DMV-Hidden

Web Content Viewer

Actions
Loading...
DMV-Hidden

Unsafe Driver Consequences

Actions
Loading...
DMV California Teens banner

What happens if I get a ticket or have an accident?

Because you are a minor (under 18), DMV closely watches your driving performance.

If you get a traffic ticket, you must either pay the fine or show up in court. If you don't, DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you pay the fine or appear in court.

  • If you have one "at fault" (you caused it) accident or traffic conviction within 12 months, you will receive a warning letter from DMV.
  • If you get a second "at fault" accident or traffic conviction within 12 months, you cannot drive for 30 days unless your parent or other licensed adult who is at least 25 years of age is with you. Beginning on January 1, 2006, the 30-day restriction becomes a 30-day suspension. You won't be able to drive at all for 30 days.
  • If you have a third "at fault" accident or traffic conviction within 12 months, you will be suspended for six months and placed on probation for one year.

After four "at fault" accidents or traffic convictions within 12 months, you will be categorized as an unsafe driver.

What is probation and what happens if I violate it?

Probation is when DMV decides not to suspend or revoke your driving privilege. Instead, you get a warning and for a certain period of time you cannot get any more "at fault" accidents or traffic convictions. If you keep your driving record clean for the period of time you are on probation, the probation will be removed.

Probation also includes the period when your driving privilege is suspended or revoked. You are not allowed to drive during that time. If you are given a restriction, you can only drive within your restrictions. Anything else is a violation of your probation.

  • For a first or second violation while on probation, you will be suspended for 6 months. The length of your probation will also be extended for one year from the violation date.
  • For a third violation while on probation, you will be revoked for one year.

What is a DMV hearing and can I request one?

A DMV hearing is where you get a chance to discuss your driver record with a DMV Hearing Officer who will decide if the DMV consequence against your driving privilege is needed or not. In a hearing, the driver gets a chance to produce evidence and testify why he/she should not receive the DMV sanction and why he/she is not an unsafe driver. (More information)

Can I request a hearing? No, most teens cannot request a DMV hearing. There is only one situation in which you can request a hearing. If you were involved in an accident and you were not at fault, you may request a hearing to present evidence to show that you were not responsible for the accident.

How do I get my license back after my suspension is over?

That's a good question. This is something you can't do by yourself. You probably need your parents' or guardians' permission and help. Here's what you can do:

If your driver license has not expired, you will need to:

  • Pay a $55 reissue fee.
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22). You must maintain this insurance for 3 years.

If your driver license has expired or your driving privilege was revoked, you will need to:

  • Reapply for a new driver license.
  • Pay a $55 reissue fee.
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22). You must maintain this insurance for 3 years.

Consequences For Unsafe Drivers

Regardless of your age, if you have too many traffic tickets or accidents on your driver record, DMV will classify you as an unsafe driver and will closely monitor your driving behaviors to help you recognize your bad driving habits and correct them, before you get into a collision where you or someone else gets seriously injured or killed.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Your risk of having a collision where someone is injured is three times higher for you than for other drivers.

Why? Because you are inexperienced, careless, easily distracted, are prone to take crazy risks, you are influenced by your peers, and you feel invincible. You are not always going to be the "lucky one" where nothing bad ever happens to you.

Why? Because you are a new driver. No matter how well you think you can drive, you can't drive as well as someone (like your parents) who has been driving much longer than you. An experienced driver learns how dangerous driving can be if he/she doesn't practice good driving habits.

What happens to really bad drivers?

Your record goes into an automated system that tracks all traffic violations and accidents. You will be sent warning letters automatically when DMV receives notices from a court. If you don't improve your driving habits, you will be put on probation, and your license may be suspended or revoked. Here is what happens:

There are four levels of action DMV takes for unsafe drivers:

Level 1: Warning Letter

You will receive this warning letter if you have:

  • 2 points on your driver record within 12 months
  • 4 points on your driver record within 24 months
  • 6 points on your driver record within 36 months
  • been convicted of a major traffic offense

Level 2: Notice of Intent to Suspend

You will receive this warning letter if you have:

  • 3 points on your driver record within 12 months
  • 5 points on your driver record within 24 months
  • 7 points on your driver record within 36 months
  • been convicted of a major traffic offense

This warning letter tells you that you need to correct your poor driving habits and attitudes immediately. If you receive any more points, your driving privilege will be suspended.

Level 3: Probation/Suspension

Your driving privilege will be suspended for 6 months and you will be on probation for one year if you have:

  • 4 points on your driver record within 12 months
  • 6 points on your driver record within 24 months
  • 8 points on your driver record within 36 months

Don't say we didn't warn you. DMV gave you a chance to drive smart and drive safe with the previous warning letters. If you get this letter, apparently you are not responsible enough to be driving and your driving privilege is suspended.

You will also get an additional 6-month suspension and your probation will be extended for one year if you:

  • get another traffic ticket, or
  • are involved in an accident, no matter who is at fault

Level 4: Violation of Probation

Your driving privilege will be automatically suspended and a Violation of Probation Order will be sent to you if you violate your probation. What is a probation violation? If you:

  • Get a ticket or have an accident during the time you are suspended
  • Get a one- or two-point ticket or are responsible for an accident while you are on probation
  • Fail to appear or don't pay a traffic fine while you are on probation
  • Are under 18 years of age and violated your provisional license probation by:
    - Being responsible for an accident, or
    - Not paying a traffic fine, or
    - Not paying a traffic fine, or
    - Having any other traffic citation.

Can I Get A Restricted License?

In California where our transportation alternatives are pretty good, the chance of you getting a critical need restriction is pretty slim. If you do meet DMV's critical need requirements a restricted license will be issued to you after a mandatory 30-day suspension and only if you:

  • Completed a PAS, blood, breath, or urine test, and
  • You've shown that you have a critical need to drive.

A critical need restriction allows you to drive during your suspension if you have a critical need to drive and all other transportation options are inadequate. This type of restriction is typically given:

  • For family illness (not your own),
  • To go to and from school,
  • To go to and from work, or
  • For a family business if your driving is a crucial part of your family's income.

How do I apply for a restricted license?

Complete an Application for Critical Need Restriction (DS 694) and mail it to the address shown on the form. Include documents from your school, physician, or employer to support your need for a restricted license.

How do I get my driver license?

If you are under 18, you need to get your parents' or guardians' permission.

If your driver license has not expired, you will need to:

  • Pay a $100 reissue fee.
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22). You must maintain this insurance for 3 years.

If your driver license has expired or your driving privilege was revoked, you will need to:

  • Reapply for a new driver license and pay the application fee.
  • Pay a $100 reissue fee.
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22). You must maintain this insurance for 3 years.
Complementary Content