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How long do points stay on your driving record?

The DMV Point System can often be complicated for many drivers to understand and the question of how long points stay on your record depends on where you reside. All states have different demerit point systems which define how long points stay on your record.

One important note is (much like a late payment on a credit report) demerit points can often stay on your record longer than the actual negative impact. Even with multiple driving offenses there is still a change to be classified as a good driver with points on your record if the convictions were more than 2 or 3 years ago – depending on who your car insurance company is.

What should you know about the Point System?

Motor vehicle laws are set for the safety of all drivers and whether or not you think rolling through a 4 way stop when nobody is around is going to hurt anybody or not laws are still in place to prevent accidents which all drivers must comply.

“Driving is a privilege – NOT a constitutional right”

In order to maintain some kind of system where high risk drivers are held accountable for their actions local governments have established the point system as a way to curb high risk driving habits and penalize offenders who beak traffic laws. While most drivers will never be subject to a drivers license suspension the mere threat of demerit points on your record and higher car insurance rates has proven to be very effective for improving compliance with motor vehicle laws.

View a DMV Point System Guide by State here

How does the Point System work?

The Demerit Point system works by attaching a numerical value to traffic violations. While some smaller violations such as not wearing a seatbelt carry minimal value other high risk violations such as excessive speeding, driving under the influence or failure to stop for a school bus carry very high point value. In fact, there are some traffic violations where a single incident (like a DUI or DWI) has enough value attached that your license becomes automatically suspended. For most drivers however a drivers license will only be suspended after accumulation of several traffic violations within a specific time period. For example some states use a demerit point system that looks like this:

  • 12 points in any 12 month period = automatic 30-day suspension of your drivers license
  • 18 points in any 18 month period = automatic 30-day suspension of your drivers license

The best way to understand the Demerit Point System for your state is to contact your DMV (or similar government department) or view our complete state by state point system guide here.

Car Insurance with Points on your record?

While almost all moving violations result in demerit points its important to note that not all citations equal higher car insurance rates. Before applying for car insurance its worthwhile to pull your DMV record to confirm your driving record and also make sure there are no errors. A single ticket is often overlooked by many car insurance companies but it really depends on what type or moving violation it was. Any kind of conviction for driving with no insurance or excessive speeding will almost always surely prevent you from getting a good driver discount.

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