After years of having a clean driving record, you might have received several traffic tickets over a short period. Depending on the space between your citations, you will likely fear whether your next one will cause you to lose your driver’s license. In Florida, each traffic offense you commit adds points to your license. The number you accrue – and the rate they accrue at – will determine whether you will retain your license or have it suspended.

Understanding Florida’s point system

In Florida, the number of points added to your license after a traffic ticket depends on the violation you committed. Most minor traffic offenses, like speeding or failing to yield, will add three points to your license if you receive a citation. More serious traffic offenses, like failing to stop for a school bus, will add four points to your license. And severe traffic offenses, like fleeing the scene of a crash, will add six points to your license.

Receiving citations for one or two offenses is unlikely to cost you your license. Yet, you will have it suspended for 30 days if you accrue 12 points within a 12-month period. Your suspension will increase to three months if you accrue 18 points within an 18-month period. And you will face a one-year license suspension if you accrue 24 points within a 36-month period.

Protecting your driving privileges

If you accrue enough points on your license to have it suspended, you can apply for a hardship license. Before you can do so, you must complete court-ordered traffic school and pay a reinstatement fee. Keep in mind that your hardship license may only allow you to drive for purposes of employment or business. Business purposes, in this case, refers to trips you must take to and from school, church or appointments.

If your license is facing – or at risk of – suspension, you will want to protect your driving privileges by all possible means. An attorney can help you evaluate your potential penalties and understand your options for mitigating them.