How Traffic Ticket Points Affect Your Driving Record
When motorists receive traffic tickets, some of them fail to consider the impact they have on their driving records. Some individuals assume that if they pay a ticket, they can avoid the points it carries. Others may believe that if they ignore the ticket, it will go away. Others, may not even know what drivers license points are. If you get behind the wheel, you need to understand how traffic tickets that carry "points" can affect your driving record and how to protect it. A clean driving record is one with 0 points. Everyone starts out with 0 points and the goal is to keep points off your record, not accumulate them.
Drivers License Points Can Lead to Suspension
It is not uncommon for good drivers to receive traffic tickets every once and awhile. The impact on their driving record can be minimal depending on the charge and how many license points it carries. The more dangerous and hazardous a traffic infraction is, the greater the number of points it carries. For example, a ticket issued for speeding two or fewer miles over the speed limit has a point value of two. A ticket issued for speeding 25 miles or more over the speed limit is six points.
However, maintaining a clean record is very important even for good drivers. A traffic ticket lawyer will generally have more plea bargain options for clients with clean records because it is a general indication that the person is a good driver and can be offered up as a negotiating chip. However, individuals who get citations more often may have cause for concern. Once a South Carolina motorist’s driving record reaches 12 points, the state automatically revokes their driving privileges. The higher the number of points, the longer the suspension term. Some offenses like a DUI can result in the immediate suspension of driving privileges outside of the point system.
Depending on the situation and type of offense, it can be very easy for some motorists to end up with enough points on their driving records to have their licenses suspended. Infractions do not fall off your driving record. However, in South Carolin it takes a year for the points on a driving record to be reduced by half. If you are a South Carolina driver and receive an out-of-state ticket, the SC DMV will still assess points for that ticket as if it was written in South Carolina.
Higher insurance premiums
Bear in mind the SC DMV forgives points after a 1 year period of time. However, most auto insurance companies are not as forgiving. Many of them charge higher rates for tickets that are received within a three to five-year period.
Protect your driving record
Being aware of what is on your driving record is one of the first steps you can take to protect it. You should get a copy of your driving record every year or so from the DMV so you can keep track of what is on it. You should also get in the habit of following all traffic laws. If you receive a traffic ticket, look online or call a lawyer to find out how many license points the offense carries. Informing clients about the license points that a traffic violation carries is one of the first steps our firm offers in a free consultation.