How Many Points For A Speeding Ticket

A police officer writing a speeding ticket to someone in a white convertible.

Every driver knows to be careful about getting speeding tickets, irrespective of the state. Speeding tickets can adversely affect your driving record and your criminal record. Getting one or more will also have some negative impacts on your finances. Apart from the fines you must pay, you may also experience a significant increase in your insurance premium.

All states have an independent Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in charge of their traffic ticket point system. You can visit your state’s DMV website for more information on traffic violations, or you can request your driving record. Common questions you can get answers to include “how long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?” and “how many speeding tickets can you get before your driver’s license is suspended?” among several other common traffic violations.

We’ll be diving into points gained from speeding tickets and similar traffic violations. The sections below cover the basics of traffic violation points and the penalties attached to each violation. We have also explained ways to lower the points accrued on your driving record.


What Is the Driver’s License Point System?

The driver’s license point system is the way many countries, including the United States, keep track of traffic law violators. Points are applied to a driver’s license every time the driver commits a driving offense. The severity of the offense influences the number of points it attracts. After the points reach a maximum limit, a driver’s license will be suspended or revoked.

The DMV uses the driver’s license point system to keep track of high-risk drivers. However, each state has different ways of applying the point system. Thus, out-of-state drivers may not incur points for traffic infractions committed in other states. Nonetheless, most states have reciprocity laws that enable them to report out-of-state offenders to their original states.

If you are found breaking traffic laws while driving out of state, your home state will likely add the assigned points to your record. Since the assigned points may differ by state, you will get the number of points stipulated by your state for that particular offense. The effects build up over time as each infraction appears on your record.

In practice, traffic offenses have different points attached to them, usually from 1 to 12. Speeding tickets rarely attract more than 8 points, but some extra elements may result in additional points. Going slightly over the speed limit will only get you between 1 and 3 points. If you are not a repeat offender, that should not adversely affect your record or insurance premiums.


Speeding Ticket Points Values

Speeding ticket point values differ depending on your state. Some states, such as Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming, do not have point systems. Others have various levels of regulations on setting speeding ticket values within their jurisdictions. In most cases, the points attached to different violations are similar. However, some states, like New York, have stricter laws than others. The speeding ticket point values in New York are:

  • 1 to 10 mph over the posted limit – 3 points
  • 11 to 20 mph over the limit – 4 points
  • 21 to 30 mph over the limit – 6 points
  • 31 to 40 mph over the limit – 8 points
  • Over 40 mph – 11 points

This is one of the strictest point systems, as most other states like Alaska have speeding ticket points values as:

  • 3 to 9 mph – 2 points
  • 10 to 19 mph – 4 points
  • 20 or more over the limit – 6 points

You should note that extra elements can increase the number of points applied to a traffic offense. One common element is where the offense occurred, such as in a school zone or playground crosswalk. In such instances, the number of points assigned increases drastically, usually by 5 or 6 points.


Points For Other Traffic Violations

A digital 25 mph street sign with digital real time display.

Speeding is the cause of 20% of traffic violations in the country, but other violations can earn you points on your driving record. For example, some of these traffic offenses include parking violations, driving under the influence (DUI), not stopping for a school bus, leaving the scene of an accident, etc.

Each of these offenses attracts a different number of points and fines. Here are some other traffic violations and the points they attract:

  • Improper turn – 2 points
  • Disobeying a traffic control device – 2 points
  • Other moving violations – 2 points
  • Failure to yield right-of-way – 3 points
  • Red light violation – 3 points
  • Disobeying traffic control signal, yield sign, or stop sign – 3 points
  • Improper passing, changing of lane unsafely – 3 points
  • Driving in the wrong direction, left of center – 3 points
  • Leaving the scene of property damage incident – 3 points
  • Child safety restraint violation – 3 points
  • Reckless driving – 5 points
  • Failure to stop for a school bus – 5 points
  • Improper cell phone use – 5 points
  • Use of portable electronic device “texting” – 5 points
  • Railroad crossing – 5

These common traffic violations usually go on a driver’s record after conviction. The points add up for each violation on your record. If the points add up to a threshold set by the state, your license will most likely be suspended or revoked. For most states, it’s 12 points within 12 months. In New York, it is 11 points within 18 months. So a driver can exceed the limit in two or three infractions within a specific timeframe.


Penalties & Fines For A Speeding Ticket

Getting a speeding ticket can greatly affect you in more ways than one. Apart from the points on your driver’s license, you will also experience some financial repercussions. The first is the direct fine levied by the DMV, which the court will impose upon you once you are convicted.

The penalties are not uniform in every state but are usually within the range of:

  • 1 to 10 mph over the limit – 3 points – $133 – $238
  • 11 to 20 mph – 4 points – $178 – $388
  • 21 to 30 mph – 6 points – $478 – $988
  • 31 to 40 mph – 8 points – $718 – $1,138
  • Over 40 mph – 11 points – $943 – $1,363

These figures cover the fine, surcharge, and DRA (Driver Responsibility Assessment). Meanwhile, the penalty for getting a speeding ticket is more than the fine. Demerit points will go on your driving record and have various repercussions. First, your insurance company will most likely increase your insurance premiums. Consequently, it may take years to regain your reputation and reduce your insurance premiums.

Furthermore, penalties for repeat offenders include a suspended license or revocation of your driving privileges.

Before you get slammed with a fine for speeding, reckless driving, or other traffic offenses, it is best to hire a traffic ticket lawyer. Of course, you can choose to defend yourself in a traffic court, but this is not always the best option. For instance, being accused of speeding 20 mph beyond the limit is serious enough to earn you a big fine and lots of demerit points. In such cases, you need to involve a traffic ticket lawyer to get the best deal for you.


How Long Do Points Stay On Your Driving Record?

Traffic violation points stay on your record for a few years, depending on your state. Usually, it’s between two and five years after the conviction date. The average is three years for ordinary traffic offenses. Since traffic cases can drag on for months, you should petition to have the date counted from the date of the incident. Three or more years afterward, your record is almost as good as new.

After this period, the demerit points generally stop affecting your driving privileges. It will still be on your record afterward but won’t have much, if any, of a negative impact on you. For instance, you may be able to get good insurance rates if you stay away from further traffic infractions during that period.

Traffic points assigned for major offenses can stay longer than those assigned for minor ones. In some instances, it takes up to 10 years for the effect of such points to be fully mitigated. Examples of major offenses include DUI, vehicular manslaughter, and damage to property.

Knowing that breaking traffic laws can negatively affect your driving record, preventing them from going on your record in the first place is much better. There are various ways to do this, but a successful not guilty plea is the best. Some states also allow you to defer your punishment for a year, during which you will be on probation. If you can complete the year without committing another traffic violation, the first infraction will not be entered into your record.

Finally, there are states with no points system for speeding, but you will still get punished for various traffic infractions. Those states include Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Texas.


How To Reduce Traffic Ticket Points

A traffic code book underneath a handwritten map. Preparing for traffic court.

Traffic ticket points can be expensive. From the beginning, you have to pay more fines for higher points. Sometimes, this can run into thousands of dollars. To mitigate the impact of the points on your driving privileges and personal finances, you should look into reducing your traffic ticket points if you can. Here are some ways to reduce traffic ticket points:


— Take A Defensive Driving Class

One reliable way to reduce traffic ticket points and prevent license suspension is to take a defensive driving class. These are safe driving classes, sometimes referred to as “traffic school.” Completing one can reduce your points by up to 4. This can protect you from losing your driving privileges; however, you can only take these classes more than 18 months apart, so you won’t be able to reduce your points this way for any new violations you receive within 18 months. You also cannot take a defensive driving class to lower your points more than 5 times in 10 years.

— Fight The Ticket

If you believe that you have been wrongly accused, you can decide to contest the ticket. Very few drivers contest traffic tickets, but doing so successfully will prevent the violation from going on your record. Fighting a traffic ticket successfully is difficult, and you will need an expert traffic ticket lawyer for this purpose. Read up on your state’s traffic laws to prepare yourself for the task ahead.

— Enter Into A Plea Bargain

If you feel like you will be unable to succeed in fighting the ticket, you can enter into a plea bargain. Just like in criminal prosecution, entering into a plea bargain can help reduce your punishment by pleading guilty to a lesser violation. During a plea bargain, the judge will consider your demeanor in court, the police officer’s account of your behavior during apprehension, and your record.

— Capitalize On Mitigating Factors

Traffic tickets are rarely mitigated by any external factor that may have caused you to break a traffic law. For instance, the court is usually not concerned about whether you had an emergency or didn’t know you were going over the limit.

However, some mitigating factors, such as the obstruction of a speed limit sign and being a first-time offender, can convince the judge to reduce your points. Before issuing the ticket, you can also communicate your mitigating factor to the police officer.

— Don’t Be A Regular Offender

First-time offenders are usually let off easily in speed violation cases. It is easier to enter a plea bargain or get a reduction due to mitigating factors as a first-timer. Repeat offenders are less likely to reduce their points and may even get stricter punishments.


The Bottom Line

Speeding is one of the most common ways to get traffic ticket points on your record. However, your points differ depending on how much you exceed the limit. In addition, other factors, such as the location and whether there were injuries involved, will matter in determining how many points you get for a speeding ticket. Learning how to lower the number of points on your driving record is important.


Frequently Asked Questions


Which traffic violations will get you the most points?

The points you get for traffic violations differ based on your state. However, most states are identical when it comes to defining more severe violations. In most states, traffic violations with the highest number of driver’s license points include driving 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit, driving while impaired (DUI or DWI), and drag racing, among others. As you may expect, any of these violations will affect your driving and insurance records.

The points and fines you pay may increase with additional elements, such as property damage, disobeying a police officer, and whether the offense occurred in a school zone. Insurance points are mostly calculated differently from driver’s license points. However, the latter still affects how the former is calculated.

You may get a point reduction if you enter into a plea bargain with law enforcement agents. If you successfully make the plea, your points may be reduced to those of a lesser violation, such as failure to yield right-of-way, not stopping at a stop sign, or other violations of similar severity.


What happens if you have too many points on your license?

Once you get about half of the maximum points allowed before license revocation, you will be notified by your state’s DMV office. You will also be required to pay a driver responsibility assessment fee in states like New York.

Your driver’s license will be suspended if you exceed the maximum limit for the specified time. The suspension may last from a few months to a year. You must not be caught driving for any reason during this period. If you are caught, you may face jail time for a misdemeanor.

Also, too many points on your license will affect your auto insurance. Most insurance companies review your record annually, and if they find speeding violation points, they will increase your premiums. This may go on for years until they deem you a responsible driver again.

Before your license is suspended for exceeding the points limit, you can mitigate your punishment by undergoing a defensive driving course (traffic school), or completing a Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP). These courses will earn you up to a 4-point reduction in your current points balance. It may also be best to get legal advice from a traffic ticket attorney. Most traffic ticket attorneys will offer you a free consultation before you decide if you want to retain their services.


How much does a 6-point speeding ticket cost?

Speeding tickets are costly and can cost you more than just the fines. For example, in most states, a 6-point speeding ticket will cost you between $478 and $988. This is usually the total cost of the fine and the surcharge. However, there are other costs you may incur from getting a speeding ticket.

These costs include the increase in your insurance premiums and the cost of attending traffic school. Insurance companies are notorious for increasing people’s premiums once they classify them as irresponsible drivers. Often, they are less concerned about the number of points you get at once. Instead, the most important factor they consider is how often you get traffic tickets within a certain period of time.

Also, once you get more than 6 points on your record, the DMV may require you to pay a driver responsibility assessment fee. If the latest addition to your driving record takes your total points over the maximum limit allowed, you may have to pay more to retain your driving privileges. One mitigating method is to take a defensive driving course if you haven’t taken one within the previous 18 months. Another option is to challenge the ticket, preferably with the help of an experienced traffic ticket attorney.