A Guide to the California Driving Record System

Understanding your driving record is crucial for maintaining a good standing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This guide will help you navigate the California driving record system, including what violations can appear on your record, how to remove items, and how to access your record.

What is the California Driving Record System?

The California driving record system is a comprehensive database maintained by the California DMV. It tracks the driving history of licensed drivers in the state. Your driving record includes personal information, license status, and a detailed history of your driving behavior, such as traffic violations, accidents, and points accumulated against your license. This record is used by various entities, including insurance companies, employers, and law enforcement agencies, to assess your driving history and behavior.

What Violations Can Go On My Driving Record?

A variety of violations can appear on your California driving record, affecting your driving privileges and insurance rates. Common violations include:

Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets for offenses like speeding, running red lights, and other moving violations are recorded. These tickets typically result in points being added to your driving record.


Both at-fault and not-at-fault car accidents can be recorded on your driving record. Accidents not only affect your record but can also lead to higher insurance premiums. If you are being blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer in order to protect you from extensive penalties.


Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that significantly impacts your driving record. A DUI conviction can stay on your record for up to ten years and result in substantial fines, jail time, and license suspension.

License Points

Points are added to your driving record for each negligent violation. Accumulating too many points within a specified period can lead to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. For example, getting four points in 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in 36 months can trigger a suspension.

Court-Ordered Actions

Court decisions related to traffic violations, such as mandatory driving courses, fines, or community service, are also reflected in your driving record.

Administrative Actions

Actions taken by the DMV, such as license suspensions for non-driving-related offenses (e.g., failure to pay child support), are recorded as well.

Can I Get Things Removed From My Driving Record?

While some items on your driving record are permanent, others can be removed over time or through specific actions:

Points Removal

Points for minor violations typically stay on your record for three years, while more serious violations (like DUIs) can stay for up to ten years. Attending traffic school can sometimes help remove points from your record, but this is usually available only for minor infractions and not for serious offenses like DUI.


Certain violations can be expunged or removed from your record after a specific period or by fulfilling certain conditions. For example, completing a DUI program can sometimes lead to the expungement of the DUI from your record, although it may still be visible to law enforcement and the courts.

Correcting Errors

If there are errors on your driving record, you can contact the DMV to correct them. This requires providing evidence that the information is incorrect, such as court documents or proof of ticket payment.

How Do I Know What is On My Record?

Checking your driving record is an essential step in managing your driving history and ensuring its accuracy. Here’s how you can access your California driving record:


The California DMV offers an online service where you can request a copy of your driving record. This is the quickest and most convenient method. You will need to provide personal information and pay a small fee.

In Person

You can visit a DMV office and request a copy of your record. Be prepared to provide identification and pay a small fee.

By Mail

You can also request your driving record by mail by filling out a form and sending it to the DMV with the required fee. This method takes longer but is an option if you prefer not to visit the DMV or use the online service.

Third-Party Services

Some third-party services offer to provide your driving record, but these can be more expensive and less reliable than going directly through the DMV. Always ensure the service is reputable before using it.

Understanding California Driving Records

Understanding the details of your driving record can help you manage your driving privileges better and avoid potential issues. Here are some key points to consider:

Personal Information

Ensure your name, address, and other personal details are correct. Mistakes can lead to complications, especially with law enforcement or insurance companies.

License Status

Your record will show the status of your driver’s license, including any suspensions, revocations, or renewals. Knowing your license status is crucial for legal driving.

Violation History

Review the list of violations to ensure accuracy. If you notice any errors, take immediate steps to have them corrected by contacting the DMV.

Points Summary

Your record will summarize the points accumulated from various violations. Understanding this can help you know how close you are to potential penalties like license suspension.

Insurance Impact

Insurance companies use your driving record to determine your risk level. A clean record can help lower your insurance premiums, while a record with many violations can significantly increase your rates.

Importance of Keeping Your Driving Record Clean

Maintaining a clean driving record is essential for several reasons. Firstly, a clean record can lead to lower insurance premiums, as insurance companies consider you a lower risk. Secondly, many employers check driving records for jobs that involve driving, so a clean record can enhance your employment opportunities. Additionally, avoiding points and violations helps keep your driving privileges intact, ensuring you can continue to drive legally. Lastly, a good driving record reflects safe driving habits, which contributes to your safety and that of others on the road.

Understanding California’s Driving Record System

The California driving record system is a critical component of your driving life. By understanding what goes on your record, how to remove items, and how to access your record, you can better manage your driving history. Taking proactive steps to maintain a clean record can lead to lower insurance costs, better job opportunities, and continued driving privileges. Regularly checking your driving record and correcting any errors ensures it accurately reflects your driving history, helping you stay on top of your driving status and maintain your good standing with the DMV.

Author: Brandon Park