8 Things to Know About Driver’s License Points

The drivers license point system varies across state lines, but all states have a system in place that keeps track of your traffic violations.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The majority of states use a driver’s license point system, and each state has its own rules and regulations about how many points a certain infraction incurs, and how long the points stay on your record.
Collecting too many points on your license can result in your license being suspended or revoked. The good news is, insurance companies don’t rely solely on the driver’s license points system to determine your
car insurance
rates.
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While the point system does vary from state to state, here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind—no matter where you live.
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Some states don’t use a point system

While the majority of states utilize a driver’s license point system, there are nine states that do not. The states that do not use a point system are:
Key Takeaway Not every state uses a point system. However, every state does have a system that keeps track of traffic violations.

Not every traffic violation earns points

Not all traffic violations incur points, particularly non-moving violations, such as fix-it tickets or parking tickets. Accidents where you’re not at fault won’t show up as points on your record either.
The incidents that do incur points are mostly moving violations. Each violation carries its own penalty, depending on its severity. These types of violations include at-fault accidents, reckless driving, speeding, and
driving under the influence (DUI/DWI)
.
Key Takeaway Moving violations tend to show up as points on your record, while non-moving violations may not incur points.

Insurance companies don’t really use the point system

While insurance companies don’t use the DMV’s point system when determining your rates, that doesn’t mean that the point system isn’t a factor. Your driver’s license points are still a part of your driving record.
Insurance companies use their own proprietary systems to determine how your rates will be affected by any violations you have committed. Moving violations trigger a chargeable period, a time period when the violation, depending on its severity, can affect your insurance rates. The violation will add points to your license and it will show up on your driving record and your insurance company’s system.
Key Takeaway Insurance companies use their own proprietary systems to determine your insurance rates.

Getting too many points can have big consequences

Too many points on your license accumulated in a certain period of time can lead to your license being suspended, or even revoked. There’s also a possibility of probation. While the time period and point total can vary from state to state, the repercussions remain consistently drastic.
If you have a DUI on your record, for example, two points will be added to your license and they will stay on your record for years.
Additionally, two speeding tickets within a few years can cause your license to be revoked. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to keep further points off of your license.
Key Takeaway Try to keep points off your license, as too many points may result in your license being revoked or suspended.

Points don’t work the same way everywhere

Each state that uses the point system has its own limits before your driver’s license is suspended.
The following chart is only for states that utilize a point system. If you live in one of the nine states that uses a different system, check out your local DMV website to learn more.
State
Point Threshold before Licence Suspension
Time Period
Alabama
12
2 years
Alaska
12
1 year
Arizona
8
1 year
Arkansas
14
Any given time
California
4
1 year
Colorado
12
1 year
Connecticut
12
2 years
Delaware
10
2 years
Florida
12
1 year
Georgia
15
2 years
Idaho
2
1 year
Illinois
3 moving violations
1 year
Indiana
3 major violations
10 years
Iowa
6
2 years
Kentucky
12
2 years
Maine
12
1 year
Maryland
8
2 years
Massachusetts
12
Any given time
Michigan
12
2 years
Missouri
8
1.5 years
Montana
15
3 years
Nebraska
12
2 years
Nevada
12
1 year
New Hampshire
12
1 year
New Jersey
12
Any given time
New Mexico
7
1 year
New York
11
1.5 years
North Carolina
12
3 years
North Dakota
11
Any given time
Ohio
12
2 years
Oklahoma
10
5 years
Pennsylvania
6
Any given time
South Carolina
12
Any given time
South Dakota
15
1 year
Tennessee
12
1 year
Texas
8
1 year
Utah
200
3 years
Vermont
10
2 years
Virginia
18
1 year
West Virginia
12
Any given time
Wisconsin
12
1 year
Washington D.C.
10
Any given time
Always remember that different states apply different numbers of points to violations. For example,
reckless driving in California
will put 2 points on your license, but in
Utah, reckless driving
will put 80 points on your license.
It’s also important to remember that if your license is registered in one state, but you commit a violation in a different state, you receive points or demerits based on your home state’s system.
Key Takeaway Every state uses a different point system. If you commit a violation in a state other than where your license is registered, your state of origin’s rules will apply, even if you commit a violation in a state that doesn’t use a point system.

Points can stay on your record for a long time

Just like how different states apply different point numbers to violations, they also apply different time frames to how long those violations will stay on your record.
There are some consistencies across the board, but certain violations can have vastly different expiration dates depending on the state. For example, a
California DUI
will stay on your record for 10 years but in
Florida, DUIs
stay on your record for up to 75 years.
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Knowing how to check your point total is worthwhile

If you’re not sure how many points you have on your license, it’s easy to check—all you have to do is request a copy of your driving record from your state DMV. You can view the record online, or have a certified copy mailed to your residence.
There is usually a small fee for access to your driving record, but residents of
Georgia
,
Indiana
,
Ohio
,
Florida
, and
Iowa
can view their driving record free of charge.

Removing points should be a priority

For certain violations, like speeding, you can get your points removed from your license.

Traffic school

You can attend traffic school to remove points off of your license. You’ll pay an additional fee on top of the ticket fine, and then attend traffic school via your DMV. Upon completion, the ticket (usually a speeding ticket) will be removed from your record and you won’t incur any points from it.
Traffic school is almost exclusively online now and can be done at your convenience! But there is a limit to how often you can attend traffic school for speeding tickets. In California, for example, traffic school is only offered once every 18 months. Any additional speeding tickets incurred in that time frame will stay on your record.

Deferral request

To obtain a deferral, you must request one from your local court. There is no guarantee that it will be granted, especially if you have a history of incurring tickets. If you’re approved, you’ll pay a fee, typically $100 to $150, and you must stay ticket-free for one year.
If you incur another ticket during this probation period, the deferral will automatically be revoked. You’ll be on the hook for the original ticket and the new ticket will also show up on your driving record.

Contest in court

The last option is the most time-consuming but might be worth looking into: contesting the ticket in court. If you feel that you have a reason as to why you shouldn’t be at fault, you might want to go this route.
Ticketing officers don’t know your circumstances when they write you a ticket, but a judge might be willing to hear you out.
It is possible that you received the ticket while you were dealing with a family emergency, or perhaps there was a mistake with some traffic signage. If the officer who administered the ticket doesn’t show up on the court date, the judge will automatically rule in your favor.
Please bear in mind that major violations, like DUIs and at-fault accidents, can’t be removed with anything other than time. And, as mentioned before, depending on the state, different violations take different lengths of time to be removed from your record.

Jerry can help you find cheap car insurance

Even if you can’t remove points from your record, Jerry is still on your side.
Jerry
will compare insurance rates from top companies to find you a rate that can save you money, with or without a
clean driving record
.
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FAQs

Will 3 points affect my insurance?

Yes, but not in the way that you may think. Because states apply different numbers of points to different violations, 3 points can be more severe in some states and less severe in others.
How your insurance is affected is dependent entirely on the violation committed, not the points it incurred. Insurance companies don’t use your point total to determine your rates, but the violations will show up on both the point system and the insurance company’s own system.

How much does 1 point affect insurance?

It depends on the violation, but most violations that incur 1 point are minor. Traffic tickets can be 1-point infractions, but likely won’t affect your insurance rates.
That having been said, at-fault accidents are also 1 point in many states, and they most likely will affect your insurance rates.
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