Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2022

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Just What's Essential

  • Most states have a point system to keep track of traffic violations and driving infractions
  • States use their own laws to determine how many points you earn per infraction, how long they stay on your record, and when your license should be suspended
  • Insurance companies don’t use your point total to determine your rates, but they do look at your DMV driving history

Although we all wish we could avoid them, mistakes happen. From simple mistakes to ones that end in tragedy, all it takes is a few seconds of distraction to make a blunder while driving. It happens to nearly everyone, but even the most innocent of mistakes can have serious consequences.

Even minor driving errors like light speeding or a rolling stop can put points on your license. The DMV might suspend your license if you accumulate too many points.

There are multiple other reasons to avoid points on your license, too. For example, the addition of even a single point can make the price of your insurance skyrocket. Too many points on your record might require you to get high-risk car insurance, which typically costs more.

So, how many points can you get on your license before it’s suspended? Read more to learn about state laws regarding points. You can also find information if you have points on your record and you want to know about companies that will work with you.

What is the driver’s license point system?

Most states use a point system to keep track of your traffic violations. Your state’s DMV will add specified points to your license for each incident you’re involved in. Most minor violations are worth a few points, while serious incidents can be worth more than ten.

In states that use a point system, you can’t accumulate an infinite number of points. Each state has a specific limit to the number of points you can get on your license in a set period before losing it. The state also specifies the length of time points stay on your license.

Most states don’t assign points for parking tickets, so you don’t have to worry about losing your license or your insurance going up if you get a parking fine. However, you can lose your license if you refuse to pay parking tickets.

While most states limit points to events like speeding, reckless driving, and running red lights, some states are a little stricter. For example, New York will assign you points if you get caught without a seatbelt. More states are introducing points for cell phone use while driving.

Are you wondering, “How many points do I have on my license to start?” The good news is that you start with zero points. However, you should be extra careful as a newly licensed driver since most states have stricter point limitations for new drivers.

Getting too many points on your license leads to severe consequences. Consider the following reasons as motivation to avoid traffic incidents.

  • Suspension or revocation of your license
  • Harsher sentences in future traffic court appointments
  • A high-risk designation with insurance companies

Most states use a point system, but nine don’t. In those states, the number and severity of violations are used to calculate when a license should be suspended.

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How many points can you get on your license before it’s suspended?

Any state with a point system clearly defines how many points you can get before your license is suspended. You’ll need to check your state to learn how many points equals a license suspension.

For more information about your state, check the graph below.

StatePoints for minor violationPoints for major violationPoints for suspension
Alabama2 6At least 12 points in 2 years
Alaska21012 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months
Arizona288 points in 12 months
Arkansas2814 points total
California124 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months
Colorado41212 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months
Connecticut1510 points in 24 months
Delaware2614 points in 24 months
Florida3612 points in 12 months, 18 points in 18 months, or 24 points in 36 months
Georgia1615 points in 24 months
Idaho1412 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months
Illinois555Varies by violations
Indiana28Varies by violation
Iowa26Varies by violation
Kentucky3612 points in 24 months
Maine2812 points in 12 months
Maryland1128 points in 24 months
Massachusetts25Varies by violation
Michigan2612 points in 24 months
Missouri31212 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months
Montana215Varies by violation
Nebraska11212 points in 24 months
Nevada1812 points in 12 months
New Hampshire2612 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months
New Jersey2812 points on record
New Mexico287 points in 12 months
New York21111 points in 18 months
North Carolina1512 points in 26 months
North Dakota12412 points on record
Ohio2612 points in 24 months
Oklahoma1410 points in 60 months
Pennsylvania256 points on record two times consecutively
Rhode IslandN/AN/AN/A
South Carolina2612 points in 12 months
South Dakota21015 points in 12 months or 22 points in 24 months
Tennessee1812 points in 12 months
Texas236 points in 36 months
Utah35 80200 points in 36 months
Vermont2810 points in 24 months
Virginia3618 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months
West Virginia2812 point
Wisconsin2612 points in 12 months
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You should do everything you can to avoid gaining points on your license, but you won’t be punished forever for making mistakes. Points eventually fall off your license, though the speed they disappear at depends on the state.

StateTime to remove points
Alabama2 years
Alaska2 points every 12 months you go without conviction
Arizona1 year
Arkansas3 years
California3 years for minor violations and 10 years for major ones
ColoradoPoints don't expire
Connecticut2 years
DelawarePoints lose half value after 1 year
Florida5 years
Georgia2 years
Idaho3 years
Illinois4 to 5 years for minor violations and 7 years for major ones
Indiana2 years
Iowa5 years for minor violations and 12 years for a DUI
Kentucky2 years
Maine1 year
Maryland2 years
Massachusetts6 years
Michigan2 years
Missouri3 years
Montana3 years
Nebraska5 years
Nevada1 year
New Hampshire3 years
New Jersey3 points every year without violations
New Mexico1 year
New York18 months
North Carolina3 years
North Dakota1 point every 3 months without violation
Ohio2 years
Oklahoma2 points every 12 months without violation, all points after 3 years
Pennsylvania3 points every 12 months
Rhode IslandN/A
South CarolinaHalf value after 1 year, fully removed after 2 years
South DakotaDepends on violation
Tennessee2 years
Texas3 years
Utah3 years
Vermont2 years
Virginia2 years
West Virginia2 years
WisconsinDepends on violation
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You should keep in mind that the time points and infractions stay on your license are usually different. For example, it takes five years for points to expire in Florida, but a DUI will remain on your record for 75 years.

Can you remove points from your license?

Once again, the ability to remove points from your license depends on the state you live in. Some states make you wait, while others have point-reduction programs you can participate in.

If your state does offer a point-reduction program, you’ll probably need to find a state-approved defensive driving class. You’ll be responsible for the price of the course, and you won’t be able to take it repeatedly.

If you’re wondering, “How many points are on my license?” you can visit your state’s DMV page to get more information. From there, you can also learn more about your state’s point-reduction program.

How do points affect your insurance rates?

For the most part, insurance companies don’t use the number of points on your license to determine how much your insurance will cost. However, companies look at the same incidents that add points to your license.

That means that the speeding tickets, accidents, and other traffic violations that add points to your license increase the cost of your insurance rates at the same time.

Each insurance company will treat traffic violations differently, but you can get an idea of how much your rates will go up by looking at national averages.

ViolationPercentage increase on insurance rates
Speeding ticket23%
Driving with a suspended license62%
Hit and run82%
Running a red light23%
Reckless driving70%
Improper passing23%
Cell phone violation19%
At-fault accident42%
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To get affordable rates on your insurance, you must avoid getting points on your license. However, people with points on their license need insurance to drive, and there are plenty of high-risk insurance companies that will work with you to get you the coverage you need.

Find the Best Car Insurance for You

While you should always avoid adding points to your record, mistakes happen. However, if you’ve made a few mistakes and have points on your license, you can still find high-risk insurance to keep you driving.

So, how many points can you get on your license before your insurance rates go up? You can save money on your insurance by comparing prices with as many companies as possible.