TicketSchool > Blog > Virginia > The Virginia Driving Points System Explained
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Understanding the Virginia driving points system is essential for all drivers in the state, especially for anyone who has faced traffic offenses. The system is designed to penalize unsafe driving behaviors while rewarding good driving practices. For individuals convicted of moving violations, it’s important to understand how the system works.

Ticket School offers a solution for those looking to navigate the Virginia driving points system, providing resources and courses approved by the Virginia DMV. These educational tools are designed to help drivers avoid racking up demerit points, reduce their existing points, or even gain safe driving points on their record.

What Is the Virginia Driving Points System?

The Virginia driving points system operates under a straightforward principle: unsafe driving behaviors accumulate demerit points, while safe driving habits earn you positive points. This system, devised by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), aims to encourage safer driving practices and lower the frequency of vehicle accidents.

At the core of this system are demerit points and safe driving points. All motorists in Virginia start with a clean slate—a point balance of zero. For each year a motorist avoids traffic violations, the DMV awards a safe driving point, up to a maximum of +5 points. Conversely, when a motorist is convicted of a moving traffic violation, the DMV assigns a number of demerit points to their record, thereby reducing their safe driving point balance.

Demerit points remain on the driver’s record for two years from the offense date. Too many demerit points can lead to significant consequences, such as warnings, mandatory driving improvement programs, and in severe cases, suspension of driving privileges. Conversely, safe driving points serve as a buffer against minor infractions.

The Virginia driving points system is not just about penalizing drivers but also about educating and encouraging safer driving behaviors to reduce the likelihood of accidents on the road.

Virginia’s Driving Points System

Virginia’s driving points system consists of several key elements that should be explained in greater detail.

Demerit Points

Demerit points in Virginia are added to your driving record following convictions for moving traffic violations. The number of points depends on the severity of the offense, with violations grouped into three main categories: 3-point, 4-point, and 6-point offenses. Each point level corresponds to the seriousness of the violation, with 6-point violations being the most severe. For example, reckless driving, DUI, and driving on a suspended license are considered 6-point violations.

3-point and 4-point violations include less serious offenses like driving 1-9 mph over the speed limit or failing to yield right-of-way, respectively.

Safe Driving Points

Drivers can earn one safe driving point for each full calendar year they drive without any violations or suspensions, up to a maximum of five points. Additionally, completing a driver improvement clinic voluntarily can result in an award of five safe driving points.

Impact on Driving Privileges

If a driver accumulates 12 demerit points within 12 months (or 18 points within 24 months), they are required to go through a DMV-approved driver improvement clinic. Failure to comply or accumulating 18 demerit points within 12 months (or 24 points within 24 months) can lead to a suspension of driving privileges.

This structure not only helps in reducing the frequency of traffic violations but also plays a role in ensuring the overall safety of Virginia’s roadways.

How to Check Your Virginia Driving Point Balance

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The Virginia DMV provides an online platform where drivers can log in to view their driving record, including their current point balance. This online service offers a detailed account of both demerit points accrued from any traffic violations and safe driving points for good road behavior.

To access your driving point balance, visit the official Virginia DMV website and navigate to the Online Services page. In the Driver Services section, you’ll find an option to request your driving record, which will include your point balance. You will need to create an account or log in with an existing one.

How Long Do Demerit Points Stay on Your Record?

Demerit points on a Virginia driver’s record have a specific duration of impact before they are removed, which is typically two years from the date of the offense. However, the actual conviction might stay on your driving record for a longer period, depending on the severity of the violation. For instance, serious offenses such as DUIs or reckless driving can stay on your record for up to 11 years. In some cases, certain convictions can be permanent.

The distinction between the duration of points and convictions is important to grasp. While points may no longer affect your driving privilege after two years, the conviction itself could still influence your insurance rates or be considered in future legal or DMV proceedings.

Moreover, Virginia’s DMV assigns demerit points for traffic convictions incurred both within and outside of the state. This means that even if a violation occurs in another state, it can still affect your Virginia driving record.

How to Regain Your License

Regaining your driving license in Virginia after it has been suspended due to excessive demerit points involves several steps. Initially, the Virginia DMV will inform you of the suspension. To regain driving privileges, you must adhere to the suspension period’s terms and fulfill any specific requirements set forth by the DMV, which may include completing a driver improvement clinic.

These clinics focus on safe driving practices, traffic laws, and the consequences of unsafe driving behaviors. Upon successful completion of a driving school course voluntarily, you may earn up to five safe driving points, which can offset demerit points on your record.

After serving the suspension period and meeting all requirements, you’ll need to apply for license reinstatement with the DMV. This process may involve paying a reinstatement fee, providing proof of insurance (SR-22), and possibly passing a driving test. It’s also important to ensure that all court fines and fees associated with your traffic violations are paid in full.

After getting your license back, you will be on probation for six months. Any demerit points you receive during the probation period will result in another suspension, lasting 45 to 90 days.

How to Accumulate Safe Driving Points

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Collecting safe driving points in Virginia is an effective way to maintain a positive driving record. In the Virginia driving points system, drivers are rewarded for responsible driving practices. Here’s how drivers can accumulate safe driving points:

  • Annual Safe Driving Points: Virginia drivers earn one safe driving point for each full calendar year of driving without any violations or suspensions. These points are automatically awarded.
  • Driver Improvement Clinics: Participating in a driver improvement clinic voluntarily is not only a way to learn proper driving techniques but also an opportunity to earn additional safe driving points. Upon successful completion of a clinic, a driver can be awarded up to five safe driving points. Note: Taking the course for a court after a ticket or when mandated by the DMV typically does not also include the safe driver points benefit.

Drivers don’t need to wait for a court or DMV mandate to attend a driver improvement clinic. By voluntarily participating in these clinics, drivers can enhance their driving skills and earn safe driving points. This approach can help drivers maintain a positive balance of safe driving points.

Note that the total number of safe driving points a driver can accumulate is capped at five. (That is, the best possible point total is +5.)

Contact Ticket School Today is dedicated to helping Virginia drivers manage their driving records effectively. By completing our Virginia Driver Improvement Online Course, you can gain valuable knowledge on safe driving practices, potentially earn safe driving points, and improve your driving record. Our course is designed to be convenient, informative, and accessible. You can complete it at your own pace from anywhere with internet access.

Don’t wait until you’ve received a traffic violation to take action. Visit Ticket School’s Virginia Driver Improvement Course today to get started.