The Traffic Ticket "Points" System
Each state has a system that assigns a point value to different kinds of traffic offenses, used by the state's motor vehicle department (DMV) to keep track of the driving records of all licensed drivers in the state. More serious offenses have higher point values, whereas minor violations are assigned minimal points. For example, in one state, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign might be worth two points, while driving thirty miles per hour over the posted speed limit might be valued at four points. An example of how the points might break down is given below. Although this listing of offenses is not exhaustive and point systems vary from state-to-state, this example shows the relative values that might be assigned by a particular state, based on the seriousness of the offense.
- Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or another felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of an accident
- Reckless driving
- Unlawful blood-alcohol content (BAC) level
- Refusal to take a chemical test
- Fleeing or eluding a police officer
- Drag racing
- Impaired driving
- Any blood-alcohol level in a driver under twenty-one years of age
- Sixteen miles per hour or more over the legal speed limit
- Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Careless driving
- Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing
- Eleven to fifteen miles per hour over the legal speed limit
- Failure to stop at a railroad crossing
- Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard
- Ten miles per hour or less over the legal speed limit
- All other moving violations of traffic laws
- Refusal of breath test for alcohol content by a driver under twenty-one years of age
If a driver accumulates a certain number of points within a given time frame, his or her driving privileges can be suspended. Insurance companies also have access to this information and may use it as a basis to raise insurance premiums.
Can I Remove Points from my Driving Record?
In some states you may be able to erase or remove accumulated points from your driving record if you meet certain conditions. Typically some states will allow you clear your driving record if you've completed a state-approved driver improvement course or you have maintained a spotless driving record for a period of time. To learn more about wiping your driving record clean, contact your local DMV office or an attorney.
Traffic Tickets "Points" System: Get Help Now
Even good, safety-focused drivers can be charged with a traffic violation. If you have been issued a traffic ticket and would like to learn more about the potential impact on your driving record and car insurance rates, the best place to start is to speak with an experienced traffic ticket attorney in your area. An attorney will evaluate all aspects of your case and explain all options available to you -- including the administrative procedure and driving record penalties you can expect -- and will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.