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The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle Points System for Traffic Convictions

When you are convicted of a traffic violation, the court notifies the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV assigns demerit points for the offense of conviction. Many people show up at court and indicate to the judge that they are willing to pay a fine but do not want the points on their license, only to be informed by the judge that the judge has no ability to suspend the points given to the offense of conviction. Virginia has three categories of point offenses: 3, 4 and 6 point offenses.

There are no 1, 2 or 5 point traffic offenses. For example, speeding 0 to 9 mph above the speed limit is a 3-point offense, speeding 10 to 19 mph above the speed limit is a 4 point offense and speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit is a 6 point offense. A conviction of reckless driving is also a 6 point offense.

How many Demerit Points do you get on your record for specific offenses?

Here is a list of some of the more common violations.

You are assigned six demerit points

Reckless Driving/Speeding

o Reckless driving - speeding in excess of 80 mph (11 years)

o Reckless driving - speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (11 years)

o Reckless driving - racing (11 years)

o Reckless driving - passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle (11 years)

o Reckless driving - passing a school bus (11 years)

o Reckless driving - passing on the crest of a hill (11 years)

o Reckless driving - passing at a railroad crossing (11 years)

o Reckless driving - passing two vehicles abreast (11 years)

o Reckless driving - driving two vehicles abreast (11 years)

o Reckless driving - driving too fast for conditions (11 years)

o Reckless driving - failing to give a proper signal (11 years)

o Reckless driving - faulty brakes/improper control (11 years)

o Reckless driving - on parking lots, etc. (11 years)

o Reckless driving - with an obstructed view (11 years)

o Reckless driving - generally (11 years)

o Speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (5 years)

Driving Under the Influence

o Driving while intoxicated (11 years)

o Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (11 years)

o Driving under the influence of drugs (11 years)

o Driving after illegally consuming alcohol (persons under age 21) (3 years)

o Driving while intoxicated - maiming (11 years)

o Involuntary manslaughter/alcohol (11 years)

o

Refusing blood/breath test (11 years)

o Driving while your license is revoked for driving while intoxicated (11 years)

o Driving while your license is revoked for driving while intoxicated - maiming (11 years)

o Driving while your license is revoked for driving while intoxicated - involuntary manslaughter (11 years)

Manslaughter

o Manslaughter (11 years)

o Involuntary manslaughter (11 years)

o Involuntary manslaughter/aggravated (11 years)

Habitual Offenders

o Driving after being declared a habitual offender (11 years)

o Authorizing person suspended for habitual offender and/or driving while intoxicated to drive (3 years)

Licenses/Permits

o Driving on suspended license (11 years)

o Driving while your license is suspended or revoked (11 years)

o Driving while your license is suspended or revoked for non-payment of court fines and costs (11 years)

o Driving under suspension or revocation before giving proof of financial responsibility (11 years)

Commercial Motor Vehicles

• Driving commercial motor vehicle while disqualified (*)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle with blood alcohol .04 or more (*)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle with blood alcohol .08 or more (*)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle under influence of drugs (*)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle under influence of drugs/alcohol (*)

• Refusing blood/breath test while operating commercial motor vehicle (*)

• Violating out of service order (11 years)

Other Violations

o Failure to stop at the scene of a crash - injury (11 years)

o Failure to stop at the scene of a crash - death (11 years)

o Failure to stop at the scene of a crash, property damage of $1000 or more (11 years)

o Emergency vehicle violation - death (11 years)

o Vehicular assault or willful stopping, impeding or damaging vehicle (11 years)

o Blocking access to service facility (11 years)

o Attempting to elude police

o felony offense (11 years)

o misdemeanor offense (3 years)

o Passing stopped school bus (non-reckless) (3 years)

o Operating unsafe vehicle (3 years)

You are assigned FOUR DEMERIT POINTS

• Reckless driving - failure to stop before entering a highway (11 years)

• Speeding (5 years)

• Speeding 10-14 mph above the posted speed limit (5 years)

• Speeding 15-19 mph above the posted speed limit (5 years)

• Speeding 10-19 mph above the posted speed limit (5 years)

Passing

• Passing when unsafe (3 years)

• Passing to the left of approaching vehicle (3 years)

Stopping/Yielding

• Failure to drive to the right and stop for police/fire/emergency vehicle (3 years)

• Failure to stop for pedestrian with white cane (3 years)

• Failure to stop and yield right-of-way (3 years)

• Failure to yield right-of-way (3 years)

• Failure to yield when turning left (3 years)

• Failure to yield to funeral procession (3 years)

Keeping to the Right

• Failure to drive on right half of highway or street (3 years)

• Failure to keep to the right when crossing an intersection (3 years)

• Driving to the left of rotary traffic island (3 years)

Following/Signaling

• Following too closely (3 years)

• Failure to signal before moving from curb (3 years)

• Improper signal (3 years)

Railroad Crossings

• Failure to obey railroad crossing signal (3 years)

• Failure to stop at railroad grade crossing (3 years)

• Failure to keep to the right at a railroad crossing (3 years)

• Failure to stop passenger-carrying vehicle at railroad grade crossing (3 years)

• Railroad crossing/stopping (3 years)

• Improper operation of crawler-type tractor over railroad crossing (3 years)

Railroad Crossings (Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers)

• Failure to slow down/stop at a railroad crossing (*)

• Failure to have sufficient space to drive through a railroad crossing (*)

• Failure to obey traffic control device or enforcement official at a railroad crossing (*)

• Failure to have sufficient undercarriage clearance at a railroad crossing (*)

Other Violations

• Failure to stop at the scene of a crash, unattended property, damage in excess of $500 (11 years)

• Failure to stop at the scene of a crash, property damage (3 years)

• Emergency vehicle violation - property damage (5 years)

• Emergency vehicle violation - injury (5 years)

• Aggressive driving (5 years)

• Failure to obey traffic signal (3 years)

• Failure to obey lane directional signal (3 years)

• Failure to obey highway lane markings (3 years)

• Improper backing, stopping or turning (3 years)

• Driving the wrong way on one-way highway or street (3 years)

• Impeding/disrupting funeral procession (3 years)

• Disregarding police officer's signal to stop (3 years)

• Disregarding crossing guard/officer's signal (3 years)

You are assigned three demerit points

Speeding

• Speeding 1-9 mph above the posted speed limit (5 years)

• Impeding traffic, slow speed (5 years)

Passing/Driving

• Improper passing (3 years)

• Improper passing on the right (3 years)

• Improper driving (3 years)

• Improper stopping on highway (3 years)

• Changing course after signaling (3 years)

• Coasting with gears in neutral (3 years)

• Failure to give way in favor of overtaking vehicle (3 years)

• Failure to give way when abreast of another car (3 years)

• Driving through safety zone (3 years)

• Driving over fire hose (3 years)

• Unauthorized use of crossover on controlled highway (3 years)

• Driving/riding on sidewalk (3 years)

Turning/Backing

• Improper turn (3 years)

• Improper U-turn (3 years)

• Violation of right turn on red (3 years)

• Violation of left turn on red (3 years)

Signs/Signals

• Failure to obey highway sign (3 years)

• Evading traffic control device (3 years)

Lights

• Driving without lights/excessive lights (3 years)

• Failure to dim headlights (3 years)

• Parking without proper lights displayed (3 years)

• Inadequate hazard lights (3 years)

Licenses/Permits

• No Virginia license plate (3 years)

• Failure to obtain a driver's license (3 years)

• No driver's license - vehicle/motorcycle (3 years)

• Failure to have license revalidated (3 years)

• Learner's permit violation (3 years)

• Permitting unlicensed person to drive (3 years)

• Driving in violation of restricted license (restrictions related to physical limitation, such as mechanical control device) (3 years)

Commercial Motor Vehicles

• Driving commercial motor vehicle with alcohol in blood (*)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle without license (3 years)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle with more than 1 driver's license (3 years)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle without endorsement (s) (3 years)

• Commercial driver's license/instruction permit violation (3 years)

• Driving commercial motor vehicle in left lane of interstate (3 years)

• Driving in excess of 13 hours in a 24-hour period (3 years)

• Driving public passenger-carrying vehicle under age (3 years)

• Driving bus transporting school children without a safety belt (3 years)

• Driving school bus without license (3 years)

• Driving school bus under age (3 years)

Other Violations

• Failure to stop at the scene of a crash, unattended property (3 years)

• Failure to leave the scene of a crash at the direction of officer (3 years)

• Failure to report a crash, unattended property, less than $250 damage (3 years)

• Following/parking within 500 feet of fire apparatus (3 years)

• Emergency vehicle violation (3 years)

• Drinking while driving (3 years)

• Improper driving/riding motorcycle (3 years)

• Driving with TV screen visible to driver (3 years)

• Driving while using earphones (3 years)

* An asterisk after the violation means it stays on your record permanently.

Your insurance company may also assign points on your insurance record; however, DMV demerit points are not related to insurance company points. Insurance company points are developed by individual companies.

Demerit Points are assigned when you commit a traffic violation. Different violations carry different point assignments, depending on the seriousness of the offense. For example, you will receive three demerit points if you make an improper U-turn. However, you will receive six demerit points if you speed 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit. Demerit points remain valid two years from the date you commit an offense.

Safe Driving Points are assigned for each full calendar year that you hold a valid Virginia driver’s license and drive without any violations or suspensions. In some cases, you may also earn safe driving points by completing a driver improvement clinic. You can accumulate a total of 5 safe driving points and you may use these safe driving points to offset demerit points. Consider the following example. For five years Molly Buttercup followed all the safe driving rules and always obeyed the speed limit. She accumulated a safe driving point each year, for a total of five points. But, one day Molly ran a red light. DMV assigned four demerit points to her driving record. However, since she had earned five safe driving points, she ended up with one safe driving point left on her record.

Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts