Demerit Points in Virginia Reckless Driving Cases

In Virginia, demerit points are part of a system where points are issued to your license for traffic violations and used to penalize traffic offenders. You can either have points added or subtracted for different behaviors, with positive points being a good thing and negative points resulting in penalties, such as a suspended driver’s license, if too many are accumulated.  If you are licensed to drive in Virginia, then you’re subject to this point system.

Below, a Virginia reckless driving lawyer discusses more this system, what it means for drivers accused of reckless driving, and why it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to minimize the harm of your charge.

Point System

The DMV is in charge of determining which points go with which offense. Each infraction has a certain amount of points that corresponds with it. Different infractions carry different denominations of demerit points, with either three, four, or six demerit points being added to your driving record. There is a list available online or through the DMV that lists out specifically what offenses will result in how many points.

Length Demerit Points Last

Demerit points last two years on your record, but depending on the conviction, the various convictions can remain on your driving record for much longer. While most minor traffic offenses don’t immediately threaten your driving privileges, each violation adds three, four or six points to your driving record.

The most common are the 3-point violations which are also the least of the traffic offenses. These include improper passing, driving on the sidewalk, running a red light, and failing to use your lights. These convictions will remain on your record for three years. Speeding 1 to 9 miles above the posted speed limit and impeding traffic are also three-point violations, but these offenses remain on your record for five years.

Four-point violation includes speeding 10 to 19 miles above the posted speed limit, failing to yield right of way, unsafe passing, and following too closely. Most of these convictions stay on your driving record for three years. Speeding and aggressive driving will remain on your record for five years.

Six-point violations are the most serious of the traffic offenses. These include DUIs, manslaughter, refusing a breath test, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving. These convictions stay on your record for eleven years. The difference is that the length of time that the conviction remains on your record changes, but the points are for two years for all violations.

Impact On Your License

If you receive 18 points within a year or 24 points within two years, this can be grounds for your license to be suspended. Also, as soon as the DMV is informed about any new demerit points from a conviction, your insurance is also notified. More points can cause your insurance rates to go up and it can take years of good behavior to drop them down again.

Virginia also includes points from infractions all over Virginia and often from other states.

Removing Demerit Points From Your License

Points will disappear over time and for every year of good driving behavior you get one positive point. It’s possible also to voluntarily take a driver improvement class for five positive points every two years. There’s no hearing involved, only the passage of time.

Can You Challenge Demerit Points?

You can’t challenge the points themselves, you can only challenge the charges that ultimately lead to the points, by appealing them within 10 calendar days of the conviction, or petitioning to have the case reopened within 60 calendar days.

How a Lawyer Can Help

A lawyer can help you obtain a restricted license if you run the risk of having your license suspended due to having too many demerit points. It’s important to speak with an attorney before the demerit points accumulate so that you can do your best to avoid obtaining these points in the first place by avoiding the conviction, or take steps to get some points back so they do not result in you having to go through your license being suspended or being put on probation.