DMV Point System

The DMV point system assigns a number of demerit points per traffic offense when you are ticketed or arrested for a traffic violation. These points can stay on your record for two to ten years depending on where you live and the offense in question. The DMV demerit system can impact your car insurance rates if you have a history of traffic violations. Learn how to keep points off your license with our DMV point system guide by state below.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • Demerit usually points only stay on your record for two years
  • Severe offenses that can earn you demerit points include reckless driving and DUI
  • Each offense has a predetermined value

The points system is a demerit point system created to help create a safer driving environment and penalize those who fail to obey traffic laws.

The point system is commonly referred to as the DMV point system since it is usually enforced by the Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent government department responsible for handling the issuance of driver’s licenses.

While it fell under initial controversy, the results of the point system dramatically showed a significant reduction in high-risk driving habits after the first year.

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Is the point system the same for all drivers?

While all mature drivers are subject to the same Point System for the state, they reside a much tighter set of rules have been established for new drivers in most states – especially those with some form of graduated driver license system.

However, after a couple of years when a young driver gets a driver license without restrictions, they will fall into the same point system as everyone else.

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What are points and how do they affect my driver’s license?

Demerit points are points added to your driving record based on a conviction for specific moving violations and other traffic offenses.

Depending on the particular type of demerit point system in place, a driver will have points added or subtracted to their driving record for each convicted offense.

In some states, for example, every driver starts with 12 points and points are gradually taken away each time a qualifying conviction occurs. In other countries drives to start with zero points and points are added merely when a convicted traffic offense happens.

If a driver receives too many points their license may be suspended or even revoked in extreme cases however the primary goal of the point system is to identify and deter high-risk drivers.

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Which traffic offense has the most points?

If you follow the rules of the road then you probably have nothing to worry about it, however, be aware that almost any traffic offense has possible points attached to a conviction.

Each offense has a predetermined value, and once you accumulate enough points within a given period, then you can be subject to severe consequences.

For most people, this means getting pulled over at least four times for a speeding ticket and pleading guilty to each and every one, however, it’s not hard to get multiple tickets at the same time.

When it comes to car insurance companies, they understand exactly how much of a higher risk any person is when convicted of a traffic offense vs. those good drivers with a clean driving record so expect to pay high car insurance rates after any conviction.

DMV Point System Guide by State

There are a few states that do not use a drivers’ license point system. They are as follows:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Check out the links below for the states that do use a point system!












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