How Long Do Points Stay on Your License in California?

When someone is driving recklessly, they are susceptible to consequences. Depending on the laws broken, or the judgment of the officer on duty, a driver could end up getting a warning, arrested or having one or a few points put on their license.

A point is a record of an incident such as an accident or a traffic ticket. Every state has its own Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) point system. Drivers should learn about the California DMV point system so they can know what can happen if they don't drive safely in their state.

What Could Get Someone a Point?

In California, a driver will get at least one point on their license if they get a ticket for running a red light, speeding, having an at-fault accident or changing over to another lane in an unsafe manner. If they are found guilty of a hit-and-run, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving while their license has been revoked or suspended, then they will receive two points on their license.

A driver could also get a point if they don’t have insurance while they’re driving, they didn’t properly buckle in their children, they failed to stop for a school bus, they refused a drug or alcohol test, or they didn’t appear in court for a violation such as a traffic ticket.

Even if someone pays the fine associated with the violation, they will still get points on their license. They may also see their car insurance rates go up and not qualify for a job that involves driving.

Points Qualifying for a Suspension

If somebody gets enough points on their license during a certain amount of time, then they could have their license suspended. In California, a license will be suspended if someone gets four points in one year, six points in two years or eight points in three years.

How Long Points Stay on a License in California

The amount of time that the points stay on a license in California depends on what caused them to appear there in the first place. Most points – or the ones for the least serious incidents – will stay on someone’s license for 39 months, or three years and three months. If someone was involved in a hit-and-run or got a DUI, then the points will stay on their license for 13 years. A driver can contact their local California DMV to see how long their points will stay on their license.

Checking How Many Points Are on a License

To check the points on their license, a California driver can choose from three different methods, which include:

  • Going to their local DMV office and making a request to see their driver record. The fee for this is $5. 
  • Going online and paying a $2 fee to make a DMV Driver Record Request for a CA DMV points check. 
  • Filling out form INF1125 and mailing it to California DMV headquarters with a $5 fee. 

Getting Points Taken Off

Even though paying a fine will not get points taken off someone’s record, they can attempt to remove an accident from their driving record in California, or otherwise make sure their record is clean by asking the DMV about their options. They may be able to go to a California state-approved defensive driving school – either online or in-person – to have their point(s) removed.

Another option is to hire a company that specializes in clearing driving records and ask for their advice or guidance. Drivers may need to pay a fee for these services.

Read More: Six Points of Identification for the DMV in New Jersey


  • In California, points stay on someone's license for 39 months or 13 years, depending on what kind of reckless driving was involved.

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