Nearly 40,000 people in the United States die in car accidents each year. Most car accidents, however, involve only vehicle damage (or no damage at all).
If you’re at-fault in an accident or break traffic laws while you’re behind the wheel, you’ll likely receive points on your license as a form of punishment. And, it’s important to be aware of how they affect you.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about
What Are License Points?
When you commit a traffic violation, you’ll often receive a punishment in the form of ‘points’ that range in severity depending on your infringement.
So, speeding will get often result in you receiving fewer points than running a red light or blowing a stop sign in a residential area. The logic behind allocating points to drivers is to keep track of their traffic violations so that the state can determine if they’re suitable to be on the road.
So, What Happens If I Get Them?
There are a handful of consequences you’ll experience if you receive points on your licenses (even it’s only a few).
Let’s take a look.
Put simply, getting too many points during a certain time period will result in your license being suspended.
In the state of Florida, you’ll receive a license suspension under the following circumstances:
- Receiving 12 points in a 12-month period
- Receiving 18 points in an 18-month period
- Receiving 24 points within a 36-month period
The suspensions range from 30 days to one year depending on how many points you’ve acquired.
You May Apply For a Hardship License
If your license has been suspended, you can apply to receive a hardship license that allows you to drive to locations related to work, school, or business. This way, you can avoid any major setbacks for the duration of your suspension.
If you do choose to go this route, you’ll need to pay a reinstatement fee, complete a driver improvement course, and have your application approved by the state’s Administrative Reviews Office.
Your Insurance Rates Will Increase
Auto insurance companies reward drivers who have proven they can drive safely and stay out of accidents. Similarly, they also tend to punish drivers who have a history of traffic violations or are at-fault in a collision.
Drivers receive points because of their poor actions on the road, which shows their insurance company they’re more likely to get into an accident. So, a driver will experience higher rates when they’re seen as a liability.
Some violations will raise your insurance rate more than others. A few of them are:
- Getting a DUI
- Reckless driving
- An at-fault accident that resulted in bodily injury
As time goes on (without any further infringements), your insurance rates will likely lower. But, the rate at which they do depends on your insurance provider.
You Can Take Action
If you do receive points in the state of Florida, not all hope is lost.
Many policies incorporate something called ‘accident forgiveness’ that results in your insurance provider overlooking your first accident. For many people, this can prove to be a benefit that significantly boosts their quality of life.
Even without this policy, though, you still have options.
You can take a defensive driving course in order to prove that you can exhibit safer driving habits in the future. In addition to this, you can also choose to raise your deductible in order to keep your monthly rate lower.
While you may not be able to get your rates down to where they were, you’ll likely make a significant dent in them after you receive points.
They Last For 36 Months
As previously mentioned, receiving 24-points within a 36-month period will result in having your license suspended. But, your points last for 36 months from the date of your conviction and not the conviction of your first violation.
For example, let’s assume that you received 10 points in 2019. In 2020, you received 7 points. In 2022 (assuming you received no other points afterward), you would still have 7 points on your license because only the original 10 expired.
So, keep this in mind if you already have points, as the amounts can overlap based on the dates of your convictions.
You Can Go to Court
If you feel that a law enforcement officer gave you a ticket that didn’t reflect the events that happened, you have the option to take the case to court in order to defend yourself.
It’s important to understand, though, that disputing an officer’s decision will always put you at a disadvantage in the courtroom. So, you’ll want to come prepared with as much supporting evidence as you can.
This means you should gather information like photographs of the scene, eyewitness testimonies, and surveillance footage from surrounding businesses in order to bolster your case.
You should also enlist the help of an attorney with experience in fighting tickets. Someone who’s been in the industry for 5-10+ years with a history of success in the courtroom will give you the best chance of defending yourself in front of the judge.
Dealing With License Points Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about handling license points in mind, you’ll be well on your way to taking care of your obligations as quickly as possible.
This page has everything you need to know about traffic laws and how to follow them.