Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

How points on your driver's license work

When a cop pulls you over for a traffic offense and gives you a ticket, more than just irritation and inconvenience occur. A ticket also comes with lasting consequences, which is why it is not always best to just pay the fine and move on.

Traffic citations add points to your license, which can eventually lead to the loss of your driving privileges. This, in turn, can affect your insurance rates and ability to get to work. Here is what you need to know about the point system in North Carolina.

Points depend on the violation

How many points go on your record depends on the committed offense. The more serious the violation, the more points you receive. For example, not using your turn signal is only two points, whereas going around a stopped school bus is five points. Not yielding the right of way and speeding through school zones are both worth three points. Some offenses result in an automatic suspension, such as excessive speeding or drunk driving.

If you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time, the points are higher. It is important to note that insurance companies use their own point systems in determining your rates.

Points add up quickly

You only need to acquire 12 points in just three years to qualify for a license suspension. That may seem unlikely to happen, but it can take as little as one ticket a year to reach that limit. The first time, the suspension will last 60 days.

Once you regain your driving privileges, you start back at zero points. However, you can only obtain eight points within three years of getting back your license. The second suspension lasts six months, and the third can be up to a year. You can find out how many points you have by logging into your DMV account.

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