How to get points off my license in California

police car on road

California drivers know that keeping points off their license is an essential part of retaining driving privileges and keeping insurance rates down. Use this guide to learn more about how the points system works and what you can do to get points off your license.

What Happens When You Get Pulled Over in California

Seeing flashing red lights in the rearview mirror is never fun, but even with California's points system, getting pulled over may not be a big deal. The officer will ask to see your driver's license, automobile registration, and insurance information.

If you get a ticket, it will be either an infraction or a misdemeanor. Basic California violations, like running a stop sign or speeding, are infractions. A misdemeanor is more serious, like driving while intoxicated or driving without a license. 

In California, your ticket is also your "Notice to Appear," and it has your citation number and court date on it. By signing the ticket, you agree to either pay the fine or appear in court. Signing the ticket isn't the same as admitting that you are guilty. 

How California Drivers License Points Work

If you pay the fine, it's the same as a plea of "guilty" or "no contest." You'll have one to two points added to your driver's license for an infraction. Reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, or DUI earns you two points. 

California drivers who get four points within a 12-month time period may have their driver's licenses revoked or suspended. First-time violators may be able to get the court's permission to take a driving class at a California driving school to get points removed from their record. This prevents insurance premiums from increasing and could help you retain your license, depending on your previous driving history. 

California Has Programs to Help Drivers Get and Keep Auto Insurance

If you can't get the points off your by attending a California driving school and your insurance company drops you, AIPSO may be able to help you find a new insurance company. 

"When a California driver gets dropped by their insurance company due to their driving record, we may be able to get them covered," said Bernadette Pastor, Insurance Coordinator at AIPSO.

"AIPSO is the plan manager for assigned risk, so people call us if they are dropped by their insurance agency. We look for agents who are registered through us who can help with that risk level." 

In California, it's illegal to drive without auto insurance. For individuals with a low income, getting the auto insurance they need could be cost-prohibitive. "Low-income individuals in California with a very good driving record and no misdemeanors or felonies who only use their vehicle for personal use (not Uber or a side gig) should apply at, which offers a program sponsored by the California Department of Insurance. Insurance coverage includes liability only, and isn't part of the open insurance market in California," says Pastor.

For example, a household with two people making less than $42,275 combined could qualify for low-cost auto insurance in California that meets financial responsibility laws if they have clean driving records. Getting access to California's discounted auto insurance marketplace may be the motivation you need to finally attend traffic school.

Enroll in California Driving School to Avoid Points

If you haven't been to California driving school in the past 18 months and have a ticket that says you are eligible to attend a class to get the point removed from your license, do so. It's the only way to get points taken off your California driver's license.