The Pain of Points: A Quick Overview of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Point System

The Department of Motor Vehicles has a long-standing reputation especially for making its visitors stand and wait. They are the guardians of our licenses and driving privileges because remember – being able to drive a vehicle is not a right, it is a privilege granted by the state.

So, when you are convicted of a traffic violation, the DMV will update your driving history and assess additional points on your license. They will also assess whether or not your license has been suspended or revoked. Here’s a quick overview of our NYS DMV’s points system and how it can affect you.

Points! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing!

Think of the DMV point system as the State keeping score on your poor or unlawful driving. Should you be convicted of a violation that carries points, those points will be assessed to your record. Depending upon the number of points you have assessed (and how quickly you’ve assessed them), the DMV may take action against your license or impose financial penalties.

How are points recorded?

The DMV has a listing of points on their website that re applied for the most common traffic violations in the State of New York. Once you are found guilty of a traffic violation in court, the DMV is notified and they promptly update your driving record. Point assessments range from 2 to 11 points with the bulk of them landing at the 3 point offense. 3 points may not sould like much but if an officer issues you multiple traffic tickets at once, or if you are pulled over frequently, they can add up very quickly. A texting violation (5 points) with a speeding ticket (going 40 in a 30 MPH zone is 3 points), and not wearing your seat belt (3 points) add up to 11 points. That’s a lot of points!

How many points is too much? At just 6 points in an 18-month period, your New York State license is subject to suspension or possible revocation. A suspension is where it is illegal for you to drive with a beginning point and an end point while a revoked license means that your license or driving privileges have been cancelled and you must request permission from the DMV for a new license.

How can I avoid points on my license?

One of the easiest ways to avoid points on your license is to obey the traffic laws and not get a traffic ticket. Beyond that, it’s important to remember that points are applied to your license only after you have been convicted of your violation and not before. This means that if an officer hands you a ticket for passing a school bus (5 points), your license is only affected after you are found guilty of the charge. Hiring a traffic lawyer to help with the tickets such as this may help reduce the charges or have them dismissed entirely. Arguing the merits of a ticket with the DA or a Judge is something that the general public may not be able to do on their own.

OK, so I have points. Can I make them go away?

Points on your New York State license don’t go away automatically. Points from moving violations will show on your record for three years plus the year you received the violation in. The record of a DWI conviction stays with you for ten years plus the year you received the DWI.

The DMV does acknowledge when a driver is open to improving their driving abilities. A DMV-approved Point & Insurance Reducation Program (PIRP or commonly known as a Defensive Driving Course) will reduce a maximum of 4 current points on your license as well as giving you an insurance discount of 10% for your liability and collision premiums. This is nice because most of car insurance companies will raise your premiums for any points on your license for the length of the time they are there.

In the long run, many times it is less expensive to hire a traffic lawyer to take care of your tickets – not to mention they can often do so without you ever having to go to court. A good traffic lawyer can protect your driving record, your insurance premiums, and your checkbook as well. If you or someone you know has been given traffic tickets, please contact us so we can help! You’ll be very happy you did.