Wisconsin’s Traffic Violation Point System

How Wisconsin’s licensing demerit point system works, including how too many tickets can lead to license suspension.

Like most states, Wisconsin issues fines and fees for traffic infractions. But Wisconsin also imposes license-related penalties on repeat offenders. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), receives notice of all in-state and out-of-state traffic violation convictions. Each conviction is assigned a number of points and too many points will result in license suspension.

Points Values for Specific Violations

Wisconsin assigns the following point values to moving violations.

Violation

Points Assessed

Speeding 10 miles per hour or less over limit

3

Speeding more than 10 but less than 20 miles per hour over limit

4

Speeding 20 miles per hour or more over limit

6

License not in possession

0

Failure to stop for accident

6

Eluding an officer

6

Operating while intoxicated

6

Racing

6

Reckless driving

6

Failure to stop at railroad crossing

6

Failure to maintain lane

4

Wrong side of highway

4

Speed too fast for conditions

4

Failure to stop for school bus

4

Failure to yield to emergency vehicles

4

Inattentive driving

4

Unnecessary acceleration

4

Graduated license restriction violation

3

Failure to dim lights

3

Failure to signal

3

Failure to obey traffic control device

3

Tailgating

3

Illegal turn

3

Improper brakes

3

Illegal passing

3

Driving while suspended or revoked

3

Obstructing traffic

2

All other moving violations

2

Seatbelt violation

0

Open container

0

Consequences of Acquiring Too Many Demerit Points

After a driver accumulates six points within a year, the DMV can issue a warning letter or a notice for the driver to appear at the local examination station for driver improvement counseling. Generally, this requirement can include some form of driver counseling or reexamination.

A driver with 12 or more points in a year will receive a notice of suspension. The length of suspension will depend on the number of points acquired in the last year.

  • 12 to 16 points. Two-month suspension.
  • 17 to 22 points. Four-month suspension.
  • 23 to 30 points. Six-month suspension.
  • More than 30 points. One-year suspension.

Prior to license reinstatement, the driver must pay a reinstatement fee, provide proof of insurance, and may need to complete driver improvement counseling.

Youth Drivers

Learning permit or probationary license holders are subject to tighter point limits. A youth driver with 12 to 30 points will receive a six-month suspension and receive a one-year suspension for more than 30 points in a year.

The point assessments for a traffic violation are also doubled for youth drivers who have at least one prior point-related traffic conviction. Because of this difference, a probationary driver can be suspended after two speeding tickets (four points, then eight points) without being issued a warning letter.

Avoiding Suspension

Points are only counted for the past year but will remain on a driver’s record for longer. Drivers can remove up to three points from their record by completing an approved defensive driving class. However, this option is available only once every three years. If the course reduces the driver’s point total to less than 12 points, the driver may be able to void a pending suspension.

A suspended driver can apply for an occupational license from the DMV. The license authorizes limited operation to and from work or school but only during certain hours and along certain routes.

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