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How to Reduce Points On Your License (by state)

Almost every state has a points system that assigns points against your driving record when you commit traffic violations, like speeding or running a stop sign. Points can range from four to 200, depending on the severity of the driving infraction. Once your points reach a certain threshold — 10 points within 12 months, for instance — your driver's license may be revoked. Until your driving privileges are restored, you will likely face higher insurance rates.

Read further for details regarding the points system, including common ways you accrue points, what happens if you get too many, and how points can be removed.

How Do Points on Your Driver's License Work?

All but nine states use a points system to track drivers, traffic violations, reckless driving and out-of-state moving violations. Under this system, drivers receive a demerit point that increases based on the severity of the offense. For instance, a speeding ticket violation has fewer points than a DUI. Once a driver has accrued enough points against their driving record, their license can be suspended or revoked.

Beyond getting your driver's license revoked, committing several traffic violations can result in the following consequences:

  • Increased insurance premiums because auto insurers consider you a high-risk driver

  • Vehicle impoundment/confiscation

  • Auto insurance surcharge (an added fee to your premium for a traffic violation)

  • Requirement to file Form SR-22

  • Incarceration and victim restitution for severe moving violations

  • Installation of ignition interlock device that measures breath alcohol concentration (for DUI violations)

This points system helps encourage safer driving to avoid a suspended license or higher insurance premiums.

Violation Points Can Add Up

Moving violations can rack up points on your record. Common traffic violations that result in points include:

  • Running a red light or a stop sign

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Speeding

  • Fleeing the scene of an accident

  • Reckless or careless driving

  • Not following the right of way

  • Causing property damage or injury

  • Improperly passing someone

  • Illegal turns

  • At-fault accident

While each state assesses points differently, generally, the more serious the moving violation, the more points you receive. Too many accidents and points on your record can result in losing your driving privileges. Many states allow for points to be removed if the driver maintains a clean driving record or takes driver's safety courses (more on this later).

Does a Point on Your License Affect Your Insurance?

Points on your license can affect your insurance by increasing your premiums and fees. Insurance companies typically classify repeat traffic offenders as high-risk drivers and generally cost more to insure. Therefore, drivers with several points on their record generally pay higher insurance rates than low-risk and safe drivers.

All but nine states use a points system to track drivers, traffic violations, reckless driving and out-of-state moving violations.

A speeding ticket, for example, may increase your auto insurance premiums by 20%, according to Mercury Insurance. More severe violations — like driving under the influence — can increase your premiums even higher.

Average Cost of Car Insurance

Cost After 20% Increase for Speeding Ticket

Difference in Cost

$1,450.92

$1,741.10

+$290.18

Car Insurance for High Risks Drivers. Compare Quotes Instantly.

Source: SmartFinancial, Mercury Insurance

In many states, points can expire after a specific time (e.g., one to three years), but the violation may remain on your permanent driving record. It can still impact your insurance premiums during the length of your insurance carrier's lookback period, which is generally up to five years.

How To Reduce Points on Your License per State

In most states, points fall off your driving record after enough time has elapsed — typically one to five years. More severe violations, like driving under the influence, can remain on your permanent driving record.

This points system helps encourage safer driving to avoid a suspended license or higher insurance premiums.

Below is a list of each state with points for minor and major violations, how many points are needed for a driver's license suspension, if the state has a point reduction program and if they automatically reduce points.

State

Points for Minor Violations

Points for Major Violations

Points for DL Suspension

Reduction / Auto Reduction

Alabama

2

6

12-14 points in 2 years

No / No, penalties are no longer relevant after 2 years

Alaska

2

10

12 points in 1 year

Yes / 2 points removed for every year without a violation

Arizona

2

8

8 points in 1 year

No / After 1 year

Arkansas

2

8

14 points

No / No

California

1

2

4 points in 1 year / 6 points in 2 years / 8 points in 3 years

No / After 3 years (depending on the violation)

Colorado

4

12

12 points in 1 year/ 18 points in 2 years

No / No

Connecticut

1

5

10 points in 2 years

No / After 2 years

Delaware

2

6

14 points in 2 years

Yes / Halved after 1 year for certain violations

District of Columbia

2

8

10 points in 2 years

Yes / After 2 years

Florida

3

6

12 points in 1 year / 18 points in 18 months / 24 points in 3 years

No / After 3 years

Georgia

1

6

15 points in 2 years

Yes / After 2 years

Hawaii

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Idaho

1

4

12 - 17 points in 1 year / 18 - 23 points in 2 years / 24+ points in 3 years

Yes / After 3 years

Illinois

5

55

3 violations in 1 year

No / After 4–5 years depending on the violation

Indiana

2

8

2 violations in 1 year

Yes / After 2 years

Iowa

2

6

3+ violations in 1 year

No / After 5–12 years depending on the violation

Kansas

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Kentucky

3

6

12 points in 2 years

No / After 2 years

Louisiana

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Maine

2

8

12 points in 1 year

Yes / After 1 year

Maryland

1

12

8 points in 2 years

No / No, penalties are no longer relevant after 2 years

Massachusetts

2

5

3 speeding tickets in 1 year, 3 surchargeable events in 2 years, 7 surchargeable events in 3 years, 3 major violations or 12 major and/or minor violations in 5 years

No / 1 point removed every year after 5 years without a violation

Michigan

2

6

12 points in 2 years

No / After 2 years

Minnesota

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Mississippi

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Missouri

3

12

12 points in 1 year / 18 points in 2 years / 24 points in 3 years

No / After 3 years (depending on the violation)

Montana

2

15

Suspension based on certain violations

No / After 3 years

Nebraska

1

12

12 points in 2 years

No / After 5 years

Nevada

1

8

12 points in 1 year

Yes / After 1 year

New Hampshire

2

6

12 points in 1 year/ 18 points in 2 years/ 24 points in 3 years

Yes / After 3 years

New Jersey

2

8

12 points

Yes / 3 points removed for every year without a violation

New Mexico

2

8

7 points in 1 year

No / After 1 year

New York

2

11

11 points in 18 months

Yes / After 1.5 years (DMV) and 3 years (insurance)

North Carolina

1

5

12 points in 3 years

Yes / After 3 years without a violation

North Dakota

1

24

12 points

Yes / After 5 years depending on the violation

Ohio

2

6

12 points in 2 years

No / No, penalties are no longer relevant after 2 years

Oklahoma

1

4

10 points in 5 years

Yes / 2 points removed for every year without a violation

Oregon

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

Pennsylvania

2

5

6 points for a second time

No / After 1–10 years depending on the violation

Rhode Island

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

South Carolina

2

6

12 points in 1 year

Yes / Halved after 1 year and removed after 2 years

South Dakota

2

10

15 points in 1 year / 22 points in 2 years

No / After 2 years

Tennessee

1

8

12 points in 1 year

No / After 2 years

Texas

2

3

6 points in 3 years

Yes / After 3 years

Utah

35

80

200 points in 3 years

Yes / After 3 years

Vermont

2

8

10 points in 2 years

No / After 2 years

Virginia

3

6

18 points in 1 year / 24 points in 2 years

Yes / After 2 years

Washington

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

West Virginia

2

8

12 points in 2 years

Yes / After 2 years

Wisconsin

2

6

12 points in 1 year

Yes / After 5 years

Wyoming

N/A

N/A

N/A

No license points program / No license points program

How Do I Check How Many Points Are on My License?

You can check how many points are on your license by going to your state's DMV and purchasing a copy of your driving record online, by phone or in person. In some states, you may need to request this in writing formally. Typically, you will need your Social Security number, date of birth and license number to request this report.

Moving violations can rack up points on your record.

If you've recently received one or multiple moving violations, it's good to look at your driving record to know how many points you have on your license. Since some states will suspend your license after accumulating a set number of points, you can avoid severe repercussions by checking.

Tips To Reduce Points on Your License

Clearing your driving record of points is always a good idea, as excessive points can contribute to higher car insurance premiums. Below are some tips for reducing points on your license:

  1. Sign up for a defensive driving class: Completing a program that teaches safe driving behaviors can remove at least one point from your record.

  2. Maintain a clean driving record: If you continue driving without accruing additional points, your driving record will clean itself up with enough patience.

  3. Fight the ticket: Successfully contesting a ticket will prevent the violation (and subsequent points) from being entered on your driving record.

  4. Get the ticket deferred: In some states, you may get certain driving infractions, like a speeding ticket, deferred to a later date. If you drive without any violations up to the deferral date, the ticket will be dismissed with no points assigned against your record.

FAQs

How many points can you get on your license?

Depending on the state, you can get between four to 200 points before your license is suspended. For example, you can get a suspended license in California if you get 4 points in one year. On the other hand, you would need to accrue 200 points in three years to have your license suspended in Utah.

Can a traffic point go away?

Yes, in most states, a traffic point will go away after it expires — typically within five years, depending on the violation. Once your points have expired and enough time has passed, prior points generally won't affect your employment opportunities and insurance rates. However, serious driving violations, like a DUI, will remain on your permanent driving record in some states.

Do traffic points affect employment eligibility?

Traffic points can affect employment eligibility depending on the type of employment you are seeking and how severe the traffic violation is. Any job that is driving-intensive, like a warehouse delivery driver, will look closely at your driving record for patterns of reckless driving.

Protect Yourself

Points on your license can be costly, but they won't count against you forever. The exact timeframe and regulations will vary depending on your state. Whether or not you have points on your license, you should always shop around to see if you can save on your insurance premiums. Just enter your zip code below and fill out a quick questionnaire so SmartFinancial can send you free quotes in your area to help save you money.

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