- Location: Florida
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In the State of Florida, driving is considered a privilege that must be earned. You can lose your driving privileges for a number of infractions and matters as varied as failure to pay child support, addiction to drugs or alcohol, failure to pay traffic violation fines, and even racing on the highway.
Another way to lose your privilege to drive is to incur too many "violation points" on your license within a certain amount of time. Many common traffic infractions have a point value assigned to them, and a running tally is kept whenever you are ticketed. Points remain against your driver's license for five years.
The following infractions will result in six points against your license:
- Leaving the scene of an accident with damage of at least $50
- Speed violations resulting in an accident
These infractions will earn you four points:
- Driving recklessly
- Moving violations that cause an accident
- Attempting to pass a school bus that has stopped
- Exceeding the posted speed limit by 16 mph or more
- Ignoring traffic control signals or devices
Three-point infractions include:
- Minors driving during restricted hours (see note below)
- Exceeding the posted speed limit by 15 mph or less
- All other moving violations not previously mentioned
- Curfew violations
- Driving with an open container
- Violating child restraint regulations
A note on restricted driving hours for minors: Florida law states that minors younger than 17 are not allowed to drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they're accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older, or unless the minor is going to or from work. Seventeen-year-old drivers are subject to the same driving restrictions from the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Your license may be suspended if you incur the following points:
- 12 points within a 12-month period―30-day suspension
- 18 points within an 18-month period―three-month suspension
- 24 points within a 36-month period―one-year suspension
If you're a minor (under age 18), the law is even more strict; if you accrue just six points in a 12-month period, your license will be limited to "business purposes only" for one whole year. Earning more than six points in that same time period will result in an 90-day extension of your license limitations.
Points are given on the date the offense occurs. Driving out of state doesn't help, either; you'll accrue the same amount of points on your Florida license for convictions in any state or federal court.
Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report.
If you are charged with a traffic violation that will result in points against your license, you can opt to take an approved driver improvement course (either online or in-person). The only exceptions to this are for criminal violations and drivers with commercial driver licenses (CDLs), regardless of the vehicle they were driving at the time of the infraction.
Completing a driver improvement course means that:
- No points will be accrued against your driving record
- Your ticket fine may decrease by up to 18%
- Your insurance company cannot increase your rates because of the infraction (unless you receive two tickets in 18 months or three in 36 months, or you went over the speed limit by more than 15 mph)
Each Class E driver is allowed to attend one driver improvement course within a 12-month period, and up to five times in his or her lifetime.
How to Attend a Course
Within 30 days of receiving your ticket, go to the county clerk's office in the county where you received the ticket, and they'll give you a packet with information. Complete the enclosed affidavit, attend the course within 60 or 90 days (time varies by county), and submit your certificate and paperwork to the clerk's office. For specific county-related information and fees, please contact the county clerk's office.
If your license is suspended because of points, you will also be required to take an advanced driver improvement course before the suspension period is over. Check out the list of approved schools for more information.