Getting a traffic ticket doesn’t just mean having to pay a fine. It can also include points assessed against your license, which can end up causing your insurance rates to increase and in some cases, possibly a license suspension. In fact, you may find yourself paying higher insurance premiums for several years as a result of a single traffic ticket. Holders of a CDL have even more worries, as points assessed from an off-duty traffic ticket can end up costing them their job.
Although paying the fine is initially the worst part of getting a traffic ticket, the points assessed will continue to affect you long after that.
- In California, the points you receive depend on the infraction for which you are cited. For instance, a minor violation such as speeding or mechanical issues, will result in one point, while infractions such as reckless driving or driving under the influence will result in two points being assessed against your license.
- California insurance companies will review your driving record when determining your insurance rates.
- Drivers who have one point on their license could see their premiums go up by nearly 20 percent each year.
- In the state of California, you can see your insurance premiums increase by as much as 50 percent by accumulating three points in one year.
Tickets Issued by California Highway Patrol (CHP)
While any traffic violation can result in having points assessed against your driver’s license, those given by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) are more likely to result in points than those handed out by local police. This is because local police officers are more likely to consider allowing drivers a no-points resolution for a traffic ticket.
- A no-points resolution for a traffic ticket occurs when you agree to pay the fine without fighting it, and the police officer will then request the state to not assess any points, thus reducing the long-term effect of the citation.
The CHP is not as inclined to offering a resolution such as this. More likely,
- The points will be assessed and then
- You will have to complete an approved California traffic school program and
- Submit the documentation in order to have the points removed from your license.
- You’ll then have to prove to your insurance company that you’ve completed the course in order to get your premiums reduced.
Affect of Points on a CDL
Holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are dependent on having a clean record in order to maintain their livelihood.
- Until recently, California employers could take disciplinary action, up to and including termination, if a CDL holder employed by them received points for an off-duty traffic ticket.
- A new law now allows California CDL holders to attend traffic school in order to clear the points from their record and reduce the risk of termination.
However, drivers with a CDL need to be aware that they still face serious penalties if convicted twice within three years of any of the following off-duty violations:
- Driving under the influence DUI
- Following too closely
- Reckless driving
- Improper or erratic lane changes
Seek Legal Assistance
No matter what the reason, when you receive a traffic ticket, whether from the CHP or a local policeman, one option is to seek legal assistance from an experienced traffic attorney. These lawyers are well versed in the state traffic laws and are very familiar with the court system in which your case will be heard. They can suggest the best course of action for you to take to minimize the damage and limit the increased expenses you could face after receiving a citation.