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In the District of Columbia, keeping the roads safe is every driver's responsibility. When a driver violates the rules of the road and receives a traffic ticket, the Department of Motor Vehicles assigns demerit points to that motorist's driver's license in an effort to deter dangerous driving behavior.
The DMV uses a point system to promote safe driving habits. The purpose of the point system is to warn drivers who could be at risk of having their driving privileges revoked or even suspended. The DMV assesses points to drivers for certain moving violations no matter where they take place―in the District of Columbia or another jurisdiction.
Points are assessed when you pay a ticket, fail to pay a ticket, or are convicted of a violation in court. The type of offense will determine the number of points you receive. When a driver accumulates a high enough number of points, their license can be suspended and then revoked.
After you accumulate 10 or 11 points, your license will be suspended for a set length of time. You will receive an "Order of Suspension" from the DMV.
After you accumulate 12 or more points, your license will be revoked. You will receive an "Order of Revocation" from the DMV, and your driving privileges will be revoked until they are officially reinstated.
There are some traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), where your license is revoked for six months on the first offense. For the second offense, the revocation is one year; for the third or subsequent offense, you'll lose your privilege to drive for two years. When your license is revoked, it will remain that way until you pay the reinstatement fee and the DMV officially reinstates your license.
Here are a few examples of how many points are assessed for a particular offense:
- 2 points:
- Following too closely behind another vehicle
- Operating a vehicle with the wrong class of license
- 4 points:
- Driving a car in violation of a restriction on your license
- Speeding 16-20 mph above the posted speed limit
- 8 points:
- Leaving the scene of an accident where there was no injury
- Turning off your headlights to avoid being seen by police
- 12 points:
Note: These infractions will also lead to an automatic suspension of your license.
- Leaving the scene of an accident where there is an injury
- Fleeing law enforcement
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (DUI)
It is important to keep in mind that your driving record has an impact on your car insurance rates. Drivers with a lot of points on their driving record might see their premiums skyrocket.
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.
Please note that it is illegal to drive with a suspended or revoked license. Doing so will subject you to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
After your suspension or revocation period has ended, you may apply to have your license reinstated. For a revocation, you'll be required to attend a reinstatement hearing (you are allowed to have an attorney appear on your behalf). You'll also have to pay a $98 reinstatement fee to clear your driving record.
To schedule a hearing in person, visit a DMV service location. To schedule a hearing by mail, use the following address:
- DMV Adjudication Services
- Permit Hearings Office
- P.O. Box 91980
- Washington, DC 20090
Obviously, it is in your best interest to drive safely. Along with the point system for traffic violations, the DMV also has a point system for safe drivers.
You will accrue safe driving points for each calendar year that you have a District of Columbia driver's license and do not receive any moving violation points. These safe driving points can be used to cancel out moving violation points, but they expire if unused after five years.Articles