DMV Point System in North Carolina

Years after making North Carolina “First in Flight," the Wright brothers' legacy continues to write itself in jet streams across the nation's skies. Similarly, the traffic tickets you receive can leave a long-lasting legacy in the form of points on your driving record.

On this page, we'll teach you about the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) point system and its effect on your driving privileges.

Points & NC Driver License Suspension

Are you accustomed to driving yourself around? If so, accumulating enough points on your record could seriously affect your day-to-day routine.

The NC DMV will suspend your driver's license if you accrue:

  • 12 points in 3 years.
  • 8 points in the 3 years following a license reinstatement.

The length of the suspension will depend on how many times your license has previously been suspended:

  • 1st suspension: 60 days.
  • 2nd suspension: 6 months.
  • 3rd suspension and all subsequent suspensions: 12 months.

Check out our suspended license guide to learn about reinstating your driving privileges.

Automatic License Suspension

Regardless of the number of points on your record, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driving privileges if you're ticketed for offenses like:

  • DWI.
  • Speeding over the limit by 15 MPH while already driving faster than 55 MPH.
  • Street racing.
  • Driving with a suspended/revoked license.

The amount of time you're without driving privileges depends on the seriousness of the offense you commit. Take a look at the North Carolina DMV's driver handbook for a complete list of mandatory license suspensions and their corresponding time periods.

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Don't let a license suspension catch you off guard! Knowing how many points are on your NC driving record is just as important as knowing your credit score.

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North Carolina DMV Point Schedule

The severity of each traffic offense determines the number of points it carries. Below are some common traffic tickets and their corresponding point values in North Carolina. For the comprehensive point schedule, refer to the NC DMV's driver handbook.

Remember, if you receive a citation in another state, the Division of Motor Vehicles may still count points against you.

NOTE: Commercial drivers could face increased point penalties AND mandatory license suspension for certain traffic offenses. See our suspended CDL guide for tips on reinstating your license.

Tickets with Fewer Points

Here are some examples of traffic violations that add relatively fewer points to your NC driving record:

  • Littering while driving: 1 point.
  • Speeding in a school zone: 3 points.
  • Failing to report an accident: 3 points.
  • Lack of liability car insurance: 3 points.
  • Failing to stop for siren: 3 points.
  • Running a:
    • Red light: 3 points.
    • Stop sign: 3 points.
  • Failing to yield right-of-way to another vehicle: 3 points.

Tickets with More Points

Below are a few examples of traffic tickets that add the most points to your NC driving record:

  • Failing to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian: 4 points.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road: 4 points.
  • Following too closely behind another car: 5 points.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage: 4 points.
  • Reckless driving: 4 points.
  • Aggressive driving: 5 points.

For citations with higher point values, you may have to plead your case in court. Head over to our page on fighting traffic tickets for tips on preparing for traffic court.

Points & Your Auto Insurance

DID YOU KNOW: Your auto insurance provider looks at the number of points on your record while deciding how much to charge you for coverage.

Read up on the effect traffic tickets can have on your car insurance rates, especially if you've received citations in the past!

Clean Up Your NC Driving Record

If you have 7 points on your record, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles may allow you to take a driver improvement clinic for a fee of $70. You must schedule a conference with a DMV hearing officer to request enrollment in the clinic.

Successful completion of the driver improvement clinic removes 3 points from your NC driving record.

The NC DMV allows you to take a driver improvement clinic for point reduction once every 5 years.

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