DRIVING RECORD AND POINT ASSESSMENT IN VIRGINIA
How many points is a speeding ticket in Virginia? How long do points stay on your license in VA? How many points on your license is bad?
Maybe you’re new to Virginia, you just got a ticket, and you’ve never heard of driving demerit points. You may be thinking, “What are points on a driving record?” Or maybe you are facing a license suspension and need to know how to avoid a suspension of your privilege to drive a motor vehicle.
Whatever your situation or questions, we have you covered. Keep reading to find out what a demerit point is, what a safe driving point is, and how to keep your license from being suspended due to an accumulation of drivers license points on your record.
WHY DO YOU EARN BAD/NEGATIVE DRIVING POINTS?
What is your safe driving points balance? If you are licensed to drive by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the DMV uses a point system to rate a driver’s record. When you obtain a copy of your DMV driving record or you check your account online, look for the entry listed as your “safe driving points balance” in Virginia.
When you are convicted of certain criminal offenses or traffic infractions, you will earn demerit points on your driving record. Each type of charge is assigned a certain demerit point value of 3, 4, or 6 points.
Think of these as negative safe driving points on your record. While these negative driving points are calculated into your safe driving points balance for two years from the date of the offense, the length of time that the conviction continues to be listed on your Virginia driving record depends on the severity of the violation, from 3 to 11 years.
Convictions are reported to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) who assigns, monitors, and tracks demerit or your DMV points in VA. This information is provided to your insurance company upon request.
We should note that the point system used by your insurance company for their internal purposes is probably a different point system than being discussed here.
If you accumulate a certain number of demerit points on your DMV record in Virginia, your license will be affected. Here is the breakdown for drivers 18 and older:
- 8 points in 12 months or 12 points in 24 months—you will get a warning letter from the DMV
- 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months—you will get a notice from the DMV that you need to complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days to avoid suspension
- 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months—you will get a notice from the DMV that you need to complete a driver improvement clinic, AND your license will be suspended for 90 days.
Examples of 3-point violations:
- Speeding (1-9 miles above posted speed limit)
- Improper passing
- Changing course after signaling
- Driving without appropriate lights
- Texting while driving
Examples of 4-point violations:
- Speeding (10-19 miles above posted speed limit)
- Unsafe passing
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Improper signaling
- Failure to obey traffic signal
Examples of 6-point violations:
- Speeding (20+ miles above posted speed limit)
- Reckless driving
- Driving on a suspended license
- Driving while intoxicated
- Involuntary manslaughter
To read more about the demerit system and the point value of each violation, go to the DMV website for Virginia.
HOW TO EARN GOOD POINTS
Don’t worry! To offset demerit points, you can also earn Safe Points. Think of these as positive points on your VA driving record, to balance out the negative points.
You can earn Safe Points two different ways:
- One point for each year with a Virginia license without any violations or suspensions. You can accumulate up to 5 DMV points this way.
- Five points for each time you complete an approved driver improvement clinic. You may voluntarily take one of these every two years, and as mandated by the DMV. Points earned by attending driver improvement clinics are applied the April of the following calendar year.
HOW TO KEEP FROM LOSING YOUR LICENSE
There are a number of ways to keep from losing your license:
- If you get a notice from the DMV that you need to complete a driver improvement clinic, do that immediately to cancel out the demerit points you have accrued. Take advantage of the chance to improve your safe driving points balance in Virginia.
- Drive safely, accrue Safe Points, and let past demerits fall off your record.
- Drive safely and don’t get tickets in the first place! Mistakes happen, though, and we want to be there for you if your driving record gets out of hand.
If you have any questions about driving safety, your Virginia driving record, Harrisonburg traffic court, or your legal recourse in case of suspension, contact Cook Attorneys today!
If you are interested in finding out how many points are on your license/record, check the Virginia DMV website.
The driving point system was created to keep Virginians safe. But if you’ve had more than your share of DMV demerit points in VA or if you have questions about anything else regarding driving points in VA, don’t hesitate to contact us.
In addition, if you have a commercial operators license or you are a driver younger than 18, you should know that there may be additional considerations and harsher penalties not discussed in this post, and that you especially should consult with a speeding ticket lawyer before heading to court.
We are here for you as your traffic defense lawyers! We can even walk you through how to check how many points you have on your license.
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