If I get a lot of traffic tickets, will I lose my license?
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The Point System
When it comes to traffic tickets, most states use a point system. Although the exact inner workings of the point systems might vary from state to state, they all basically function the same way: For every citation a driver receives, a certain number of points is assigned to his driving record. After the driver accumulates a certain number of points, the state imposes consequences in the form of license suspension and revocation.
Point System Differences
One way the various point systems differ usually deals with the number of points they assign different infractions. For example, one state might assign a certain number of points for one kind of traffic ticket while another state gives the same infraction an entirely different number of points.
Still, some of the infractions that carry the heaviest point penalties across the nation and thus increase the chances you’ll lose your license include reckless driving and speeding tickets, citations involving alcohol and drugs, and felonies involving the vehicle including, but not limited to, manslaughter and negligent homicide.
Another way points systems differ is in the methods they use for determining when enough is enough, so to speak, and how much that particular “enough” is going to cost the driver.
In Alabama, for example, if a driver accumulates 12-14 points in a two-year period, his driver’s license is suspended for 60 days; if he accumulates 24 points or more in a two-year period, his drivers license is suspended for 365 days. New Jersey, on the other hand, doesn’t offer as much wiggle room – if you accumulate 12 points, your license is suspended.
Remember, most states use a point system to handle accumulated traffic tickets and the penalties they carry – not all.
For example, Oregon employs a Driver Improvement Program that includes drivers license restrictions and suspensions as well as a driver improvement course, and Wyoming simply yanks your license for a certain number of days if you get four moving violations within a 12-month period.
The best way to learn more about your state’s laws regarding traffic tickets and drivers license suspensions and revocations is to contact your local DMV office, visit your state’s DMV Web site, or refer to your state’s driver handbook.
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