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How do DMV demerit points work?

Conviction on a traffic violation in Virginia can result in demerit points on your driving record. If you incur too many demerit points within a given timeframe, it may lead to suspension of your license. This means that you will have to give up your driving privileges, at least on a temporary basis. 

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the seriousness of a traffic violation determines its point value. The least severe violations incur three points, while the most serious are worth six points. Moderately severe violations carry a value of four points. 

Your driving record reflects both your demerit points and your convictions. The former remain on your record for two years. However, the seriousness of a conviction determines how long it remains on your record. A relatively minor violation may remain on your record for three to five years, while the most severe six-point violations can remain on your record permanently. If you incur a traffic conviction in a state other than Virginia, your driving record will reflect that too. 

You may have heard that incurring points can increase your insurance rates. Though technically true, these are different from the demerit points that the DMV assigns. Your insurance company has likely developed its own point system that operates independently. DMV points have no bearing on your insurance rates. 

Either the DMV or the court may order you to take a driver improvement course after a violation. Successful completion may add safe driving points to your record. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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