Virginia's DMV Point System

Upset woman driver gets negative DMV points for traffic violation If you are licensed in Virginia, you will be subjected to the Virginia point system.  Different states have different systems and Virginia’s is certainly unique.   When you are first licensed, you start off with zero points.  Every year you go without receiving a point-related offense, you will be given one positive point.  However, the maximum number of points you can have is +5.  Every time you incur an offense with points, your balance will be reduced accordingly.  If you are licensed in a different state and incur a violation in Virginia, the offense will transfer to your home state, but the points will not.  Your home state will assess the offense with its own point system, if any.

How Many Points Will I Receive?

One of the first things everyone asks after receiving a ticket is, “how many points will I get for this ticket?”  The general answer is that the majority of all tickets are three, four, or six points.  Oddly, there are no one-, two-, or five-point violations in Virginia.  As you might expect, the more serious the violation, the higher the amount of points associated with the violation.  For example, reckless driving or DUI charges are worth the maximum amount of points, which is six.  Minor violations are generally three points.  For a complete listing of types of violations and their corresponding points, you can check the DMV’s website.

How Many Points is too Many Points?

Clients will often want to know how a certain offense will affect their record.  That is because in some cases, facing even a small driving infraction can have severe consequences depending on the state of your current driving record.  If you receive a certain amount of points in one year, the DMV may take action against you affecting your ability to drive.  While the DMV will send a detailed notice describing what, if any, penalties you have incurred, the general rule is that if you receive twelve points in twelve months, you will receive a letter directing you to take a driver improvement course.  Further, if you receive eighteen points in twelve months, the DMV will send you an official notice of suspension, suspending your ability to drive for a period of time.  

The DMV can also put you on what they call a “control period” or “probation.”  Again, a detailed letter will be mailed to you from the DMV but the general rule is that if you have accumulated too many points too quickly, you may be put into a control period where you will be monitored for additional violations.  If you receive any tickets during the control period you can be put on probation.  If you receive any tickets while on probation, your license will be suspended.  It is important to have a traffic attorney review your record and any letters you receive from the DMV in order to best help you with any pending traffic violations. 

How Can I Improve My Record?

The Virginia DMV offers a variety of driving improvement courses.  If you take one of the DMV’s approved courses, you will receive five positive points.  However, you may only take the course to receive positive points once every two years.  Further, the maximum amount of positive points you can have on your record is +5.  Therefore, if you hypothetically have +1 on your record and take the course, you will receive positive points, but only +4, putting you at a +5. 

How to Fight the Ticket

It is important you contact the attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro to review and handle your traffic ticket to make sure you are getting the best possible outcome and lowest amount of points on your record.  A traffic attorney may be able to reduce the offense, which will reduce the amount of points on your record, or in some cases, have the charge dismissed completely.  This will certainly help you maintain a good driving record and your ability to drive. 

Anastasia T. Kranias
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