Driver's License Demerit Points for Traffic Tickets in Virginia
If you hold a Virginia driver’s license and are convicted of a traffic offense, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can put demerit points on your driving record. Each demerit point offense carries a certain number of points assigned by the DMV. When you accumulate a specific number of points, the DMV can suspend or even revoke your driver’s license.
If you are an out-of-state driver who is ticketed here, Virginia can report the offense to your state. However, your home state will decide whether and how many points to assign to your record.
If you have received a traffic citation or been arrested for a driving offense in Virginia, you will want to know how the driver’s license point system works and the possible impact it will have on your driving record and driving privileges. Upton Law, PLLC focuses exclusively on traffic cases and criminal defense. Whether you are a Virginia driver or are from out of state, attorney Samantha Upton can discuss with you how to mitigate the effects of a traffic ticket. Contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free case review.
Virginia DMV Points: How Many Points Can You Get?
In Virginia, traffic offenses may result in the imposition of demerit points on your driving record. Offenses can result in the imposition of three to six demerit points, depending on the type of traffic offense.
If you are under the age of 18, a first-time conviction for a demerit-point traffic offense will require you to complete a driver improvement clinic. Failure to complete the clinic within 90 days will result in the suspension of your driver’s license until you complete the clinic. A second conviction will result in an automatic suspension of your license. A third conviction will result in the revocation of your license for at least one year or until you turn 18, whichever is longer.
For adult drivers, accumulating a certain number of points within a particular period can result in the suspension of driving privileges. When you accumulate eight demerit points in a 12-month period or 12 points in a 24-month period, you will receive a notice that warns you about accumulating additional points. If you accumulate 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months, you will be required to complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days.
If you accumulate 12 points in a 12-month period or 18 points in a 24-month period, you will be placed on DMV probation for 6 months and be required to successfully complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days. If you don’t take the driver improvement course as required, your license will be suspended until you comply with the requirement. If you have already been placed on DMV probation and receive a traffic ticket, your license will be suspended for a period of time determined by the number of demerit points associated with your new ticket.
Demerit points do not just go away. They are subtracted from your point balance until you earn them back with years of safe driving. You can earn one positive point for each year that passes without a moving violation. So, if you admit guilt to committing a traffic offense in Virginia, it can carry long-term consequences for you.
Traffic Violations and Demerit Points
Different traffic violations lead to varying levels of demerit points on your driving record. Again, it will depend on the severity of the offense. So, how many points is a ticket worth? Examples of the points that can be assigned for traffic offenses include:
- Speeding 1-9 mph over the posted speed limit
- Impeding traffic with slow speed
- Improper passing
- Improper driving
- Improper stopping on a highway
- Failing to give way to an overtaking vehicle
- Driving over a fire hose
- Unauthorized use of a crossover on a controlled highway
- Driving on the sidewalk
- Making an improper turn
- Making an illegal U-turn
- Making an illegal turn at a red light
- Failure to obey a highway sign
- Evading a traffic control device
- Driving without lights
- Driving without a driver’s license or license plate
- Allowing an unlicensed driver to drive
- Failing to stop at the scene of a crash with an unattended vehicle
- Drinking while driving
- Driving while using earphones
- Committing passenger restriction or curfew violations
- Using an electronic device while driving
- Failing to stop before entering a highway
- Speeding 10-19 mph above the posted speed limit
- Unsafe passing
- Failing to stop for a pedestrian
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Impeding or failure to yield to a funeral procession
- Failing to obey railroad crossing signals
- Failing to stop at or return to the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving property damage
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Improper backing or turning
- Disregarding a police officer or crossing guard’s signal
- Speeding above 85 mph, or 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Refusing a breath/blood test
- Driving on a suspended license
- Committing vehicular manslaughter or involuntary vehicular manslaughter
- Failing to stop at or return to the scene of a crash involving injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more
- Eluding police
Safe Driver Points
In addition to demerit points, holders of Virginia driver’s licenses earn one safe driving point for each calendar year that the driver is not convicted of any traffic violations or does not receive any driver’s license suspensions. These points are awarded in April of each year for the prior calendar year. A driver can earn a maximum of five safe driving points.
A driver can also earn five safe driving points at once for completing a driver improvement clinic. However, if a court orders a driver to attend a driver improvement clinic as part of the driver’s sentence for a traffic violation conviction, the court can also order that the driver does not receive any safe driving points for successfully completing the clinic. You should not take a driver improvement course proactively unless advised to do so by a traffic lawyer familiar with the court your case is pending in.
What Is the Difference Between Insurance Points and License Points?
While demerit points are issued by the Virginia DMV for a traffic violation conviction, your insurance company may also use a points system. An insurance company’s points system is different and separate from the Virginia DMV’s demerit points system. The insurance company may impose points if you commit a traffic violation or cause a motor vehicle accident. If you accumulate a certain number of points, the insurance company may raise your rate. Your insurance company should provide you with this information.
How an Attorney Can Help You Fight Traffic Tickets
If you have received a traffic citation or been arrested for a traffic offense in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia, an attorney can help you explore all options available to you. An experienced Virginia traffic ticket lawyer can help you by:
- Reviewing the facts and circumstances of your case to identify potential factual and legal defenses to your traffic ticket
- Representing your rights and interests, especially when you are from out-of-state and cannot easily return to Virginia to address your ticket
- Providing honest, direct advice about your rights and potential strategies for fighting your ticket
- Helping you understand all your options, including an explanation of demerit points and how to minimize the impact a ticket has on your driving record.
Get Help from an Experienced Virginia Traffic Ticket Attorney Today
Attorney Samantha Upton has dedicated her legal career to helping clients throughout Virginia and surrounding states find solutions to their traffic ticket headaches. To learn more about your options for dealing with your traffic citation and about the driver’s license and insurance points system, contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free and confidential consultation with a knowledgeable Virginia traffic defense attorney.