Like many states, Virginia uses a point system to rate drivers and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is the agency in charge of assessing, awarding and monitoring the point balances. Motorists can earn safe driving points for good driving and the DMV will assess demerit points for moving violations. Every day I see people come to court in Virginia, without a Virginia lawyer, plead guilty to an offense and then ask the judge not to assess points for the offense. They are then disappointed to learn that the Virginia courts are not involved in the assessment of points - in Virginia it is an administrative consequence which happens at the DMV and flows from the fact of the conviction.
In a nutshell, in Virginia, a motorist starts off with a 0 point balance. For every calendar year that a motorist holds a valid Virginia license and does not incur any moving violations or suspensions, the Virginia DMV will award one safe driving point. After that first year, the motorists point balance would be reflected as +1 on the Virginia driving record. Motorists can continue to earn safe driving points in this fashion until the point balance reaches +5 - and then they have hit the safe driving point glass ceiling. A +5 point balance is as good as you can have in Virginia.
Your Safe Driving Point Balance Matters
The Virginia DMV also assesses demerit points for moving violations, and although you can only earn a single safe driving point for an entire year of good driving, demerit points are assessed in bulk. In Virginia, moving violations are classified as either three point violations, four point violations or six point violations and whenever the DMV is notified of a conviction for a moving violation, the appropriate number of demerit points will be assessed.
For example, assume a motorist received a Virginia license and drove for three calendar years without any violations or suspensions. The motorist's point balance would be +3 on the Virginia driving record. However, assume the motorist was then convicted of a Speeding offense which carries four demerit points in Virginia. The motorist's point balance would then fall to -1 on the Virginia driving record. If the motorist were then convicted of a Reckless Driving offense which carries six demerit points in Virginia, the point balance reflected on the Virginia driving record would fall to -7.
For information about how long convictions and points will be reflected on a Virginia driving record, click here.
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