Florida’s Point System and Your Driver’s License
Florida traffic enforcement is based on a point system that uses a graduating scale where certain violations result in accumulating points against a person’s driving record. When enough points are accumulated, a person’s license may be suspended.
Generally, Florida’s Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles can suspend a person’s license after they receive 12 or more points against their driving record. The number of points a person receives for a traffic violation differs depending on the regulation they violated. Although enrolling in a driving school can help you avoid points, it may be more advantageous to contest traffic tickets because of the point system.
Importantly, points remain on a person’s driving record for five years. A person’s driving privilege could be suddenly revoked if you lose track of the points on your license over time. If you accumulate 12 points on your driver’s license within a period of 12 months, your license may be suspended for 30 days. If you accumulate 18 points within 18 months, your license may be suspended for three months. And if you accumulate 24 points within 36 months, your license may be suspended for one year. Therefore, keeping track of your points is essential for avoiding license suspension due to multiple traffic violations.
Florida’s point system attaches points to the following offense:
- 2 points for using a cell phone within a school zone
- 3 points for speeding not in excess of 15 miles per hour of the speed limit
- 4 points for speeding in excess of 15 miles per hour
- 4 points for violating a traffic signal
- 4 points for willful and wanton reckless driving
- 4 points for passing a stopped school bus without causing serious injury
- 6 points for a hit-and-run resulting in more than $50 in property damage
- 6 points for speeding, resulting in a crash
- 6 points for driving while using a cell phone, resulting in a crash
- 6 points for passing a stopped school bus causing serious injury
Revocation for Habitual Offenders
A “habitual traffic offender” is someone with a driving record with several traffic violations or convictions incurred within a five-year period. Offenses that qualify someone as a habitual traffic offender include three or more convictions, such as vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and driving with a suspended or revoked license, among others. Additionally, people with fifteen convictions for traffic offenses may be categorized as habitual traffic offenders. This designation includes moving violations governed by the point system.
Someone who earns a habitual traffic offender designation will have their license revoked for a minimum of five years. During this time, the offender is ineligible for a regular driver’s license. However, offenders may apply for a license that will enable them to commute to work or their place of business. This is known as a “hardship license” and may be available to those who complete Advanced Driver Improvement school.
If someone’s license is taken away because they were caught driving with a suspended or revoked license for a third time, they can provide proof that they have complied with traffic regulations. When this happens, the court clerk can change the decision to remove the label of habitual traffic offender. This could be a way for individuals to fix their status under certain conditions.
The Impact of Repeated Traffic Offenses on Insurance
Repeated traffic offenses have consequences that extend beyond the legal realm. The financial consequences of accumulating points on your driving record extend beyond immediate premium increases. Higher rates can persist for an extended period, making it crucial to proactively manage your driving record to avoid prolonged financial strain on your record.
Insurance companies consider a person’s driving record when determining insurance premiums for auto insurance. The accumulation of points on a driving record can be used as a significant factor in assessing the perceived risk of a driver. As a result, drivers with more points are seen as a higher risk because they have a history of traffic violations. This increased risk is reflected in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Moreover, excessive points on your record might lead to insurance providers choosing not to renew your policy. In such cases, finding affordable coverage becomes even more challenging, as you may be forced to seek coverage from high-risk insurance providers.
Measures for Preventing Traffic Offenses
Periodically checking your driving record allows you to maintain good awareness about your point status. This awareness enables you to take timely action, such as a defensive driving course or contesting tickets in court, to mitigate potential insurance rate increases and avoid legal trouble.
Furthermore, adopting a responsible approach to complying with traffic laws can protect yourself against the financial and legal consequences of repeated traffic violations.
Stay Informed About Traffic Laws
Regularly update yourself on the latest traffic laws and regulations in your state. Laws can change, and being aware of these changes helps you stay compliant. Familiarize yourself with specific rules and regulations governing areas such as speed limits, respecting school zones, and abstaining from texting while driving.
Safe Driving Practices
Promote safe driving practices to minimize the risk of accidents and traffic violations. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, and sudden lane changes. Maintain a safe following distance, use turn signals appropriately, and adhere to posted speed limits. Consistent adherence to safe driving practices not only reduces the risk of points on your record but also contributes to overall road safety.
Fight Traffic Tickets
If you receive a traffic ticket that you believe is unjust or issued in error, consider contesting it. Understanding the specifics of the alleged violation and gathering evidence to support your case can help you avoid accumulating points against your driving record.
Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa
Incurring multiple traffic citations and offenses can lead to heavy consequences that can have a significant impact on one’s legal and financial interests. If you find yourself facing legal challenges related to traffic violations or are simply seeking legal counsel in contesting a traffic citation, you can benefit from consulting Patrick B. Courtney, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa who is familiar with Florida traffic laws. Call (813) 252-1529