What are points and how do they affect my driving privileges?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Many states have a system that assigns a point value to each traffic offense. Greater offenses have greater point values. For example, failure to come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign might be 1 point, while speeding 50 miles per hour over the posted speed limit might be 3 points. Points can be accumulated over time.

If too many points are accumulated within a given time frame are accumulated, your driving “privilege” (i.e. license) can be suspended. For example, Speed Racer has a habit of driving too fast and he gets 6 points in a seven month time frame. Since Speed Racer accumulated more than the allowable number of points in the given time frame, his driving “privilege” is suspended. Because driving is considered a “privilege” as opposed to a “right,” the privilege can be taken away. The next time Speed Racer goes out and gets stopped for speeding, in addition to the citation for speeding, he will also get a citation for driving under a suspended license – one petty offense and one misdemeanor.

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