DMV Point System in New Hampshire
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New Hampshire, like many states, uses a DMV Demerit Point System to discipline drivers for unsafe driving. Each original New Hampshire driver's license is signed by the Director of Motor Vehicles, Virginia C. Beecher. As a privilege and not a right, the Director can suspend (known as Administrative Suspension) or revoke your New Hampshire driver's license for conviction of unsafe driving.
The DMV Point System assesses points against your license for more than 50 different offenses. The number of points per conviction can be one, two, three, four, or six depending on the seriousness of the offense. The greater the degree of misuse the more points assessed.
In general, ways you can abuse your driving privileges include carelessness, recklessness, destruction of personal or public property, and disregard for New Hampshire State Traffic Laws.
So what are the details of the point system? Pages 98 to 104 of the Driver's Manual lists the offenses grouped by point category. If you get ticketed, your citation will list the offenses with points. The violations not pre-printed on the traffic tickets are listed on the Department of Safety website.
The one, two, three, and four-point offenses include violations regarding registration, vehicle inspection, sharing the road with other cars and pedestrians, and failing to signal. For example, some one point offenses are:
- Operating without vehicle registration available in the vehicle.
- Failing to obey inspection requirements.
- Failing to obtain a New Hampshire driver's license.
Two point offenses are a little more serious than one point offenses. If you are surprised by some of them, like driving over the curb, perhaps you should review the Driver's Manual. Some of the other two-point offenses include:
- Driving an unregistered vehicle.
- Failing to produce a license when requested by a police officer.
- Failing to abide by license restrictions.
- Operating a vehicle with improper class of license.
- Failing to comply with directions from a police officer.
The three point offenses include some straight forward traffic violations:
- Disobeying any traffic control device.
- Following too closely.
- Driving on a sidewalk.
- Failing to yield right of way.
- Failing to obey stop and yield signs.
Again, as the degree of seriousness increases so does the number of points assessed. To earn four points against you on your driver's license, the violations include:
- Driving without a license.
- Improper passing.
- Speeding at 25 mph or more above the posted limit.
The most you can be assessed for any single conviction of a DMV offense is six points. These are among the most serious violations:
- Disobeying a police officer.
- Driving after license revocation or suspension.
- Vehicle title alteration.
- Racing and/or reckless driving.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This list of violations in the DMV point system is not complete. There are over 50 violations that can be counted against you if you are convicted following a hearing on the offense.
Points stay on your driving record on for three years.
If you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you might be able to order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the DMV. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.
Suspension of your driver's license, from three months to one year, is a direct result of the DMV Demerit Point System. How many points can you accumulate before suspension? It depends on your age. There are three age categories:
Drivers under the age of 18
- Six points in one calendar year: three months suspension.
- 12 points in two consecutive years: up to six months suspension.
- 18 points in three consecutive calendar years: up to one year suspension.
Drivers 18, 19, or 20
- Nine points in one calendar year: up to three months suspension.
- 15 points in two consecutive calendar years: up to six months suspension.
- 21 points in three consecutive calendar years: up to one year suspension.
Drivers age 21 and older
- 12 points in one calendar year: up to three months suspension.
- 18 points in two consecutive calendar years: up to six months suspension.
- 24 points in three consecutive calendar years: up to one year suspension.
Once you have crossed over the limit and lose your license for any period of time, the penalty goes beyond fines and licensing fees. It is common for auto insurance rates to increase after suspension.
In New Hampshire, a driver or automobile owner is not required to carry automobile insurance. However, once you have lost your license to suspension or revocation, the state can require you carry a minimum of auto liability insurance at your own expense. Proof of auto insurance is filed by your insurance carrier, on Form SR-22, directly with the Bureau of Financial Responsibility.
There are other costly problems that creep up when your license is suspended. New Hampshire does not have a hardship or work exception so you can drive to your job. Without a driver's license, how will you get to work or school? How much time will you spend time trying to schedule rides? Will you have to give up your job because you can't show up for work? Having a driver's license is a privilege and you will be glad for taking the responsibility seriously.
Any suspension or revocation will be reported to the National Driver Register. You cannot apply for a driver's license in another state while your New Hampshire license is under suspension. If your license has been under suspension in another state and now you are applying for a New Hampshire drivers license the suspension must be cleared so that your out of state license is valid before you are able to get a New Hampshire driver's license.
To be named a habitual offender in New Hampshire, the Director of Motor Vehicles agrees that your behavior shows disrespect for the law and indifference to safety. Your driving record and a hearing will decide if your license should be revoked for one to four years.
Being declared a habitual offender is grave. Should you be stopped driving a vehicle after having been declared a habitual offender you could be sent to jail for one to five years. The strong position New Hampshire takes on habitual offenders speaks directly to their safety commitment for all people traveling on the state highways and roads.
To earn back your New Hampshire driver's license, habitual offenders must meet all the requirements of the court including one to four years of suspension, driver improvement training, and other related coursework. The Decertification Habitual Offender form must be filed to start the process. A determination will be made by the Bureau of Hearings.
So you made a few driving judgment errors and now you have accumulated points on your license. If you could only reduce the number of points on your license you could limit your risk of suspension. In New Hampshire, you are eligible for a three-point reduction one time in every three year period.
To take advantage of the three-point reduction program you must attend an approved Driver Improvement Program. Not only will you find this a valuable and rewarding way to improve your road safety, but when you submit your course paperwork to the New Hampshire DMV they will take three points off your license.
When you have fulfilled all the requirements of your Administrative Suspension you can apply for reinstatement of your driver's license. The Bureau of Financial Responsibility handles reinstatements. You must bring your reinstatement fee and proof of insurance, usually an SR-22 Form, to DMV Headquarters:
- Department of Safety
- Division of Motor Vehicles
- Financial Responsibility
- 23 Hazen Drive
- Concord NH 03305
If you have any questions, give them a call before you drive to Concord at (603) 227-4010.
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