Every state has a system to keep track of the traffic violations on each driver’s record, such as the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) point system. Every driver must understand how this system works, so they can avoid the penalties of a suspended license.

How does California’s point system work?

Each traffic violation has points assigned to it. Distracted driving, a speeding ticket, reckless driving or even an at-fault accident could cause you to accrue points on your driving record.

The point value varies by the type of violation. For example:

  • Illegal passing, speeding or running a red light are each one point; and
  • Reckless driving, driving on the wrong side of the road or a DUI are each two points.

The DMV monitors driving records very closely. And accumulating too many points on your record could lead the DMV to suspend your license.

When could points lead to a suspended license?

According to the DMV, a certain number of points on your record in a specific period could lead to a license suspension. Under California law, your license could be suspended if you accrue:

  • Four points in one year;
  • Six points in two years; or
  • Eight points in three years.

It might seem unlikely to accumulate that many points in that time. However, points can stay on your record for up to three years. That leads points to add up quickly, in some cases.

It is important to note that the DMV will send two warning letters before suspending your license. However, it is critical to take action before then to preserve your driving privileges and avoid the obstacles that a suspended driver’s license could bring.