Plenty of states use a points system to keep track of drivers. By assigning certain points to certain driving violations, they can keep tabs on who is making unsafe choices out on the road.
Virginia also uses a driver’s license points system, but it’s more complicated than it is in other states. To help you better understand the points system — and what those points mean for your license — read this quick guide.
The Virginia license points system is more complicated than a lot of other states’ because the VA DMV uses two different types of points:
These are the points that other states use, too. Basically, if you do something bad on the road (like you get caught speeding or you cause an accident), you get a certain number of demerit points added to your Virginia driver’s license.
Generally, there are three types of violations under the points system:
If you click on those links, you’ll get a list from the DMV of driving violations that will land you with that many points.
If you’re a driver over 20 and you rack up 12 or more points in 12 months or 18+ points in 24 months, you’ll need to complete a driver improvement clinic. If you get 18 or more points in 12 months or 24+ points in 24 months, your license will get suspended for 90 days.
Fortunately, not all Virginia license points are bad.
For every year that you go without any driving violations, you earn one safe driving point. The DMV gives out these points in April of each year. You can carry up to five safe driving points on your license.
You can login to the DMV’s system here to find out how many points you currently have on your Virginia driver’s license.
There’s good news. You’re not stuck with the demerit points that get put on your Virginia driver’s license. For starters, time is on your side. At the end of two years, license points fall off (but the conviction might stay on your record longer).
You don’t have to wait to get points off your license, either. You can take a driver improvement clinic, which will take up to five demerit points off your license. Or, if you don’t have any demerit points, completing the clinic will add five safe points to your license, giving you a nice buffer against future offenses.
The driver improvement clinic is eight hours long, but that doesn’t mean you need to go sit in some classroom for a full day. The DMV has approved certain education providers to offer this eight hour course online. You can even complete the hours whenever your schedule allows and you can take them from your phone or tablet, too.
Ultimately, it’s worth keeping track of your Virginia license points. That way, if you get close to the 12-point limit, you can take a driver improvement clinic to avoid license suspension.