, 8" point values for two reasons: first, the Class A or Class B driver must request and appear at a hearing to avail themselves of the extra points allowed; and second, DMV may still use the "4,6,8" numbers if it reasonably determines that the points were accumulated in a vehicle requiring only a Class C license (Section 12810.5(b)(1)).

Provisional drivers (under 18) may receive a 30-day restriction for two points in a year or be suspended for three points in a year (Section 12814.6(f)). A minor's restriction or suspension will run its entire length, even if the minor turns 18 before then.

Sources

VC 13800, VC 12809(e), VC 12810.5, VC 12814.6(f), DSM 9.10

See Also

How many points is a speeding ticket? How many points is driving too fast for conditions? How many points is excessive speed?

The California Vehicle Code contains more than 20 traffic offenses directly related to the speed of a vehicle. All but two of them are one-point violations, with exhibition of speed and speeding over 100 mph carrying two points each.

The only two speed-related offenses in California that carry two points for a conviction are: speeding in excess of 100 mph (Section 22348(b)) and speed exhibition (Section 23109)

In certain circumstances, however, basic speeding may constitute other violations (such as reckless driving) and may be prosecuted as such, resulting in a different point count than if prosecuted as speeding.

The Fine Print

All other speed-related offenses in the vehicle code carry one point for a conviction:

  • Basic speed law (unsafe speed) (Section 22350, Section 22351)
  • Speeding prima facie (default) limits (Section 22352)
  • Speeding posted limits (Section 22354, Section 22355)
  • Excess of 70 mph freeway (Section 22356)
  • Increased/decreased local limits (Section 22357, Section 22358)
  • Speeding on narrow street (Section 22358.3)
  • Speeding near schools (Section 22358.4)
  • Speeding between districts (Section 22360)
  • Speeding near road construction (Section 22362)
  • Speeding on snow or ice (Section 22363)
  • Speeding in traffic lanes (Section 22364)
  • Too slow/impeding traffic (Section 22400(a), Section 22400(b))
  • Speeding bridges and tunnels (Section 22405)
  • Speeding in specific vehicles (Section 22406, Section 22407)
  • Speeding with metal tires (Section 22410)
  • Speeding on a scooter (Section 22411)
  • Speeding on grades (Section 22413)
  • Aiding/abetting speed exhibition (Section 23109(b), Section 23109(d))
  • Speeding in lift carrier (Section 36400)

Sources

VC 22348(b), VC 23109, VC 22352, VC 22354, VC 22355, VC 22356, VC 22356, VC 22358, VC 22358.3, VC 22358.4, VC 22360, VC 22362, VC 22363, VC 22364, VC 22400, VC 22405, VC 22406, VC 22407, VC 22410, VC 22411, VC 22413, VC 36400

What is a negligent operator?

A negligent operator is a motorist who has been presumed or declared negligent based either on the number of points on their driving record or on actual driving incidents.

Section 12810.5 provides that a motorist who accumulates 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months is presumed to be a negligent operator, resulting in a suspension of their license unless they demand a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice (Section 12810.5.). If a motorist demands a hearing, they will have the burden of convincing the DMV hearing officer that they are not negligent.

How many points can you have on your license?

The number of points allowed before DMV takes action depends on the type of license you hold. A noncommercial license may have up to four points in year, six in two years or eight in three years. Any of these limits is grounds for suspension or refusal to renew a license.

A commercial license may have up to six points in a year, eight in two years or 10 in three years. Any of these limits is grounds for the suspension of the license or the refusal to renew it.

Sources

VC 12810.5

How many points can you have on a provisional license?

A provisional license for drivers under 18 may be restricted at two points a year, suspended in three points a year (VC 12814.6 (2)).

Sources

VC 12814.6 (2)

How many points is a DUI?

A DUI is two points, three for a commercial driver (VC 18210 (b)).

Sources

VC 18210 (b)

How many points is a reckless driving?

Reckless driving is two points, three for a commercial driver (VC 18210 (c)).

Sources

CV 18210 (c)

How many points is a red-light ticket?

Running a red light is one point, two for a commercial driver (VC 12810 (f)).

Sources

CV 12810 (f)

How many points is a wet reckless driving?

Wet reckless driving is two points, three for a commercial driver (VC 18210 (c)).

Sources

VC 18210 (c)

How many points is a jaywalking ticket?

As jaywalking occurs as a pedestrian, it counts for no points against a driver's license.

How many points is a seat belt ticket?

Not wearing a seat belt will result in no points (VC12810.2).

How many points is a cellphone ticket?

No points are given for a cellphone ticket (VC 12810.3).

How many points is a bicycle violation?

A bicycle violation receives no points.

What is a responsible collision?

A responsible collision is one you are responsible for. It is one point in both a private and commercial vehicle (VC12801 (f)).

Sources

VC 12801 (f), DMV web

How many points is a zero-tolerance ticket under VC 23136?

A minor driving with a blood alcohol content of greater than .01 percent results in no points, though this does not exclude other prosecution.

Sources

VC 12810 (4),VC 23136

How many points is a hit-and-run under VC 20001 or 20002?

A hit-and-run is two points, four for a commercial driver (12810 (4) and 23136).

How many points is an accident/responsible collision?

An accident or responsible collision is one point, whether the vehicle is commercial or not (VC 12801 (f)).

Sources

VC 12801 (f), DMV web

How many points is vehicular manslaughter under PC 192?

Vehicular manslaughter is worth two points, four for a commercial license (VC 12801 (d)).

Sources

VC 12801 (d)

How many points is an under 21 DUI under VC 23140?

An under 21 DUI is two points. The distinction between this and VC 23136 is that VC 23136 pertains to a BAC of .01 percent. A DUI for persons under 21 when the blood alcohol content is found to be greater than .05 percent is more severe, as such carrying a heavier penalty (VC 12810 (2)).

Sources

VC 12810 (2)

We Can Answer Your Questions About Points

Beat DMV at the Law Office of Rodney Gould is here to help California residents avoid or remove points and keep driving. Reach us in Sherman Oaks by phone at 818-570-6989 or send an email inquiry to request a consultation.