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How many violation points can I accumulate before my license is suspended in California?

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If you are a person who holds a Driver License in the State of California, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is watching you.  Using a powerful computer data base, the DMV monitors the driving history and driving behavior of all California Drivers to ensure they always maintain the skill, the knowledge and the physical/mental fitness to drive.

It is the DMV’s belief that negligent or careless drivers will reveal themselves through an accumulation of violation points that are assessed when a person is convicted of a moving violation, certain crimes, and “at fault” traffic collisions.  Conventional wisdom dictates that by watching and evaluating a person’s driving patterns, the DMV may be able to identify a dangerous driver before a tragedy occurs and hopefully remove that person from the road in the interest of public safety.   It is generally thought that safe and sane drivers do not accumulate points in rapid succession; and while some drivers are just unlucky, the truth is that driving history can reveal a lot about a person.

California Vehicle Code Section 12810, establishes the maximum number of points any driver can accumulate before being named a Negligent Operator.

  • No more than 4 points accumulated within a 12-month period.
  • No more than 6 points accumulated in a 24-month period.
  • No more than 8 points in a 36-month period.

How are violation points assessed?

There are three means by which a driver can accumulate points:

  • Court conviction for a moving violation.
  • Court conviction for certain crimes (i.e. DUI, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license).
  • Involvement in an “at fault” traffic collision.

Generally speaking, moving violations will cause one point to accrue on the record.  These one-point violations include failure to stop for a stop light/stop sign, excessive speed, tailgating, illegal use of a carpool lane, etc.

Two point violations are normally accrued through the conviction of certain crimes.  These two point violations include DUI, Reckless Driving, Road Rage, Driving on a suspended license.

Traffic collisions also will accrue one point on the driving record, where the driver was found to be most at fault in causing the accident.

It is important to note that in some instances, multiple points can accumulate from one event.  For example, if a driver crashes his car and is then convicted of DUI, he can be assessed one point for the crash and two points for the DUI; for a total accumulation of three points from the one event.

How are Commercial Drivers affected?

While regular Class “C” drivers generally accumulate one-point per moving violation, those drivers who hold Class “A” and Class “B” Commercial licenses are held to a higher standard.  Because Commercial Drivers can transport anything from students to hazardous material, they are assessed points at a higher rate than the everyday driver.  Generally, Commercial Drivers accumulate violation points at a rate of 1.5 pts per violation.  So, you can see that Commercial Drivers can get into the danger zone much more quickly that Class “C” drivers.

One tactic that can be employed here is to ask the DMV to raise the maximum point ceiling for a Commercial Driver to a higher threshold so they come in below the maximum  In some instances this is allowed and is one way to keep a Commercial Driver on the road.

Don’t let the DMV suspend your privilege to drive without a fight!

If you have received an Order of Suspension/Probation in the mail, this is demonstrable evidence the DMV has decided you are a Negligent Operator.  If you have received such an order you should make no mistake. The DMV is fully intent on taking you off the road; but don’t despair.  There are a multitude of tactics to be employed to keep you driving.

Call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates.  We have a tried and true method for defending these cases that has proven to be effective.  We keep our clients on the road.  Period!

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