Making Sense of Florida’s “Point System”
If you are pulled over and receive a speeding ticket, you probably think your only option is to pay your ticket. If you do so, you will automatically be assessed points on your driving history. Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have a “point system” that determines the severity of the penalty for those who commit traffic offenses.
For example, speeding tickets result in three to six points, depending upon whether the party was going more or less than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit and whether a crash resulted. Reckless driving results in 4 points being assessed. An individual can be assessed 6 points for leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage.
Depending on how fast an individual’s points accumulate on their driving history, their drivers’ license may be suspended. 12 points assessed within 12 months will result in a 30-day drivers’ license suspension. 18 points assessed within 18 months results in a 3-month drivers’ license suspension. 24 points assessed within 36 months results in a 12-month drivers’ license suspension. The date of the offense shall be used in calculating the total number of points. The points shall stay on one’s driving record for a minimum of 10 years from the date of the disposition (conviction).
In order to avoid points being assessed, you may pursue two options: (1) the judge may remove points once your case is set for an infraction hearing or (2) you may be eligible to attend a driver improvement course. As a result, the violation would be added to the driving record as “adjudication withheld,” as opposed to a conviction or disposition, which results in points. You would still be responsible for paying the civil fine. However, you would likely save yourself a substantial amount of money because an “adjudication withheld” avoids an additional premium by your automobile insurance company. They are also prevented from refusing to renew your policy unless it has been your second non-criminal traffic infraction within 18 months, third infraction within 36 months, or if you were speeding over 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles web site allows you to check whether you are eligible to attend driver improvement school in lieu of points on your driving record.
In sum, because it is so difficult for points to be removed once they are on a person’s driving history, it is important that the driver understand how to avoid getting points assessed in the first place and avoid them if at all possible. One should contact an experienced traffic attorney for advice if at all unsure about the consequences of his or her traffic violation. Give us a call at experienced St. Petersburg traffic attorneys at Rooth Law Group for a free consultation today.