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How many points can I accrue before I lose my license?

New York's Driver Violation Point System is confusing to many drivers. Many people do not realize how close they are to losing their driver's license until someone alerts them to how many points are on their record.

The big number to know is 11. A driver who gets 11 points against their record within an 18-month period faces the very real possibility of having their license suspended.

Points are accrued after conviction on traffic violations. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles website has a long list of traffic violations, with their associated point penalties. Most cost no more than 2 or 3 points, but these can add up.

Speeding violations can add up quickly, depending on how fast the driver was going. A driver who is found guilty of speeding gets 3 points if they were 1-10 mph above the speed limit, 4 points if they were 11-20 mph above the speed limit, and 6 points if they were 21-60 mph above the speed limit. The numbers only go up from there. A person convicted of speeding who was traveling over 40 mph above the speed limit gets 11 points.

However, most drivers who reach the 11 point limit do so only after multiple violations within an 18-month period. This can be easier to do than many people realize. For instance, improper use of a smart phone while driving carries a 5-point penalty. A driver who gets 5 points for a cellphone violation, 4 points for a speeding ticket and 3 points for improper passing within an 18-month period has accrued 12 points.

Remember that the points only accrue once a driver is convicted on the traffic charge. This is one reason it can be incredibly important to fight every charge.

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