Taking a traffic school course rarely appears high on anyone’s to-do list, but if you have a ticket to dismiss or would like to save a little money on your car insurance, there’s really no easier way. Not ready to jump in yet? Here are a few more answers that may help you decide.
Answers in this post:
Can I Take Traffic School Online in CA?
Absolutely. In fact, there’s really no better or easier way to complete a defensive driving course. An online course allows you to get the job done quickly and easily on a schedule and at a pace that works for you. Work on it whenever you have a few minutes and it will be over before you know it.
How Often Can You Take Traffic School in California?
As a general rule, drivers can use a traffic school course every 18 months to dismiss tickets for minor driving violations. Most drivers qualify as long as they have a valid drivers license and the offense occurred in a non-commercial vehicle.
How Do I Complete Traffic School in California?
There are a number of steps to the process. All of them are easy, but you want to get them done in order to make sure your ticket gets dismissed.
You will be receiving a “Courtesy Notice” from your court 45-60 days after you receive your citation. This notice will explain the options you have to deal with your ticket and you will have to act on one of these options by the date printed on the notice. If your court fails to provide you with a courtesy notice by the date printed on your ticket, it is your responsibility to contact your court by phone, in person, or by email to learn your options.
Options offered on a courtesy notice may include:
- Proof of Correction—If your citation was for a non-moving violation such as no insurance, no registration, or a vehicle malfunction, you can submit proof that you have corrected the issue, pay a small administrative fee and your ticket will be dismissed.
- Payment of Ticket—Also known as “bail forfeiture,” this involves a simple payment of the associated fine. This is probably the least attractive option as it will result in the ticket being added to your record, along with the associated driving record points. This will result in higher insurance premiums and, with enough points, can put your license at risk.
- Request for Court Appearance—If you believe you received your ticket in error, you have the right to pay an administrative fee and bring your issue to court. If the court rules in your favor, your ticket will be dismissed. If you are unsuccessful, you will be responsible for the associated fees and penalties associated with the ticket. There is also the possibility you will be extended the opportunity to attend traffic school.
- Traffic School—In most cases, this option is probably the best option as successful completion of a course will result in the masking of your ticket. This means that the violation (and the associated points) will not appear on your driving record. It is also potentially the least expensive option.
Traffic School is an option for most drivers unless the citation was written for a non-moving violation, if it requires a mandatory court appearance, the ticket was for an alcohol-related infraction, or the driver is the holder of a commercial drivers license. Drivers are also ineligible if they have dismissed a ticket with traffic school in the past 18 months.
If you are eligible for traffic school, here are the steps required by the court to satisfy the requirement.
- Step 1—Pay the court fees required to attend traffic school in person, by mail, by phone, or online. In exchange, you will receive a document from the court allowing you to attend driver improvement school.
- Step 2—Use the document you received from the court to enroll in traffic school. You may attend traffic school in person or online. Be very sure you select a school that has been approved by the California DMV. You can begin your search for a school on the DMV’s Occupational License website or simply choose from one of the DMV-approved providers on this page.
- Step 3—Complete your 8-hour traffic school course by the deadline given you by the court.
After successful completion of the course, the traffic school will communicate to the court that you have done so and your ticket will be behind you. Drive safely so that you won’t have to go through this dance again down the road.
Need More Help Deciding on a Course?
For help deciding, you can read reviews of our number one choice (as well as a couple of others) or you can just get started with any of the other fine, DMV-approved providers in the chart below. By the way, if five choices aren’t enough, we also have a list of all the online traffic school providers in California.
How Long Does a Speeding Ticket Stay on Your Record in California?
Most minor speeding tickets result in a one-point violation that will remain on a driving record for three years. After three years and three months, you can request the DMV to remove the point from your record.
Driving record points carry consequences. Discovery of points by your insurance company may be cause to increase your premiums. More importantly, the accumulation of points can put your license at risk of suspension.
In California, if a driver accumulates four points in 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in 36 months, their license will be suspended. Spending a little time in traffic in traffic school after a citation is the easiest and least expensive way to keep your license safe.
John FabelI have a long and checkered history with defensive driving. I took my first "court invited" course at age 15 and realized immediately that there had to be a better way. Since that first experience, I have gone on to teach defensive driving classroom courses and to author four internet courses in 2 states. After nearly 25 years in the industry, I can help you find a course that will be the best fit for you.
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Can Defensive Driving be Done Online in Texas?
Can defensive driving be done online? The answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!" Complete a course conveniently at a pace that suits you.
What is Online Defensive Driving?
Online defensive driving is just what it sounds like: a convenient way to fulfill a court or insurance requirement quickly and easily.
What is Covered in a Defensive Driving Course?
Whether it's your first time or it's been a while, if you have questions about the things covered in a defensive driving course. Find your answers here.