The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in most states keeps track of moving violations using a demerit point system. Speed violations are considered moving violations and will normally result in the DMV assessing a certain number of points to the driver’s record.
When a driver is convicted of a moving violation by admitting fault (paying the fine) or being found guilty after a trial, the DMV receives notice of the conviction. The DMV then adds a certain number of points to the driver’s record. Generally, even out-of-state traffic convictions will result in points being assessed in your driving record.
The number of points differs depending on the particular violation—the more serious the violation, the more points the DMV assesses. Basically, each state that has a point system (a handful of states don’t have point systems) has a list of the point values that correspond to different traffic violations.
The number of points you’ll receive for a speeding ticket depends on what state you live in and how fast you were going. Generally, the number of points increases with the amount by which you exceeded the speed limit. Here are some state-specific examples:
As you can see, every state scales their point systems differently. But, for the most part, the points increase with the driver’s speed in relation to the speed limit.
Acquiring too many points can lead to license suspension and other consequences such as having to complete a driver’s education course. However, most states will send a warning letter before the driver reaches a point total that will result in these types of consequences.
The accumulation of points can also affect a driver’s insurance rates. Insurance companies view drivers with lots of points to be a higher risk than drivers with clean records and will set rates accordingly.
In most states, demerit points expire after a certain period of time. For example, in Nevada, points expire one year after the date of conviction. And, in Florida, points for a traffic violation stay on your record for a three-year period.
Some states also allow drivers to avoid points for a violation or receive point credits for completing traffic school. But traffic school is normally an option only every so often. For instance, California allows drivers to participate in traffic school once every 18 months. Also, traffic school typically isn’t available for commercial drivers who receive a speeding ticket.