Think traffic tickets are no big deal? Think again. Accruing too many points on your driver’s license can lead to penalties and even probation. Certain offenses carry more weight than others and understanding how Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System works is essential to navigating the state’s roadways as well as its traffic laws.
So, here is how it works. Every in-state driver in Virginia starts with 0 points. You receive +1 point every year you have a positive driving record (no moving violations). You can receive +5 points by voluntarily finishing a defensive driving school. Keep in mind that state law sets the maximum amount of points you can have at five.That’s right.You can drive from the time you are 16 until you are 90 years old and even if you never receive a ticket you will only have a “+5” point balance on your record.
Next, there are 3 classifications of point violations: 3 point, 4 point, and 6 point offenses. An example of a six-point offense is a DUI while an example of a 3-point offense would be making an illegal U-turn.For speeding cases, if your speed exceeded the limit by 1-9 mph, that is a 3 point offense; 10 to 19 mph is a 4 point offense; and 20 mph or more is a 6 point offense (as well as a reckless driving charge).
If you accrue 12 points within 12 consecutive months, you will be placed on a probation status with the DMV. During this probation period, if you are convicted of a moving violation, you could have your licensed suspended for as long as 90 days depending on the type of offense.
Here are some common violations and the points they carry:
- Speeding – (see above:-3, -4 or -6 points)
- Failure to observe traffic signals – 3
- Illegal turn – 3
- Unsafe passing – 4
- Tailgating – 4
Not to be confused with speeding, reckless driving is a criminal offense, not a traffic ticket, and it carries six points. Furthermore, it can stay on your record for up to 11 years. However, one type of reckless driving offense — “failure to stop before entering a highway” — is a four-point violation. Also, keep in mind that a judge can suspend your driving privileges for a reckless driving offense but NOT for a speeding offense (no matter how fast you were going).
You should also be aware that in addition to criminal penalties, a DUI conviction will add six points to your license and remain on your record for as long as 11 years.
Let an experienced traffic attorney be your voice
The NoVa Law Firm is proud to represent Virginia motorists accused of speeding, reckless driving, and other traffic offenses. Call today at (703) 352-9347 for skilled legal guidance with your DUI, DWI or reckless driving case, or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation with a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer.