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How A Red Light Ticket Can Affect Your Record

Getting a red light ticket, whether at a camera enforced intersection or in a face-to-face encounter with a law enforcement officer (LEO) can not only affect your wallet with a $480-$500 fine and a possible increase in your auto insurance rates; but will also affect your driving record for the next three years.

California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

The DMV manages the NOTS program for the State of CA and assigns or assesses points as directed by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses. A conviction of a minor infraction or accident receives one NOTS point on the motor vehicle driving record (MVR). The DMV assesses two NOTS points for major infractions, misdemeanors, and felony driving convictions. An exception for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders exists; whereas, they receive 1.5 points and 3 points for the same violations that regular drivers get for 1- and 2-point violations. A conviction on a red light ticket will prompt the DMV to assess one point.

Once a driver is assessed four points in a twelve-month period, they are then considered as negligent operators by the DMV and sent a notice of suspension and probation. The suspension is for six months, while the probation runs concurrently with the suspension for six months and then an additional six months. Therefore, any conviction, accident (regardless of fault), or Failure to Appear (FTA) will result in an extension of the six months suspension and another twelve-months of probation, plus additional fines and penalties.

Traffic School and Your Insurance

The DMV authorizes a person convicted of a red light ticket or other minor infraction to attend a state-approved traffic school to keep the conviction confidential. You will still need to pay the $480-500 fine and an additional amount to the court for the privilege of attending, usually $64 in most Central Valley counties, such as Tulare County. Then, you must pay the school’s tuition and pass a multiple-choice test after completion, but for it to count for DMV purposes, you must finish before the court required date. State-approved schools send the DMV your certificate of completion, but be sure and keep a copy for your records.

There are several reasons you may not be eligible to attend traffic school and have it count towards keeping your ticket masked from your insurance company and the public:

● You were driving a commercial motor vehicle when cited

● You were convicted of a major infraction (speeding 100+ mph), misdemeanor, or felony

● You were given a “fix-it” ticket for a non-moving violation

● You do not have a valid license

● It has been less than 18 months since the last conviction and you used traffic school to mask that ticket

● If you have a mandatory court appearance for your ticket

● Drug and alcohol-related incidents

For more information and where to find a state-approved school check CA.GOV here.

Consult with a Traffic Attorney for Tulare County

Many people believe it is less expensive and less hassle to pay for a red light ticket than hire an attorney. In most cases, that is incorrect. When you pay the fine, it is $480-500. Add the $64 for the privilege of attending traffic school, and then the tuition, usually $20 for an online class and $50 for classroom instruction. However, when you take the course online, you still must pass a proctored test, which is $20-30. Therefore, $480 + $64 + $50 = $594, And, if you’re not eligible for traffic school, which likely means you had a conviction or paid a fine already, then your insurance premium will increase significantly for the next three years.

When you call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, Central Valley’s premier traffic ticket defense team, you will have the benefit of first-class legal representation. And, a chance that your ticket will be dismissed, and your insurance premiums will stay the same. That will never happen if you just pay the fine. Send an email: with as much information as possible and they will get back to you with your options.

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CA.GOV website, “Find a Traffic School”

California Courts Judicial Branch website, “Traffic School”

CA Vehicle Code 12810

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