Learn How To Remove Points From Your Driving Record

driving points
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Increasing the number of points on your driving record is something to worry about since it can seriously impact your auto insurance and even ban you from driving for a certain period of time.

Because of this, it’s best to know how points can be removed from a driving record as well as how long they will remain in your license.

Read carefully the information mentioned next, take the necessary measures to remove or reduce points, or prevent them altogether.

Learn How Points Are Awarded

Though the number of points for each traffic offense varies according to the state, the general rule applies to all of them – the more serious the traffic offense, the more points a driver receives. For instance, while running a red light or littering may award 1 to 3 points, more serious offenses such as DUI can add 5 to 11 points to your driving record.

How To Know The Number Of Points You Have

In most states it is fairly simple to find out how many driver’s license points you have – you just need to check your driving history report. To do so, you can enter the information required by your state’s DMV website and access your report. In other states, however, you have to formally request the report in writing.

How Long Will These Points Be On Your Driving Record?

This depends on the state. Some states such as Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming don’t actually have a point system, even though the government entity in charge keeps a record of infractions to determine when it’s necessary to suspend or revoke a driver’s license.

Consider the following list of the states’ point system validity period:

  • Alabama: Points for a traffic offense last for 2 years.
  • Alaska: two points are erased from the driving record after a year without committing any traffic offenses.
  • Arizona: Points remain on the driving record for a year.
  • Arkansas: It’s necessary to attend traffic school to have points cleared out.
  • California: Offenses that add one point to your record are generally eliminated after 39 months, while others that add more points may last longer on the driving record.
  • Colorado: After 24 months, demerit points are removed from the driver’s record.
  • Connecticut: Points are cleared out after two years.
  • Delaware: When a driver adds a point for a traffic offense, it takes 12 months for it to lose its complete value and start counting as half a point. After 12 more months, the point is cleared out.
  • Florida: The driver has to take a traffic course authorized by the state government to lose the points.
  • Georgia: Points remain on the driving record for a period of two years.
  • Idaho: A driver will need to take a defensive driving course to remove three points from the record. To remove three additional points, the driver must wait three years.
  • Illinois: Minor offenses with the lowest number of points stay on the driver’s record for four to five years.
  • Indiana: Points remain on the record for two years.
  • Iowa: The time it takes for points to be eliminated from a driver’s record varies depending on the offense that was committed. It can range from 5 to 12 years.
  • Kentucky: Points stay on the driver’s license for five years.
  • Maine: The points awarded in this state remain on the driver’s record for a year.
  • Maryland: Here, having demerit points cleared out from a driver’s license requires an expungement request after three years free of traffic offenses.
  • Massachusetts: Driving points are cleared out after 6 years.
  • Michigan: It depends on the severity of the offense, but it generally ranges from 7 to 10 years.
  • Missouri: Driver’s license points are on the record for a period of 18 months.
  • Montana: Points stay on the driving record for three years.
  • Nebraska: The driver must take one of the options offered by the governing traffic entity to get points removed.
  • Nevada: A period of one year applies before points can be cleared out of a record.
  • New Hampshire: Points can be cleared out after three years on the driver’s license.
  • New Jersey: A driver must be one year without any infractions to get three points cleared out from the record.
  • New Mexico: Driver’s license points stay on the record for one year.
  • New York: Points count for up to 18 months.
  • North Carolina: Drivers in this state have to wait three years to have points removed.
  • North Dakota: The system here is different, offering drivers the possibility to lose one demerit point after three months without traffic offenses.
  • Ohio: Points aren’t cleared out in this state until the driver takes a safe driving course.
  • Oklahoma: After one offense-free year, two points are discounted, while after three years, all points may be discounted.
  • Pennsylvania: For every year of safe driving, three points are removed.
  • South Carolina: Each year, half a point is cleared out of a driver’s license.
  • South Dakota: To remove points in this state, drivers have to take different improvement actions that are made available by the DMV.
  • Tennessee: The standard period of time points remain in a license in this state is two years.
  • Texas: Demerit points stay on the record for three years.
  • Utah: In the case of separate convictions, points are cleared out after three years.
  • Vermont: Two years is the standard period of demerit point validity.
  • Virginia: The period of time in which demerits points are valid varies depending on the seriousness of the offense. In some cases, like DUI, points are permanent.
  • Washington DC: Drivers will have demerit points for two years after a traffic infraction.
  • West Virginia: This state also established a two-year period before points are cleared out.
  • Wisconsin: Drivers must enroll in a government authorized driving course to have a point-free record.

Can You Reduce The Number Of Points?

For some states and in some cases, drivers who commit a traffic offense can take a safe driving course to reduce or remove some points from their driving record. Points for major traffic offenses, like DUI, normally can’t be removed from a driver’s license.

An interesting case is that of Virginia, where drivers can earn both negative and positive points. The latter is awarded when you don’t commit any offenses for a year. Drivers can use these merit points to discount the demerit ones.

Keep in mind: The safe driving course you take must be approved by your state if not, it won’t be valid for your driving license.

How Many Points Can You Have On Your License?

This also depends on your state of residence. However, most states have different limits depending on the driver’s age. In Virginia, for example, adult drivers may have their license suspended after accumulating 12 points in a period of up to 12 months, or 18 points in a period of up to 24 months.

When it comes to younger drivers – ages 18 to 19 – traffic offenses may require taking a traffic-driving course. Minor driver infractions carry more drastic consequences: two offenses, regardless of the number of points, can result in a 90-day suspension.

How To Remove Points From Your Driving Record

First and foremost, you may not apply for a points discount. In many cases, drivers have to wait for at least a year to return to having a clear record. However, there are a few ways in which you may apply for points clear out:

1. Take a safe driving course

These courses are usually offered by either the traffic governing agency or by a duly authorized private institute. By attending these classes, you may be able to clear out up to four points off of your driving record.

Despite the benefit this course provides, it doesn’t deduct points from serious traffic offenses and it can only help you reduce the number of points every 18 months or five years, depending on the state.

Note: In some cases, after committing a traffic offense this course is mandatory.

2. Appeal Against The Offense

If you consider the ticket you were given and the points that were added to your driving record wrong, you can appeal in court. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure that you have enough evidence to support your claim.

In some cases, authorities are more flexible with new drivers, so it could be possible to have a few points discounted.

3. Inform The Authorities

In some cases, the officer who notices a traffic infraction may be mistaken. If you are knowledgeable about the law and traffic regulations, you will be able to identify any honest mistake the authority may have made. By doing this you can avoid receiving points on your driving record.

For more information on this subject, read How to Reinstate a Suspended Driver’s License.

To many, driving in the U.S. is as vital as breathing, and having points on the driving record can seriously impact their driving habits. An irresponsible act on the road on your part may automatically prevent you from driving for a period of time. Hence, prevention is the best way to keep a clean record, and your auto insurance rates low.