Virginia is a strict state for traffic offenses. It assigns points on a sliding scale based on the severity of the violation. A new driver in Virginia starts off with zero points. Each year that they do not get a traffic conviction they are given one (1) good driving point. The highest point balance that a driver may achieve is plus five points (+5). Drivers should strive for this type of record because it helps with insurance costs. If the person is ever charged with a traffic offense, a clean record also helps achieve a good result in court.
In addition, every two years a Virginia licensed driver may complete a driver improvement course. This gives the driver an extra five (5) points on their DMV point balance. This may be done online or in person at a DMV approved course center. The cost for a course may range from $30 to $75, depending on the type of course taken. Ask Attorney Yeargan for help with finding a suitable driver improvement course for your particular traffic case! If the case is in a county that has a deferral program for dismissal with a course, it is advisable to sometimes wait to complete the course until after the initial court date.
It is important to keep your record clean because DMV points in Virginia can quickly accumulate and result in an administrative suspension. The courts in Virginia do not assess points. This is the responsibility of the DMV. A Virginia driver who is assessed 12 points in a twelve month period or 24 points in an 18 month period is placed on a six month probation with the Division of Motor Vehicles. If the driver gets a demerit conviction during probation, the DMV will suspend the person's privilege to drive for 90 days for a six point demerit conviction, 60 days for a four point demerit conviction, or 45 days for a three point conviction. However, it is possible to request a restricted license from the DMV when this type of suspension is imposed.
Points in Virginia fall of a Virginia driving record two years from the date of conviction. The actual conviction itself falls off in a different time period depending on the seriousness of the offense. For instance, Speeding offenses fall off the driving record after five (5) years and Improper Driving offenses fall off the driving record after three (3) years.
Following is a short summary of common types of offenses in Virginia, the points assigned, and the time it takes to fall off the driving record:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (6 points, 11 years to fall off record)
- Felony Eluding the Police (6 points, 11 years to fall off the record)
- Misdemeanor Eluding Police (3 points, 3 years to fall off the record)
- Refusing Blood/Breath Test (6 points, 11 years to fall off driving record)
- Reckless Driving (6 points, 11 years to fall off record)
- Hit and Run (6 points, 11 years to fall off driving record)
- Driving on Suspended or Revoked License (6 points, 11 years to fall off driving record)
- Speeding 20 miles per Hour or More Over the Limit (6 points, 5 years to fall off driving record)
- Speeding 10-19 mph Over the Limit (4 points, 5 years to fall off driving record)
- Speeding 1-9 mph Over the Limit (3 points, 5 years to fall off driving record)
- Failure to Yield Right of Way (4 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Following Too Closely (4 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signal (4 points, 3 years)
- Passing Stopped School Bus (non-Reckless) (4 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Improper U-Turn (3 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Failure to Obey a Highway Sign (3 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Driving Without a License (3 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Permitting Unlicensed Person to Drive (3 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
- Holding Phone While Driving (3 points, 3 years to fall off driving record)
The full text of driver points assigned by the Virginia DMV may be accessed at the following link.
The handy DMV pamphlet Moving Violations and Point Assessments may be found online here.
Out of state drivers who are given a Virginia ticket are not assigned points based on the Virginia system. Any conviction is directly reported to the state where they are licensed under the Interstate Compact signed by most states. The home licensing state will assign points based entirely on their point system. It is imperative that out of state drivers contact their local DMV to get advice about how points will be assigned under that specific system! Some states, like North Carolina, may administratively suspend your driver's license if they receive notice of a Speeding or other conviction in another state.
Please be advised that some convictions do not carry demerit points in Virginia. Defective Equipment, for example, is a non-moving violation and does not carry any points. It does, however, go on the driving record. Some counties and local jurisdictions, such as Fairfax, have county code violations that carry no points and do not even go on the driving record. Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention is such a county code violation. For this reason, experienced attorneys often try to get traffic tickets reduced to this level of offense.
Attorney Yeargan has achieved outstanding results for thousands of people in the traffic court system. Please contact him today for information about your specific case. He will give you free advice and strategy on how to handle your ticket and avoid those points!