A DMV point system assesses points on a drivers record to indicate traffic violations that have taken place and to penalize motorists for unsafe driving practices. Some states do not abide by a driver point system and instead focus on moving violations on a motorist's history. Penalty points are assessed on a state-by-state basis and vary based on the specific traffic infraction and its degree of severity. Learn more about how demerit points work in the United States and how to dispute moving violation charges in the following sections:
- Moving violations and points.
- Penalties in the U.S.
- How to fix a driving record.
- Disputing a moving violation charge.
Moving Violations and Points
Demerit points for speeding are a common occurrence in most states. However, every state treats speeding ticket points differently, with some states ruling that the number of points assessed is based on how many miles over the speed limit the motorist was going and other states ruling that a single point value applies for speeding of all kinds. In Kentucky, for example, speeding between 16 and 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit is worth six points.
DWI points are also assessed in most states with a point system when a driver is caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that exceeds the state limit. The state of Michigan adds six DUI points to a driver's record for such offenses. Also, most states invoke a law for license suspension or revocation if too many points are accumulated within a certain amount of time. Careless driving points in Maryland that number 12 or more, for example, will result in a revoked drivers license.
Furthermore, car accident points are assessed in some states depending on the circumstances of the crash. For instance, Maine adds six demerit points to a driving record when a motorist leaves the scene of an accident that involved property damage.
Penalties in the U.S.
Penalty points may remain on a motorist's driving record for a specified period of time, depending on the specific state's laws. In Missouri, demerit points remain on record for 18 months after the conviction date. Additionally, a traffic ticket penalty on a driving record may not only accrue points but also include monetary repercussions for the violation. Every state's regulations vary regarding how much each moving violation fine costs.
Reckless driving penalties often include severe consequences because of the endangerment that the offense poses to the public. According to Montana state law, the penalty for reckless driving can consist of five demerit points on a driving record, up to 90 days of imprisonment and a fine of up to $300 for a first offense.
DWI penalties are just as serious and can result from simply refusing to submit to an alcohol test. State DUI penalties often include demerit points, high fines and a permanent mark on a motorist's driving record for having been arrested for intoxicated driving.
How to Fix a Driving Record
The best way to remove points from driving records if you reside in a state that employs a DMV point system is to attend an online traffic school. New Hampshire drivers can take a defensive driving course to remove three points from their record. Some DMV point systems, such as that of the District of Columbia, offer safe driving points to offset the accumulation of demerit points that can lead to a compromised driving record. Furthermore, in states that do not feature point systems, online traffic school courses can still be taken to dismiss traffic tickets and violations from records. Simply check with your local court to verify that it accepts online traffic school courses for point reduction or ticket dismissal.
Regarding how to clear your driving record of false or incorrect demerit points, submit a claim to your local motor vehicle department office to fix the errors. Learning how to remove violations from driving records, especially if they were placed on a record in error, is crucial for avoiding the penalties of such infractions.
Disputing a Moving Violation Charge
Fighting a speeding ticket or other traffic citation may require hiring a traffic lawyer, depending on the violation on record. To fight a traffic ticket in most states requires attending a court hearing date. In North Carolina, to contest traffic ticket charges, a motorist must not pay the ticket before the court appearance as that is considered an admission of guilt.