The Point System
Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has a system in place to keep track of all driving offenses of licensed driver’s within that state. A traffic offense is assigned a predetermined point value, with more serious offenses receiving more points and a less serious or minor offense receiving minimal points. The number of points given for moving violations varies. A speeding ticket may incur a penalty of two points, while driving with a suspended license could result in an assessment of twelve points.
Once a driver is actually convicted of an offense, the court is required to send a record to the state’s department of motor vehicles where a set number of points is assigned to his or her driving record. When the driver’s total points exceeds a certain level, the driver may face additional penalties, be required to attend safety classes or driver training, be subject to re-examination, or lose his/her driving privileges by license suspension of revocation. Insurance companies also check the number of points on an individual’s record and may raise his or her rate or choose to cancel or not renew a driver’s policy if there are a large amount of points accumulated and the driver has a bad “score.”
Additional penalties are determined and may vary based on the driver’s experience level, prior driving record, age, educational level attained, and other factors. Typically, you may see a lower penalty for young, inexperienced motorists. If the driver is found to be significantly at fault in a traffic accident, more points may be assessed as determined by the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. A “clean” driver’s record or period of time with no violations or accidents, the passage of time, or additional drivers’ training or traffic safety training may help the points from remaining on a driver’s record for indeterminate amount of time.
DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated) or hit and run accidents may or may not be handled within the point system due to the serious nature of of these offenses, which may carry a mandatory suspension of driving privileges, and may land the driver behind bars.
It is a wise idea to consult with a speeding ticket attorney about points you received for a particular moving violation or how to fight a traffic ticket to avoid points on your record.
Driver License Compact
The Driver License Compact is an agreement among 45 states and the District of Columbia which has been passed into law and allows for the sharing of driver information from state to state. If you are found guilty of a traffic violation in a state other than the one in which you are licensed, the state in which the violation occurred will report it back to the state in which you are licensed. Example: A driver with an Ohio license receives a speeding ticket in Indiana for going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. If the driver pays the fine – and therefore pleads guilty – it is reported back to the State of Ohio that the driver was found guilty of driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. The State of Ohio would then assess points against the driver’s license according to the point system in Ohio. The number of points the violation would carry in Indiana is not relevant.
The only states which are not members of the Driver License Compact are Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee and Massachusetts. However, some states do not assess points for minor offenses and only apply the Compact for major violations. You should consult an attorney in your home state to determine if and how the offense committed in another state will affect your driving record.
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Non-Resident Violator Compact
The Non-Resident Violator Compact is an agreement among 45 states and the District of Columbia which has been passed into law and allows the states to process traffic citations across their borders. If you are cited with a traffic violation in a state other than the one in which you are licensed and you ignore the ticket (never a good idea), the state in which you received the ticket will report it back to the state in which you are licensed. Because of this law, your license can be suspended for failing to pay a traffic ticket from another state and/or you may be unable to renew your license when it expires. If you ignore a ticket you receive in another state, you could end up with a “driving under suspension” charge in your home state.
The only states which are not members of the Non-Resident Violator Compact are Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Montana and Alaska.
The Non-Resident Violator Compact and Driver License Compact are the process of being merged into one database, known as the National Driver Register.
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