Online Traffic School Requirements in California

by sem on June 7, 2013


Dealing with your traffic citation can be a confusing and tricky experience. If it’s your first ticket, you’re probably unfamiliar with the rules and laws, and the tricks to make things easier—specifically, your California traffic school eligibility. And if you habitually get traffic tickets, well, welcome back. Please pay attention this time!

One of the most confusing things to understand about traffic tickets is that each state has its own set of rules and regulations, and has its own version of the point system. So what makes you eligible in New Jersey may not necessarily work for California. And with thousands of people moving to California each year, you can imagine the confusion this can cause.

To make matters worse, Californian eligibility is determined by county. So what may be eligible in San Francisco may not work in Los Angeles. This may seem unfair, but remember: California is a humongous state. How humongous? Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and probably Washington, D.C. could fit snugly within its borders.

Confused yet? There are even more stipulations. Because eligibility can vary so much from county to county, it’s probably easier to list the reasons and occasions where traffic school is NOT an option. According to the 2013 California rules of court, you DO NOT have Traffic School Eligibility if:

  • Your violation was a misdemeanor.
  • Your violation was alcohol-related or drug-related.
  • You failed to appear in court (under VC40508(A) or PC1214.1), unless the charges have been adjudicated and the fines paid.
  • You violated the vehicle codes concerning tank vehicles.
  • You were speeding in excess of 25 MPH over the posted speed limit.
  • A mandatory court appearance is required.
  • You have already taken a California traffic school course within 18 months.
  • Your violation occurred in a commercial vehicle.

Of course, if you aren’t immediately eligible for California approved traffic school, there’s nothing wrong with asking the judge to grant you an exception. If you’re otherwise an excellent driver and have no history of traffic violations, the court might be willing to grant you an exception. Just be sure to plead your case politely and efficiently, and be appreciative, no matter what the answer may be. Everything counts, even manners. If you’re lucky, you can get permission to enroll in a traffic school course, and you could possibly enjoy the low California insurance discount that your fellow law-abiding citizens have.

Because the laws vary by county, you will need to double check with the traffic court that issued your ticket to see if you’re eligible. And because insurance carriers have differing sets of rules and policies, you will have to ask your own agent about any insurance discounts. But if you do your homework properly, you should be back on the California roads in no time at all.

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