What are points on my driver’s license?
In Georgia, all drivers have a permanent driving history – and every time you get convicted of a traffic offense that comes with points (not all traffic tickets come with points – but a good chunk of them do) those points get put on your driving history. This driving history is also called a motor vehicle report (MVR).
How can I find out how many points I have?
The Georgia Department of Driver Services keeps track of your driving history and you’ll need to create a login on their website (www.dds.ga.gov) in order to find out how many points you have. You’ll have to pay money in order to get your driving history – also called an MVR or motor vehicle report. But if you’ve had one or more traffic tickets in the past 2 years, it’s a good idea to pay the money and get the report – especially if you just got another ticket that’s still pending in the court system.
Can a lawyer help me with these points?
If you have a traffic ticket that is still pending, then yes, a lawyer could totally help you with getting your points reduced. This isn’t a guarantee as there are a lot of factors that go into whether or not a lawyer can advocate effectively for you to get less points at the conclusion of your case.
Some of those factors are:
- Your driving history – how many points do you have and how long ago was your last traffic ticket?
- The type of ticket – more serious offenses are harder to get points reduced than less serious violations of Georgia traffic laws.
- Are you willing to do community service? Sometimes, doing community service helps with negotiations for lower points.
- Did you take the defensive driving course? If you take a defensive driving course, it could help lower your points assessed.
Here at Your Law Firm, we go over all these factors with you to determine the best strategy for advocating your case to the prosecutor to help you get less points. We will also advise you of items to do before your court date that may help in this process. However, ultimately, the decision for the number of points assessed lies with the prosecutor for negotiations, and with the judge for trial.
How do points affect my driver’s license?
If you’re 21 years or older, you have to rack up a lot of points in order to get the final effect of points on your driver’s license – which is having your license suspended. If you have a total of 15 or more points on your driving history within a 24-month period, then your license will be suspended and you’ll have to jump through some hoops to get it back. Those hoops include taking a defensive driving course and paying a $210 reinstatement fee (or more, if it’s not your first time getting a points suspension).
If you’re under the age of 21, then the number of points you get at a time are way more of concern for you. For you, if you get just one offense that is 4 or more points, then your license is suspended. Otherwise, it’s the same as drivers 21 years old and older – if you rack up 15 or more points in a 24-month period, your license will be suspended.
And of course, if you’re under the age of 18, it’s even worse – all you have to get is a total of 4 points in a 12-month period and your license will be suspended.
Can’t I just plead no contest or nolo contendere and avoid the points?
Once again, it’s an age thing: if you’re 21 or older, you can plead no contest (or nolo contendere) once every five years and, voila! Usually, no points (there are some specific exceptions).
But, if you’re under 21 years old, your no contest plea will be ignored for the purposes of points, and you’ll get those points added to you driving history – along with the consequences of points.
What about points on my car insurance?
This area is a little more of a mystery, since points on your driving history aren’t the same as points on your car insurance. Each car insurance company has its own internal point system that may or may match up with the points found on your Georgia driving history. However, after having talked with several insurance agents on behalf of our clients, we have found that generally, if it’s a high point offense on your driving history, your insurance will go up by a lot – versus if it’s a lower point offense, your insurance will probably go up, but not as much. You can always call your insurance agent and ask them how they look at past convictions for traffic tickets and how it will affect your insurance premiums.
Are there any traffic violations that don’t carry points?
Yes! There are not many that don’t have points – but there are a few.
One would be if you’re convicted of speeding 14 mph or less over the posted speed limit. Points for speeding don’t start attaching until you go 15 mph or more over.
Another is if you get the generic “too fast for conditions” (also known as “basic rules violation”) as your conviction.
A lot of what we advocate for at Your Law Firm is to get first time traffic violators to have their charges reduced to one of these two “no-points” offenses. It doesn’t always happen, but we try our best to negotiate well on our client’s behalf to have this happen, if at all possible. Once again, it’s always up to the prosecutor for negotiations – and ultimately up to the judge at trial, if there’s a trial.
What kind of traffic tickets mean points go on my license?
In Georgia, most moving violations – meaning the car is moving when you did the act that broke the law – will get you points on your license.
Some of the more common items we’ve seen are:
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit – the more miles per hour over you go, the more points you get, anywhere from 2 points up to 6 points.
- Making an improper U-turn – gets you 3 points.
- Failure to yield when you make a left turn – another 3 pointer.
- Unlawfully passing a school bus – this one is big and you get slapped with a whopping 6 points for this violation.
Now, here’s some that you don’t hear about often, but definitely will hit you up with points, if you are convicted of the traffic offense:
- Speeding less than the minimum posted speed limit – it’s hard to imagine, but it does happen, and gets you 3 points if convicted.
- Allowing a passenger to ride inside your house trailer – a 3 point offense.
- Clinging to a vehicle while you’re on a motorcycle – another 3 point offense.
It’s important to know what the consequences of a pending traffic ticket are. Do your research or, better yet, call a lawyer who can quickly and accurately let you know what points and other consequences you could be facing if convicted of your ticket. They can let you know, too, what they could do to help potentially get those points reduced.
I already have points on my license – can I get those reduced?
If you’ve already been convicted or pled guilty to traffic tickets in the past two years, then you could be in danger of getting too many points and having your license suspended (remember – it’s an automatic suspension for having 15 total points within the past 24 months).
But there’s hope! Georgia law allows you to get up to 7 points reduced from your driving history once every five years. You have to take a DDS (department of driver services – Georgia’s version of the DMV) certified Defensive Driving Course and submit your request for a points reduction to the DDS and it will take off as many as 7 points.
Thing to note: if you’ve already hit the 15 point mark in 24 months, you cannot then apply to have this reduction. You have to do it before you get to 15 total points – otherwise, it will be in vain and your license suspension will still go through.
How can I check and see if my license is suspended?
If you’re ever curious to see if your Georgia driver’s license is suspended, whether by having too many points or some other reason, you can always enter in your driver’s license number on the DDS website license status checker, found here: https://dds.drives.ga.gov/_/ and find out.
Or, you can call the DDS license check hotline, 24/7: (404) 657-9300
However, this will only tell you what status the license is in – it won’t tell you the why behind it. For that, you’ll need to either call DDS (https://dds.georgia.gov/organization/about-us/contact-us) or order your MVR / driving history to see what it is that is actually suspending your license. And if you find out it is suspended and want help getting it back, give us a call at Your Law Firm – we are here to serve.