Time Frame for Points on Your Driver’s License

The time frame for license points depends on the offense committed, ranging from two years to life. Having any points at all could increase your car insurance rates by 41%.

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 18, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most points will come off your license within two years, though more severe ones may stay on for life
  • Sometimes, you can take a driving course to remove points from your license
  • Vehicular offenses will hike up your car insurance premiums

When do license points expire? How long do points stay on licenses? The amount of time that point stay on your driver’s license will be entirely determined by the type of traffic tickets or driving offense committed, as well as the state in which it occurred. Generally, most points will fall off of your license within one or two years, but this also varies from state to state.

Serious driving offenses such as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, evading a police officer, and driving 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the posted speed limit can cause your driver’s license to be instantly suspended.

In the U.S., each state has a point system that determines when fines and other punishments can be accessed.

For example, in the state of Delaware, drivers who receive 12 or more points within a year must attend driving behavioral modification courses. Any driver that refuses to attend will have their driver’s license revoked for a minimum of two months.

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How do I find my state’s driving point system?

The best resource for motorists who want to know about their state’s driving point system is their DMV. If you cannot go in person, you can also call or visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle website.

There, you will find the maximum number of points that can be received before the state’s DMV takes action. This can include having a warrant issued for your arrest.

You will need to go to the state’s DMV if you want to see how many points you currently have on your driver’s license. Requesting a driving abstract might take a couple of days, depending on where you live. You can also ask your insurance agent to review your most current driving record.

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What types of driving offenses can cause a driver to receive points?

Not all states assign points for driving offenses. In California, the following traffic infractions will result in points on your license:

It is important to keep track of your points and learn what type of traffic violation or traffic offense can cause suspensions of your driving privileges in your state. You should definitely know the traffic laws of the state where you live to practice safe driving.

Some states will notify drivers by letter if they are in danger of license suspension. This gives motorists the opportunity to take a defensive driving program or stop driving their vehicles for a period of time until some of the DMV points fall off their licenses.

How do points impact car insurance rates?

Ideally, auto insurance companies want their customers to have no DMV points on their licenses. Because your insurance company will ask for permission to look at your driving record, you should know that your past traffic citations will be taken into account.

If you receive too many driver’s license points, you could expect a substantial auto insurance increase. Motorists that have their licenses suspended can also have their car insurance policy canceled without warning.

When a driver has several points that are due to fall off their license right before it is renewal time, there can be a reduction in rates. The more penalty points that fall off your license, the lower your insurance rates will be.

Although you can move to a new state and have a clean driving record, the penalty points that were assigned to you will still be considered by your insurer.

If your license has been suspended, you will not be able to move to a different state and lawfully apply for a new one.

How do I determine when points will fall off my license?

Do points on your license go away? Most states have a point system that automatically removes driver’s license points after a predetermined amount of time. However, this does not apply when a criminal traffic violation has occurred.

When do license points go away? Are there instances where license points are permanent? Vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving charges can remain on your driving record for life. You should consult with an attorney if you want to find out how to have your record expunged, if possible.

Because points can fall off your license anywhere from one to four years after the traffic offense occurred, you will need to keep a recent copy of your driving abstract on hand.

Go to your local DMV or MVA and request updated records as often as possible.

This will give you a good idea of when you can expect your license to be free of all points. It is also imperative that you avoid point accumulation.

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