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Why You Don’t Want Points On Your Florida License

Points on Your Driver’s License Have Consequences

In many aspects of life, collecting points can be a positive. When it comes to your driver’s license, this is not the case.

The Basics of Driver’s License Points

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (the DMV) is responsible for keeping track of point violations. They decide what infractions will result in points and how those points will affect a driver’s privilege to stay on the road.

Points on your license can come from minor traffic violations (such as speeding) or from major incidents, like leaving the scene of an accident or DUI.

Traffic Violations That Result in Points

  • Non-Moving violations – 0 points
  • Moving violations (non-speeding, no accident) – 3 Points
  • Speeding 15 mph or less over the posted speed – 3 Points
  • Littering – 3 Points
  • Violation of child restraint laws – 3 Points
  • Speeding more than 15 mph over the posted speed – 4 Points
  • Passing a stopped school bus – 4 Points
  • Moving violation (non-speeding) resulting in a crash – 4 Points
  • Reckless driving (criminal traffic violation) – 4 Points
  • Unlawful speed resulting in a crash – 6 Points
  • Leaving the scene of a crash with damage greater than $50 – 6 Points

Points collected can result in penalties that are designed to deter drivers from committing future infractions. The most common consequence of points is the suspension of your driver’s license. The length of suspension depends on how many points you’ve collected on your license.

Length of Suspension

  • 12 Points in 12 months suspension of 30 days
  • 18 Points in 18 months suspension of 3 months
  • 24 Points in 36 months suspension of 1 year

Other Infractions That Can Cause Automatic Suspension

Failure to follow certain laws can result in the automatic suspension of your license. These include:

The state considers these infractions severe enough to result in immediate and automatic suspension of driving privileges.

Point System for Teens

For teen drivers, penalties are generally more severe. If a teen with a learner’s permit receives any traffic infraction, they will have their learner’s permit extended for one year or until they turn 18 years old.

Drivers under the age of 18 who hold a regular license are also held to a stricter standard. If they receive 6 points on their license with a one-year period, their Class E license will be downgraded to a restricted license, which is to be used for business purposes only (such as commuting to and from work and school). This restriction lasts for one year or until they reach 18 years of age.

If the teen driver earns any more points while their license is restricted, it will result in a restriction extension of 90 days per point. Teens may also have their license suspended for having a blood-alcohol level of 0.02% or more, for repeated unexcused absences from school, or for convictions related to the possession of tobacco or nicotine.

How Long Do Points Stay on Your License?

Any points you receive will stay on your driving record for three years, beginning from the day you pay the fine and your citation clears the system. If you decided to fight the ticket in court and were found guilty, the three years will start on the day you satisfy all court fines and requirements. More serious infractions could last between 5 to 10 years or longer.

How Points Affect You

One major effect points have on your license is a potentially higher insurance premium. Having points on your license can increase your insurance costs by over 50% for the period that those points remain on your license. That means a usual $400 a month for auto insurance could cost you $600 a month instead.

Most insurance companies won’t raise your rate by 50% for your first violation with points. Generally, your first ticket will increase your premiums by an average of 18%. This may not seem like much, but that 18% increase is for every year the points stay on your record. For an insurance premium of $400 a month, a raise of 18% is an added $864 per year. That’s $2,592 over a three-year period.

Reckless Driving and Your Insurance

When you’re considered a high-risk driver by your insurance carrier, your rates increase because you are more likely to file a claim than someone who doesn’t commit traffic infractions.

If you receive a serious moving violation, like a DUI or DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your car insurance rates can go up even higher. This is because insurance companies consider DUI to be an indicator of an extremely high-risk driver. In some cases, your insurance may be immediately canceled or ineligible for renewal, leaving you with few options other than obtaining an expensive policy from a company who insures high-risk drivers.

Points on Your Driver’s License can Influence Your Car Accident Case

When you seek compensation for damages caused by a car accident injury the insurance will thoroughly evaluate your case which means the points on your license will come up. Points on your driver’s license have the potential to be a serious detriment to any injury claim or lawsuit you may try to file after a car accident. They are proof that you have a history of reckless driving. While the accident that caused your injuries may be the complete fault of another party and you did everything right, insurance companies can use your history of reckless driving to their advantage to try and paint you as potentially at fault. Insurance companies will use any means at their disposal to reduce or even deny your right to compensation for car accident injuries. Any opportunity to paint you as uncredible or reckless will be taken. For example, if the reason you have points on your license is because of an accident caused by speeding and you are seeking compensation for an accident where you were sideswiped by another car but you were speeding then you will likely be facing an uphill battle.

Getting Points Off Your License

For some traffic violations, you may be able to take a state-approved driver improvement course to remove some or all points from your license. By taking one of these classes, you can not only keep points off your record, but you may also be able to hold onto your same insurance rate if the citation was not associated with an accident.

In Florida, you may only attend a driver improvement course to avoid points once every 12 months and no more than five times in a ten-year period. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or have committed a criminal driving violation, you are not eligible for a driver improvement course in Florida.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Dolman Law is a personal injury law firm in the Clearwater-St Pete-Tampa area. We specialize in helping injured victims receive compensation for traumatic injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured by a negligent driver, call us today for a complimentary consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

800 North Belcher Road

Clearwater, FL 33765

(727) 451-6900