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Checks and Balances: Keeping a Clean Driving Record in Virginia

Darwyn L. Easley
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Attorney and Counsellor at Law

When you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, there are several types of penalties with which you may have to contend. Tickets and fines are the least of your worries. The penalty that will continue to haunt you for years to come are demerit points on your license. Depending on the seriousness of the driving offense, you could receive anywhere from three to six points which stay on your license for two years from the date of the offense.

Keeping Your Record Clean

Once points are assigned to you, there is nothing you can do but wait out the two years without committing further traffic offenses. However, to offset any violations you may commit down the road, you can accumulate safe points in two ways:

  • Drive safely. For every year with a clean driving record, you earn one safe driving point. You may accumulate up to five safe points on your license. However, if you are convicted of a violation in a given year, not only do you not earn the safe point for that year, you will receive demerit points. For example, if you drive for three years with no violations, you will have three safe points on your license. If, in year four, you are ticketed for going 20 mph over the speed limit, you will be assigned six points and not earn a safe point for that year. The result will be three points on your license.
  • Take a safety improvement course. Voluntarily completing a driving safety course will give you five safe points which can be used as a cushion against future violations. If you are ordered by the court to complete a safety course, however, it is up to the judge whether completion of the course will remove demerit points or not. You may complete a voluntary safety course for points once every 24 months.

No matter how you earn your safe driving points, you may not carry more than five on your license at any given time. Given that many common traffic violations result in six demerit points, the best course of action is to drive safely and obey all traffic laws at all times.

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