Points and Their Effect on Your License

September 5, 2008

The first thing you’ll probably want to know after receiving a ticket is how it will affect your license. The answer depends entirely on what you received the ticket for, and how your driving record looks. Each moving violation has a point value assigned to it. If you’re actually convicted of the moving violation, the points associated with that ticket will stay on your license (or driving record) for 18 months from the date you received the ticket (not the date of conviction). And if you acquire 11 or more points on your license during any 18 month time frame, you’re privilege to drive in New York will be suspended for a specified period of time.
Now, 11 points sounds like a lot, and you may think that you can really drive like a maniac before you lose your license. But that is not true at all. First of all, as I’ll show you below, getting 11 points is a lot easier than might think. Secondly, there are other “penalties” applied as you work your way up to 11 points that you must be aware of. For instance, acquiring 6 points can be just as difficult for some people as losing your license. That’s because at 6 points, the DMV will automatically hit you with the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. As of right now, that fee is $300. And if you get more than 6 points during any 18 month period, you pay an additional $75 for every point above 6.
By way of example, suppose you received a ticket for speeding 16 months ago and pled guilty by mail (which I NEVER recommend, by the way), and let’s say it was a 3 point speed (10 mph 0r less over the limit). Then, last week, you were convicted on another speeding ticket, this time 17 mph over the limit – that’s a 4 pointer. So within the last 18 months you’ve racked up 7 points on your license. Still 4 points shy of an automatic suspension, but you’ll be paying $375 to the DMV. Those payments can be spread out over the course of three years, but it is still a hefty chunk of change that would be better off in your pocket. So your best bet is to keep points off your license, and definitely stay below 6 points. As an aside, ANY points may affect your insurance rates. Every insurance company is different and may have different policies, so I cannot speak to how points will affect your particular insurance. That is a question only your insurance company can answer. But, by asking your insurance company such a question, you pretty much raise a red flag alerting them that you most likely received a ticket. If you can figure a way around that conundrum, please let me know.
As I mentioned above, each moving violation has its own point value. Some will get you to 6 points immediately, and some will get you suspended immediately. Hopefully with the little bit of knowledge below, you can avoid putting yourself in either of those situations.
There are really a ridiculous number of moving violations. I can’t get into all of them here, so I’ll just touch on the most frequent ones. If you get a ticket for something other than what is listed here, I’ll be more than happy to discuss it with you.
Name of Violation Number of Points
Speeding (10 mph over or less)……………..3
Speeding (11 to 20 mph over)……………….4
Speeding (21 to 30 mph over)……………….6
Speeding (31 to 40 mph over)……………….8
Speeding (41 mph or more over)…………..11
Failure to obey traffic control device……..2
Passing a school bus…………………………….5
Use of Mobile Device………………………….5
Unsafe Lane change…………………………….3
Improper Signal………………………………….2
Passed Red Light/stop sign…………………..3
Keep in mind that there are also fines associated with moving violations. The judge is permitted to fine you within a set dollar amount range which varies with each violation and each subsequent violation of the same law. So if you are convicted of a 6 point speed, not only will you have to pay the DMV Assessment of $300, but you’ll also have to pay a potential fine of up to $300 (plus the mandatory state surcharge). Even a simple 2 point ticket can carry a fine of up to $150 plus the surcharge.
So, as you can see, a moving violation is not something to be taken lightly. It can become very costly, in terms of immediate out of pocket expense, the effect it may have on your insurance, and the possibility of resulting in the suspension of your New York driving privileges. Unless you receive a ticket for some zero point violation and you can absorb the out of pocket fines, I always recommend trying to fight the ticket yourself, or better yet, contacting an attorney who can explain your options.
The traffic ticket defense attorneys at Catalano & Carpenter LLP have disposed of hundred and possible thousands of traffic tickets throughout New York State, and often without the client ever having to set foot in court.  If you have been charged with a traffic violation, call us today at (845) 454-1919 for a free phone consultation to discuss how we can help you defend your ticket or minimize the potential impact on your driving record, or visit our website at www.CatalanoCarpenter.com.