Understanding the North Carolina Traffic Ticket Point System

A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket - traffic ticket points concept

If you’ve been convicted of a motor vehicle violation in North Carolina, driver’s license points may be assessed against your driving record by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These points are separate from those that you may incur on your car insurance. Not only can accruing points on your license have financial repercussions, but if you’ve accumulated enough over a certain period of time, your license may be suspended. It’s important to understand how the traffic ticket points system works — and what you can do to reduce the impact of a traffic violation conviction on your driving record.

What is the North Carolina Traffic Ticket Point System?

Traffic ticket points, commonly referred to as DMV points, are those that are imposed by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. They are meant to inform the DMV regarding whether your license should be revoked. Each traffic violation comes with a specific amount of points that will be assessed against your license upon conviction. However, if you have received multiple traffic violations for the same incident, points are usually assessed against only the most serious traffic violation.

Some common examples of traffic ticket points in North Carolina can include the following:

  • Aggressive driving — 5 points
  • Passing a stopped school bus — 5 points
  • Reckless driving — 4 points
  • Following too closely — 4 points
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road — 4 points
  • Illegal passing — 4 points
  • Failure to yield right of way to pedestrian — 4 points
  • Running through a stop sign — 3 points
  • Failure to yield the right of way — 3 points
  • Running through a red light — 3 points
  • Driving without a license — 3 points
  • Failure to stop for a siren — 3 points
  • Failure to report an accident when required — 3 points
  • No liability insurance — 3 points
  • Speeding in a school zone — 3 points
  • Failure to restrain a child in a seatbelt — 3 points
  • All other moving violations — 2 points
  • Littering from a motor vehicle — 1 point

Commercial drivers face even steeper consequences for the above violations. In addition, certain traffic-related offenses such as highway racing, speeding to elude arrest, DWI, and manslaughter lead to immediate license suspension.

When Can Your License Be Suspended?

If you have accumulated 12 traffic ticket points within a three-year period on your license, your license may be suspended. In addition, accumulating eight points within three years after your license has been reinstated can result in an additional license suspension. Upon reinstatement of your driving privileges, all prior points that have been accumulated are canceled.

For a first license suspension, the length of time your driving privileges will be lost is 60 days. The second suspension results in loss of driving privileges for six months. A third or subsequent suspension can result in license suspension for a period of one year.

Importantly, your driver’s license can also be revoked in several other circumstances, apart from accumulating 12 or more traffic ticket points. For instance, if you’ve been convicted of speeding 15 miles per hour over the speed limit in a 55 miles per hour zone, the DMV may take away your driving privileges. Similarly, you can lose your driving privileges if you were found guilty of speeding more than 75 miles per hour over a speed limit less than 70 miles per hour — or if you were driving in excess of 80 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone.

Reducing the Impact of Traffic Ticket Points

If you’ve received a traffic ticket, don’t ignore it. You also should not simply pay the fine and plead guilty. Doing so results in a conviction and traffic ticket points on your license. It’s crucial to have an experienced traffic ticket attorney by your side who can fight the ticket — and reduce the impact on your driving record.

Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer may be able to get your traffic ticket dismissed. If this is not possible, they may still be able to get your ticket reduced to a non-moving violation or argue that “improper equipment” led to the violation. In some situations, you may be able to use a “prayer for judgment continued,” which would result in a conviction for a traffic offense without incurring points on your license.

Contact an Experienced North Carolina Traffic Ticket Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a traffic offense and are facing traffic ticket points on your license, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable traffic offense attorney by your side who can fight for your rights and create a viable defense strategy in your case. The Johnston County attorneys at Reece & Reece, Attorneys at Law provide skillful representation for a broad scope of traffic matters and criminal offenses. Call (919) 300-1249 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help.

Categories: Traffic Infractions