Upon receiving a speeding ticket in Virginia, most drivers want to know how many points will be placed on their driving record. Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System can be a bit confusing. It is important for both in-state and out-of-state drivers to understand Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System.
All Virginia-licensed drivers and residents are subject to Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System. The Commonwealth’s demerit point system does not apply to out of state drivers. For example, a person, licensed in North Carolina, convicted of reckless driving eighty-eight (88) miles per hour in a sixty-five (65) mile-per-hour zone in Henrico County General District Court would be subject to North Carolina’s demerit point system, not Virginia’s. As a result, it is important for out-of-state drivers to contact their state’s department of motor vehicles to determine the applicable demerit points associated with their specific charge.
All Virginia drivers start with zero points on their driving records. Virginia licensed drivers receive one positive (+1) point for every year of good driving. In-state drivers may receive positive five (+5) points by voluntarily completing a defensive driving school. However, this can only be done once every two years. Five points are the maximum positive points permitted by law in the state. As a result, the best driver point balance in Virginia is +5 points.
There are three categories of negative point violations: three demerit point violations, four demerit point violations, and six demerit point violations. Examples of six demerit point violations are DUI, reckless driving by speed, speeding in excess of eighty miles per hour, speeding in excess of twenty miles per hour, and driving on a suspended license. For instance, a Virginia licensed driver or resident convicted of DUI would receive six negative points on their driving record. If a person is convicted of more than one demerit point violation with the same offense date, then that person is assessed demerit points for the highest demerit point violation. For example, a person convicted of DUI and speeding seventy-nine miles per hour in a seventy mile per hour zone in Chesterfield County General District Court would be assessed six negative demerit points for the DUI conviction. No demerit points would be assessed for the speeding conviction.
There is no limit to the number of negative points a person may accumulate. A person who accumulates negative twelve demerit points in a twelve consecutive month period or negative twenty-four demerit points in an eighteen consecutive month period will be placed on probation. This probationary period lasts for six months. Any person convicted of a demerit point violation during the probationary period will have their license suspended for ninety days (six demerit point violations), sixty days (four demerit point violations), or forty-five days (three demerit point violations). For example, a person convicted of reckless driving by speed, who is on probation, will have their driver’s license suspended for ninety days because reckless driving by speed is a six demerit point violation. However, people suspended while on probation may be eligible to petition the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles for a restricted driver’s license.
A person who successfully makes it through the probationary period with no demerit point violations will, then, be placed on an eighteen month control period. A person who receives a demerit point violation during the control period will be placed back on a six month probationary period. Additionally, a person who violates probation will have their probation extended for an additional six months.
The best advice is to try to avoid being placed on probation. You should take even minor traffic infractions seriously because demerit points tend to sneak up on people. For example, a person with zero points who pays off three speeding tickets they received within the same year may be placed on probation. Experienced traffic attorneys, like the lawyers at Weiland Upton, know how to advise their clients to avoid the accumulation of demerit points from reckless driving and speeding tickets in Virginia.