If you received a traffic infraction while driving with a Class A, B or Commercial Class C driver’s license, on or after January 1, 2013, you might be eligible to resolve the citation by electing to attend Traffic Violator School (TVS). To be eligible, you must meet the following guidelines:
- You have not attended TVS in the last 18 months plus one day (calculated from the last violation date to the current violation date – not by the Traffic School attendance date);
- You have a valid Driver’s License;
- You do not have an outstanding Failure to Appear or Failure to Pay.
Some offenses are not eligible for traffic violator school including:
- a speeding violation is not more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit;
- the citation is for a moving violation that involves drug or alcohol; or
- a violation that occurred in a commercial motor vehicle.
Additional traffic school eligibility information can be found in California Rules of Court, Rule 4.104.
Benefits of Attending Traffic Violator School in California
If you successfully complete traffic school, then upon completion of the traffic school, your violation will be reported to DMV as a confidential conviction. The Court will be able to retrieve an electronic completion certificate from the School/DMV five (5) business days after you have successfully completed Traffic School.
Failure to complete Traffic School or pay a Traffic School installment plan as ordered will result in the Court converting the fee to bail and declaring it forfeited and reporting the forfeiture as a conviction to DMV. Additionally, you may be charged with a Failure to Pay Fine (VC 40508b), imposed a civil assessment of up to $300.00, referred to a collection agency, and/or a notice forwarded to DMV to place a hold on your driver’s license.
If you are eligible for TVS and decide not to attend, then your automobile insurance and driving record may be adversely affected. If you complete traffic school when legally ineligible for a confidential conviction, DMV will remove confidentiality of the conviction from your driving record and the conviction and violation point will appear on your driving record at the DMV.
For the holder of a commercial driver’s license, the benefit of electing to attend traffic school to resolve the citation is that the DMV will remove the point from the commercial license holder’s driving record altough the DMV will not hold the conviction as confidential.
Fees for Traffic Violator School in California
The fees that must be paid to the court before you may sign-up for Traffic Violator School (TVS) include:
- a Bail Amount that varies by violations;
- a State/Court Administrative fee;
- an additional fee, usually $30 – $60 will be charged by the TVS provider when you enroll in their class.
If you are eligible for TVS but ultimately decide not to attend TVS, then your automobile insurance may be adversely affected. If you wish to attend Traffic School but are unable to pay the total bail amount and Traffic School fees, you must appear in Walk-In Court for arraignment to ask the court to consider your ability to pay. Information regarding Walk-In Court is shown above.
If you fail to complete Traffic Violator School by the due date, your bail will be forfeited, and your case will be closed and reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles as a conviction.
Deadline for Electing to Attend Traffic School
If you elect to attend traffic school you must pay the total fine amount plus a State/Court Administrative fee before your court date or extended due date. If you do not timely elect to attend traffic school, you will be unable to request traffic school at a later date.
In some cases, a 90-day Traffic School installment payment plan is also available, but you must contact the court and enter into an approved plan prior to your court date or extended due date.
Traffic school election can be done by mail, in person, or by using the online or phone payment option. However, if there are any correctable or “fix-it” violations on your citation, traffic school election can only be done by mail or in person.
To resolve your citation by electing to attend traffic school you must:
- Elect to attend Traffic School and post Traffic School Bail on or before your appearance date or extended due date;
- Traffic School elections made untimely or without payment of full Traffic School Bail or an approved Traffic School installment payment plan will not be accepted by the Court:
- Select a school and enroll;
- Pay the charge required by the traffic school for the separate enrollment fee.
- Complete a DMV-approved traffic school within 90 days.
No Traffic School For Citations While Driving a Commercial Vehicle
Commercial Drivers are not eligible for Traffic School if cited while driving a commercial vehicle. For moving violations occurring on or after January 1, 2013, holders of commercial driver licenses cited while operating a vehicle that requires only a Class C or Class M license (such as a personal/non-commercial vehicle) may be eligible to attend traffic school.
DMV will not mask the conviction from view on a person’s driving record; however, no points will be assessed.
Finding a DMV-Approved Traffic School
To find a DMV-approved traffic school, use the on-line locator service operated by DMV at: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/dmv/offices.
You can also call the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) , Business Licensing Unit at (916) 229-3127 and request a list of traffic violator schools be sent to you via mail or FAX. You may also use the link provided below to go to DMV’s website.
Click here to find a list of DMV’s approved Traffic Violator Schools offering internet, home study and classroom programs.
Traffic Violator School – CVC 42007
Vehicle Code section 42007 provides that the court shall collect a fee from every person ordered or permitted to attend traffic violator school in an amount equal to the total bail set forth for the eligible offense in the uniform countywide bail schedule.
Where multiple offenses are charged on a single notice to appear, the “total bail” amount collected is the amount applicable to the greater of the eligible offenses; and The court may set a lesser fee upon a showing that the defendant is unable to pay the full amount.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 40512.6 provides that the fee may be converted to bail and forfeited if the defendant fails to submit proof of school completion within the time ordered by the court.
CVC Section 42007.1(a) provides that a $49 fee, a fee for monitoring traffic violator schools, and a TAP fee under Vehicle Code section 11205.2(c) are to be added to the “total bail” of the offense eligible for traffic violator school.
CVC Section 42005 prohibits drivers of commercial vehicles from eligibility for traffic violator school. Drivers with a Class A, Class B, or commercial Class C driver’s license may attend traffic violator school to avoid points for traffic violations in a vehicle that requires only a class M or noncommercial class C license.
CVC Section 42005(d) excludes violations of Vehicle Code sections 20001, 20002, 23103, 23104, 23105, 23140, 23152, 23153, or 23103, as specified in section 23103.5, from eligibility for traffic violator school for pretrial diversion, a confidential conviction, or to avoid points.