Do I Qualify for Traffic School?
To qualify for traffic school, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must currently have a valid California driver's license.
- The violation on your ticket must be an eligible infraction under the Vehicle Code.
- Any violation that carries a negligent operator point count of more than one point under Vehicle Code section 12810 or one and one-half points or more under Vehicle Code section 12810.5(b)(2) is not eligible.
- There are other specified violations that are not eligible for traffic school, like:
- seat belt, mechanical, or equipment violations, and
- failure to have insurance.
- You must not have attended traffic school for a previous violation committed within the last 18 months. (The court determines the 18-month eligibility period from the date of the past violation to the new violation date, not from when you completed traffic school.)
- If you got a citation for speeding, the speed listed on your citation cannot be more than 25 mph over the speed limit.
- Your citation must not have become a failure to appear (because you did not go to a required court hearing) unless:
- you have resolved the failure to appear charge with the court, AND
- you have paid any fine or civil assessment the court gave you.
- Your citation must not be for a violation of Vehicle Code section 22406.5 (tank vehicles).
- If you got a citation while driving with a Class A, B, or Commercial Class C driver's license, on or after January 1, 2013, but you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the violation, you may attend traffic school, if eligible. (The DMV will not assess the point count on your driving record. But they will also not hold the conviction as confidential. This could have a negative effect on your insurance.)
- If you have a commercial license, you will need to call the DMV's Drivers Safety Unit at 916-657-6452 after completing traffic school to get the point removed from your record.
- If you are eligible for traffic school but decide not to attend, it may have a negative effect on your insurance. The DMV will keep confidential one conviction in any 18-month period, and it will not show on your driving record as long as you complete an approved traffic school program.
Attending Traffic School
If you qualify to go to traffic school, you must pay:
- the total bail amount due on your citation, PLUS
- a non-refundable $82.00 administrative fee.
The traffic school will charge you a separate registration fee when you enroll.
Traffic schools are privately run and accredited by the State of California. If you have any questions about the costs, hours, or locations, you must ask the school you want to attend.
Below are options on how to ask for traffic school:
- By Mail: If you qualify and want to go to traffic school, fill out the bottom portion of your bail notice to request traffic school. Then send it to:
Traffic Clerk's Office
1050 Mission Road,
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Include a check or money order payable to the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo. The court will mail the information you will need to the address listed on your bail notice. You will have 60 days to complete traffic school.
- Online: When making an online payment on the court's Traffic Portal, first search for your case. Then select the "Traffic School Requested" option. Follow the link for a list of approved traffic schools. The court will not mail any other forms or information to you.
How Do I get an Extension to Complete Traffic School?
Please refer to question 10 on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
How do I Get Credit for Traffic School?
To get credit for traffic school, you must:
- pay the citation/ticket bail amount,
- pay the non-refundable administrative fee, AND
- complete an eight-hour traffic school program.
Payment Information for Traffic School
The court will not let you enroll in traffic school until you make the required payments. If you have more than one violation that is eligible for traffic school on your citation, you must pay:
- the highest bail amount, PLUS
- the administrative fee.
Remember, the traffic school will also charge you a fee.
If you are paying by check or money order, make it payable to Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo. Be sure to write "TRAFFIC SCHOOL" and the case number on your check or money order. If the citation includes a correctable violation, the court must receive proof of correction with your traffic school request. If you mail the proof, allow approximately 10 days for delivery and processing.
Options for Completing the Traffic School Course
You have choices for completing the required traffic school course:
- Classroom instruction
- Home study class
- Internet (online) class
After Completing the Traffic School Course
As of September 1, 2012, all approved traffic schools must turn in certificates of traffic school completion electronically to the court. Traffic schools no longer need to issue or turn in hard-copy completion certificates.
Courts must also report completion of traffic school to the DMV as a confidential conviction. The DMV will only keep one conviction in any 18-month confidential, and not report it on your driving record, if you complete a traffic school program. If you decide not to go to traffic school or fail to complete traffic school by the due date:
- you will forfeit (lose) the bail amount and administrative fee you paid,
- the court will not hold any further proceedings for your traffic case, AND
- the violation will show on your DMV driving record. (This could have a negative effect on your insurance.)
Traffic school eligibility is set forth in Vehicle Code section 42005 and California Rules of Court, Rule 4.104.