North Carolina’s Traffic Violation Point System

The demerit points system for traffic tickets, and how points can lead to license suspension.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) keeps track of all drivers’ traffic violation convictions using a point system. Drivers who accumulate too many points can face fees, driver improvement classes, and license suspension.

Point Values for Specific Violations

The number of points a driver will receive for a traffic ticket depends on the particular law the driver violated.

Violation

Points assessed

Passing stopped bus

5

Aggressive driving

5

Reckless driving

4

Leaving the scene of accident involving property damage

4

Following too closely

4

Driving on the wrong side of road

4

Illegal passing

4

Failure to yield to a pedestrian or cyclist

4

Stop sign, red light, or yield sign violation

3

Speeding over 55 miles per hour

3

Driving without a license

3

Failure to stop for siren

3

No insurance

3

Failure to report accident

3

Speeding in school zone

3

Child restraint violation

2

Unlisted violation

2

Littering

1

Violations occurring in a commercial vehicle often carry two to four additional points.

Consequences of Accumulating Too Many Points

The possible penalties for acquiring too many points depend on the number of points and how many prior suspensions the driver has.

  • Seven points in three years. the DMV will issue a warning letter and allow the driver to complete a driver improvement clinic. The clinic costs $65 but will erase three demerit points.
  • 12 points in three years. The DMV will suspend the driver’s license for up to 60 days.

After license reinstatement, the DMV deletes all demerit points on the driver’s record. However, the reinstated driver will be subject to tighter restrictions for the next three years.

  • Four points in the three years following reinstatement. The DMV will issue a warning letter and allow the driver to complete a driver improvement clinic, which will cost $65 and erase three demerit points.
  • Eight points in three years following reinstatement. The DMV will suspend the driver’s license for up to six months.

A third suspension violation will result in a maximum one-year suspension.

Appeal

Drivers who wish to appeal their suspension can request a hearing. Even if the suspension is affirmed, the hearing officer can stay the suspension and place the driver on probation for up to one year. During this time, the driver can continue to drive, but a future traffic violation will reinstate the original suspension.

Restricted License

Suspended drivers are permitted to petition the district court for a restricted license. If granted, this license can be used to only travel to and from work or school, and only during limited hours.

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