Learn About the DMV Moving Violation Point System

dmv point system
Source: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Most states use the DMV point system assessing points for every traffic violation to your driving record.

The states that do not use the point system usually keep track of moving violations with a driving record history for your license. Both structures keep track of violations and will penalize habitual unsafe drivers. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Even a good driver can slip up when driving and end up with a moving violation.

The Point System and Moving Violations

To understand more fully, we go into more detail with these next sections:

  • The Point System and Moving Violations
  • Longevity of Penalty Points
  • Fixing a Damaged Driving Record
  • Moving Violation Disputes

States all use their own set structure for assessing the number of points or demerits to a driver’s record for moving violations. Some states attach points to a driver’s record based on the number of miles over the speed limit the vehicle had been traveling, while still other states give only one point for a speeding violation. For instance, if you are speeding 16-25 miles per hour over the posted limit in Kentucky, you are slapped with 6 points. Ouch.

Depending on who is found to be at fault, auto accidents are another classification that will accrue multiple points in the states that use the DMV point system. Additionally, if you leave the scene of an accident where there is physical damage or injury, more points are going to be the least of your problems. Points will be added but depending on the damages, you are looking at an arrest for “Hit-and-Run” and could be facing a trial and possible jail time.

Worse yet, driving while intoxicated (DWI), incurs multiple points followed by probably suspension and maybe even jail time. There are multiple laws regarding blood alcohol content level (BAC) while driving that will add additional punishments involving immediate license suspension. The compounding of excessive points and multiple offenses can result in the revocation of the driver’s license forever.

The Longevity of Penalty Points

Assessed penalty points may stay on your driving record for quite a while in many states. Points are not only your problem when they are cemented to your record. Fines for violations vary in cost by state but they can get very expensive.

For instance, severe penalties are fastened to your record with reckless driving. Points, fines and up to 90 days of imprisonment for this first offense may be bolted onto your record in Montana.

As was mentioned DWI penalties are very serious. Simply refusing the roadside alcohol test has its own set of automatic DUI penalties. Points, fines and a permanent mark on your driving record along with an arrest for being intoxicated may be levied as well as license suspension or revocation.  

Fixing a Damaged Driving Record

There are ways to make amends and remove some or all points depending on how severe the infraction. In states that accrue points an online traffic school may be offered to remove points. Some states will allow you to erase points after completing a defensive driving class. In Washington D.C., safe driving points will cancel out demerit points on specific offenses. In states that don’t use the point system there are usually similar options to traffic school that can be taken to wash your record. If you have received a ticket that will assess points, check with the local court that should be listed on the ticket for options to reduce fines and penalties.

If you have checked your driving records and have found false or incorrect charges or points, you may submit your claim to your local DMV office to begin the process of fixing the error to wipe out points.

Checking your driving record from time to time is as important as checking your credit score.

Moving Violation Disputes

Disputing citations and tickets often require hiring a lawyer that specializes in traffic law. In many states, a hearing will be called to address the dispute. If you lose, you will be assessed the initial fine, points, court fees and attorney fees. Do not pay the ticket before you go to court as doing so in some states, is an admission of guilt.