How Long Do Points Stay On Your License And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 4th, 2022

Exact age range: 3 to 11 years

Points are added to your permanent driving record if you are convicted or have your bail forfeited for a moving traffic infraction. It is a way of identifying and dealing with high-risk drivers.

white and blue police car on road

If you get 8 or more points in any 12 months, your license may be suspended for up to 12 months. Issuing fines to reckless drivers helps to reduce unsafe driving on the roads and highways.

How Do Points on a Driver’s License Work?

Most states’ motor vehicle bureaus will assess your driving record by awarding points for each item of bad information. The amount of points allocated for each violation is determined by the severity of the transgression in all states that employ point systems.

Non-moving offenses, such as parking penalties, do not accrue points. However, they are assigned seatbelt tickets in New York and using your smartphone while driving is now classified as a moving offense in other states.

If you earn too many points in a short period, you may suffer the following consequences:

  • Probation or suspension of a driver’s license
  • Higher insurance prices as a result of less leniency in traffic court
  • Being labeled as “high-risk” to insure

Suspensions are based on the severity of offenses and the number of violations on a driver’s record in the nine states that do not utilize points.

Points are only valid on your license for a limited time in most states. They can no longer be used to suspend your license after they have expired. However, the violation itself may remain on your driving record for a longer amount of time, and it will continue to affect your insurance costs for the duration of your insurer’s lookback period, which is often 3-5 years.

What are the different sorts of driving crimes that might result in a motorist receiving points?

Driving violations are not always penalized with points in every state. In California, the following traffic violations will result in license points:

  • Failure to heed a police officer’s directives
  • Speeding
  • Driving while without wearing a seat belt
  • Changing lanes without waiting for a signal

Maintaining track of your points and discovering what traffic infractions or crimes might result in your driving privileges being suspended in your state is important. To drive safely, you should be familiar with the traffic rules of the state where you reside.

Certain states will send a letter if a driver’s license is about to be suspended. This allows drivers to enroll in a defensive driving program or suspend driving for some time until some points are removed from their licenses.

How Long Do Points Remain on Your Driver’s License?

ViolationsNumber of points
Speeding3-6 points
Disqualified from driving or attempting to drive6 points
While disqualified, causing death or serious harm.3-11 points

Although most points are only active for the first three years, they stay on your driver’s license for four years from the date of violation if you commit a more severe offense, such as causing death by dangerous driving or driving while drunk, the points will remain on your license for 11 years.

Employers and insurance providers may find out whether you were accepted for a four-year offense during the first five years of the 11-year crime.

This, however, will differ depending on the traffic law you violated. For example, if you are guilty of careless or hazardous driving, your points are valid for three years and must be retained on your license for a total of four years. A mandatory driver’s license suspension also accompanies these point codes.

If you are convicted of drunk or drugged driving and cause death due to negligent driving, these scores will be kept on your driver’s license for 11 years from the date of conviction.

Here are some instances of point-based violations:

  • Driving or trying to drive is prohibited.
  • Driving an automobile while not in possession of a valid driver’s license.
  • Speeding Careless driving is defined as driving without regard or consideration.
  • It is prohibited to drive when drunk or under the influence of narcotics.
  • Failure to come to a halt after an accident or to report an accident.
  • Using an insufficient or defective vehicle.
  • inflicting death or serious harm when ineligible

The State-by-State Analysis

Each state has its own set of laws regulating how long points stay on your driving record. Furthermore, several states, like Washington, refuse to implement the point system.

If you live in one of these states, contact your local DMV to learn more about the penalties for traffic violations (in addition to the usual fines and tickets).

The following is a list of state license point regulations taken from the DMV’s website:

  • Alabama: 2 years
  • Alaska: 2 points are reduced for every year of violation-free driving
  • Arizona: 3 years
  • Arkansas: 3 years
  • California: 3 years
  • Colorado: 2 years
  • Connecticut: 2 years
  • Delaware: 2 years
  • Florida: 3 years
  • Georgia: 2 years
  • Hawaii: None – There is no point system in this State
  • Idaho: 3 years
  • Illinois: None (no point system)
  • Indiana: 2 years
  • Iowa: None
  • Kansas: None
  • Kentucky: 2 years
  • Louisiana: None
  • Maine: 1 year
  • Maryland: 3 years
  • Massachusetts: 6 years
  • Michigan: 2 Years
  • Minnesota: None
  • Mississippi: None
  • Missouri: 18  months
  • Montana: 3 years
  • Nebraska: 2 years
  • Nevada: 1 year
  • New Hampshire: 3 years
  • New Jersey: 3 points deducted for every year of driving violation free
  • New Mexico: 1 year
  • New York: 18 months
  • North Carolina: 3 years
  • North Dakota: 3 years; however, one point is deducted for every three months of violation-free driving.
  • Ohio: 3 years.
  • Oklahoma: Points are reduced to zero if you drive three-consecutive years without another violation.
  • Oregon: None
  • Pennsylvania: 3 points are removed for every 12 months of violation-free driving
  • Rhode Island: None
  • South Carolina: 2 years
  • South Dakota: Generally, points begin falling off after 12 months
  • Tennessee: 2 years
  • Texas: 2 years
  • Utah: 2 years, provided you maintain a spotless driving record in the meantime
  • Vermont: 2 years
  • Virginia: 2 years
  • Washington: None
  • Washington, D.C.: 2 years
  • West Virginia: 2 years
  • Wisconsin: 5 years
  • Wyoming: None

However, remember that this list examines how long points remain on your record and driver’s license. Other offenses, such as speeding or overtaking a stopped school bus, may stay on your record for much longer. These punishments will differ from one state to the next.

Why do points stay on your license for so long?

The points are kept on your license for 4 to 11 years and are never used for anything other than accumulating. The purpose of the point system is to keep drivers safe on the road.

If a motorist collects too many violations on their driving record in less than two years, their license will be revoked, and they will be required to attend a driving school to regain their driving rights.

The motorist may, however, finish the remedial driving course before the conclusion of the two years to have two points erased. To be eligible, drivers must have less than 12 points on their driving record.

Your driver’s license will be revoked or suspended for four years if it is revoked or suspended. Furthermore, the safety driving courses do not neglect any serious crimes.

Violations for which no point system exists:

  • Violation of the bicycle law
  • Violation of the pedestrian code
  • Parking infraction
  • Driving while unregistered, unlicensed, or uninsured is a serious offense.
  • Weight or emission violations

To prevent deductions, here are some tips for novice drivers on the road for the first time:

  • To call attention to oneself, use ‘P’ plates. Having these displayed on your vehicle will notify other drivers that you are a new driver and that they should continue with care.
  • Refrain from instantly offering transportation to your friends. They may be distracting, so take your time acclimating to driving without an instructor.
  • Pay no attention to your phone. Place it out of sight, preferably muted, since this is yet another huge source of distraction for drivers that may lead to fatal accidents.

How can I locate the driving point system in my state?

The DMV is the best place to go if you want to learn more about your state’s driving point system. If you cannot attend in person, you may contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or visit their website.

You’ll discover the maximum amount of points that may be earned before the DMV intervenes. A warrant for your arrest may be issued as a result of this.

If you want to see how many points you presently have on your license, you must go to the DMV. Depending on where you reside, requesting a driving abstract may take a few days. You may also request that your insurance agent evaluate your most recent driving record.

Is it Possible to Get Rid of My Points? How? When will this happen?

There are strategies to alleviate the impact of points on your insurance premium rates if you’re feeling the pinch.

Many states enable drivers to attend defensive driving courses to remove offenses from their records before they are recorded (with a few exceptions, like DUIs or other major offenses). In certain areas, drivers may also earn “safe driving points” to offset their poor driving habits.

Check with your insurance or the DMV in your state to determine whether regulations apply in your state; nevertheless, in MOST states, you can:

  • Completing a traffic safety course — Many states provide drivers with this option, which entails taking a state-approved course. If you submit a course completion record from a non-approved institution, the DMV will not erase points from your record, so double-check that your chosen course is state-approved.
  • Maintain a spotless driving record for a certain period — States that provide the opportunity to clean up your record often demand violation-free driving for a set (often lengthy) period. In Massachusetts, for example, people with no more than three moving infractions in the previous five years might have one point deducted from each ticket for every three years of safe driving.


Many traffic crimes, such as speeding, running red lights, and other driving offenses, add points to your record, which will remain on your record for a longer period.

Points on your driver’s license may raise your insurance rates and, in the worst-case scenario, result in your license being suspended. The points are not listed on the tickets; you must verify them online.

Driver’s license points may follow you from state to state and might even cost you your job. Consequently, understanding the point system and adhering to traffic penalties is crucial.


Editorial Staff

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