Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and “Demerit Points”
Whether you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia or you reside out-of-state, the traffic laws of Virginia apply to you while you operate a vehicle on Virginia’s roads.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the governmental agency in Virginia that oversees the traffic records of its VA citizens and those that operate in Virginia. When someone has violated those laws, DMV often times will assign what’s known as “demerit” points to their record. Higher point violations are deemed to be more egregious than lower point violations. Sometimes there are no points assessed for violating a specific Virginia traffic law.
“How Long Do Demerit Points Stay on Your Record?”
The length of time that a traffic conviction stays on your record depends on the severity of the violation. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) or permit or you receive an order or notice of revocation, suspension, disqualification or cancellation, your convictions could stay on your record for a longer period of time than stated below.
DMV demerit points remain on your record for two (2) years from the date that you commit the offense ¹. The dates that demerit points are removed from your driving record are not related to the dates that convictions are removed from your record.
How Points Get Recorded and How It Affects You
When you are convicted of a traffic violation, the clerk’s office at the courthouse notifies DMV soon after the conviction. In turn, DMV does the following:
- Posts the conviction to your driving record,
- Assigns demerit points to you according to the severity of the conviction,
- Issues an order of suspension or an order requiring the successful completion of a driver improvement clinic (if applicable), and
- Notifies your insurance company upon request.
Once they receive that information, your insurance company could inform you that they have elected to increase your insurance premiums. For example, when clients who otherwise have a perfect driving record are convicted of a simple speeding violation, some studies show that the average policyholder could see premium increases of as much as 22%.
When you look at how much your insurance bill could go up each month and how long it takes to get back to the rate you originally paid (which could sometimes be many years), it makes sense to consult with a lawyer before making a quick decision about your ticket. Call Matt Mikula today at (804) 743-0900 for a free consultation.
“I’ll Just Pre-Pay My Ticket.”
One thing I hear most often from friends and potential clients that get a speeding ticket is that they will “just pre-pay it.” Pre-paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt and you can be assessed fines, costs and/or subsequent demerit points with DMV and/or your insurance company. It is certainly more convenient to pre-pay a ticket without having to take time off work to go to work; however, the long-term effect a traffic conviction can have on your record is expensive and it is almost always worth hiring a lawyer to appear in court for/with you to try and save you your hard-earned money.
Typical Traffic Violations
Examples of Three (3) Point Violations (note: parentheses indicate how long the conviction stays on your record)
- Speeding 1-9 mph above posted speed limit (5 yrs.)
- Improper Driving (3 yrs.) 46.2-869
- Driving a moped on an interstate highway (3 yrs.) 46.2-914
- Improper u-turn (3 yrs.) 46.2-845
- Driving without lights/excessive lights (3 yrs.) 46.2-912
- No driver’s license – vehicle/motorcycle (3 yrs.) 46.2-300
- Driving commercial motor vehicle without license (3 yrs.) 46.2-341.7
- Driving commercial motor vehicle without license in possession (3 yrs.) 46.2-341.7
- Using wireless device while operating school bus (3 yrs.) 46.2-919.1
- Failure to stop at the scene of a crash, unattended vehicle (3 yrs.) 46.2-896
Examples of Four (4) Point Violations
- Speeding 10-14 mph above posted speed limit (5 yrs.)
- Speeding 15-19 mph above posted speed limit (5 yrs.)
- Speeding 10-19 mph above posted speed limit (5 yrs.)
- Failure to stop and yield the right-of-way (3 yrs.) 46.2-829
- Following too closely (3 yrs.) – 46.2-816
Examples of Six (6) Point Violations
- Reckless Driving – speeding in excess of 80 mph (11 yrs.) 46.2-862
- Reckless Driving – speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (11 yrs.) 46.2-862
- Reckless Driving – driving too fast for conditions (11 yrs.) 46.2-861
- Reckless Driving – faulty brakes/improper control (11 yrs.) 46.2-853
- Reckless Driving – generally (11 yrs.) 46.2-852
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) (11 yrs.) 18.2-266
- Refusing blood/breath test (11 yrs.) 18.2-268.3
- Operating a motor vehicle without ignition interlock (11 yrs.) 18.2-270.1
- Driving on a suspended license (11 yrs.) 46.2-301
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle with blood alcohol .04 percent or more (11 yrs.) 46.2-341.24
How can a speeding ticket affect me? What should I do if I receive a ticket? If you currently are finding yourself in this situation, call Matt Mikula today at (804) 743-0900.