If you’ve been convicted of a traffic violation in Virginia, you may learn that you’ve received a certain number of “points” on your driver’s license. But what do these points mean, and how do they work? As it turns out, it’s crucial to keep track of these points, as accumulating too many in too short a time frame can have significant consequences, including the potential loss of your driving privileges.
The Fairfax traffic violation attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC, can help if you’re facing the loss of your driver’s license. For more than 40 years, we’ve been representing people in Fairfax and throughout Virginia accused of traffic crimes. We can help you navigate Virginia’s points system and determine a legal strategy to help you keep your driver’s license.
Virginia’s Driving Points System
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers may earn two kinds of points, depending on their driving behavior. If you’re convicted of a traffic violation, you will receive a certain number of demerit points, depending on the particular violation.
You can earn safety points by going a full year without any traffic violations, as long as your driver’s license is valid. You’ll earn one point for each year you go without a traffic violation conviction. You can also earn five safety points by completing an approved driver improvement course, though this can only be done once every two years.
Safety points offset the demerit points you may earn from a traffic violation. You can have up to five safety points on your license, even if it’s been more than five years since you’ve been convicted of a traffic violation. If you’re convicted of a traffic violation, whatever demerit points you receive will offset your accumulated safety points.
The number of demerit points assessed on your driver’s license will vary depending on the severity of the traffic violation. Here are a few common driving violations and the number of demerit points you will receive for a conviction:
- 3-point violations:
- Speeding (1-9 mph over the posted speed limit)
- Impeding traffic by moving too slowly
- Improper passing
- Driving or riding on a sidewalk
- Making an improper U-turn
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Driving without proper lights
- 4-point violations:
- Speeding (10-19 mph over the posted speed limit)
- Passing unsafely or to the left of an approaching vehicle
- Failing to stop for pedestrians
- Failing to yield the right-of-way when required
- Failing to yield to or stop for emergency vehicles
- Failing to stop at the scene of a crash involving property damage
- Following too closely
- 6-point violations:
- Speeding (20+ mph over the posted speed limit)
- Racing another vehicle
- Driving while impaired or intoxicated
- Refusing to submit to a roadside breath or blood test when asked by police
- Driving while your license has been suspended or revoked
- Killing or injuring another person with your vehicle
What Happens If You Get Too Many Points?
The Virginia DMV explains that earning too many points in a short period can result in the loss of your driver’s license. Accumulating 18 demerit points in 12 months, or 24 points in 24 months, will result in your driving privileges being suspended for 90 days. You’ll also need to complete a driver improvement course before your driving privileges can be restored.
After your privileges are restored, you’ll be on probation for six months. Additional traffic violations in that time could result in your license being temporarily suspended again or permanently revoked until you meet certain legal requirements.
How Whitestone Young Firm Can Help
Losing your driver’s license is more than an inconvenience, as most people depend on personal transportation to get to work, take care of errands, and do other activities. If you’re accused of a traffic violation that could cost you your license, talk to the Fairfax criminal defense lawyers at Whitestone Young, PC, right away. Here are a few ways we might be able to help:
- Go over the prosecution’s case to see if there are any holes in their argument
- Look at the evidence against you to ensure it was obtained legally
- Speak with the police and prosecutors to see if a plea agreement can be reached that would result in a lesser charge
- Fighting on your behalf in court with a defense strategy tailored specifically to your case
We’re ready to start on your case and help you seek the positive outcome you need. Get your initial consultation by calling (703) 912-0487 or filling out our contact form.