Virginia has a Uniform Demerit Point System for individuals who violate traffic laws. The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles assigns point values to drivers who are convicted of violating traffic laws. The Uniform Demerit Point System standard for rating convictions of traffic offenses is based on the severity of the offense and the potential hazardous exposure to other users of the highways and streets. Each conviction can result in up to six demerit points, and the points stay on the individual’s driving record for 2 years from the date that they commit the infraction. If the individual has too many points on their record, the individual may lose some or all of their driving privileges.
Serious traffic offenses, drunk or intoxicated driving, reckless driving, speeding twenty or more miles per hour above the speed limit, street racing, passing or attempting to pass a stopped school bus, and operating a vehicle with a suspended license are assigned six demerit points.
Relatively serious traffic offenses such as failure to yield the right-of-way, speeding between ten and nineteen miles per hour above the posted speed limit, following too closely, failing to stop when entering a highway, failing to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles, other vehicles or pedestrians, and aggressive driving are assigned four demerit points.
Less serious traffic offenses such as improper driving, speeding between one and nine miles per hour above the posted speed limit, attempting an improper U-turn, improper passing, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, and turning left on a red signal are assigned three demerit points.
Although drivers and adults who violate the child safety seat/seat belt laws can be fined, they will not be assigned demerit points or court costs.
A person who is convicted of committing two or more traffic offenses on a single occasion will be assessed points for the single offense having the greater point value.
Automatic Suspensions and Revocation
Some driving infractions are so serious that the individual might automatically have their driver’s license suspended or revoked. Examples include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI)
- Hit and Run – fleeing the scene of an accident involving a fatality
- Causing a motor vehicle collision that results in a fatality
- Some drug offenses
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Driving on a suspended license or without a valid driver’s license
A driver’s licensing privileges can be suspended if they accumulate too many demerit points on their license within a given period of time.
An adult driver’s license could be suspended if they collect 12 points within 12 months, or 18 points within 24 months. In these cases, the adult driver must attend a driver improvement clinic within 90 days to avoid a suspension.
An adult driver’s license might be automatically suspended if they accumulate 18 points within 12 months, or 24 points within 24 months. In these cases, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, and the individual will be required to complete a driver improvement clinic before their license can be reinstated.
Drivers Ages 18 to 19
An 18 or 19-year old driver who receives any demerit points will be required to attend a driver improvement clinic. Failure to attend the clinic could result in a suspension or other penalty.
Drivers Under 18
A driver under 18 years of age is required to complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days in order to prevent their license from being suspended if they are guilty of any demerit point violation regardless of type or point tally, commit a safety belt infraction (fail to use a seat belt as a driver or front seat passenger), or are convicted of a child safety restraint violation (fail to transport child passengers in a proper car seat).
If a driver who is under 18 years of age receives two convictions for any point violation, the Virginia DMV will automatically suspend their license for 90 days. If the young driver receives three convictions for any point violation, the DMV will suspend their license for one year, or until they turn 18.
Safe Points for Good Drivers
Virginia DMV awards safe driving points for good driving. The DMV awards one safe driving point each year to individuals who hold a valid Virginia driver’s license and drive without any violations or suspensions. A driver may accumulate a maximum of five safe driving points. Safe driving points are awarded in early April of each year for the previous calendar year.
Drivers may also earn five safe driving points by completing a driver improvement clinic, at the discretion of the court.
Virginia DMV makes it easy for individuals to check the number of points on their license. Simply log into the Virginia DMV website at https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/drivers/#points_you.asp and follow the on-screen prompts.