Cell Phone Tickets: How Long Do They Stay On Your Record?

This is a good question, especially if you are facing a distracted driving ticket for the use of a cell phone or another electronic communication device. Depending on how you look at it, this kind of ticket either stays on your driving record forever, or it never impacts it at all. That sounds confusing at first, but it really isn’t. To understand how your driving record is, or rather isn’t, affected by cell phone use, you need to understand how California’s traffic penalty system works.

DMV Points in California

Like many states, California uses a point system for calculating whether a driver should face restrictions on operating a vehicle. Different traffic violations are worth different amounts of points, which is why many people facing tickets that carry points choose to hire a traffic violation attorney. For most accumulated points, the turnaround before they drop from your record is 39 months. After that, a violation that adds points will be considered a “first” violation for the purposes of most evaluations of your record.

Points for Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving doesn’t carry any points. As a result, there’s no statute prescribing a time limit for penalties. That means there’s no automatic drop from your record, so a second violation will probably count as a second violation even if it is years after the first one. Luckily, the cost of a distracted driving offense is not the highest. A first offense is only $20 before assessments and a subsequent offense is $50. Assessments can add anywhere from one to several hundred dollars, and they can increase drastically after a first offense.

Get Help With a Fresh Start

A traffic defense attorney Los Angeles might be able to help you argue for consideration as a first-time offender even if you have received a distracted driving ticket before, if enough time has passed. While there might not be an automatic reset the way there are with points, if you have gone a considerable length of time without an offense, there may be an argument in your favor. Otherwise, having the help of an experienced lawyer texting and driving could help you get less additional penalties through assessments, providing you with a chance to minimize the penalties from making a minor mistake on the road.

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