Understanding the Point System for Speeding Tickets in Florida
Did you know that 89 percent of American drivers admit to driving faster than the posted speed limit?
Speeding might not seem like a big deal, given that it’s such a common habit. But that’s almost certainly not how the police officer who pulls you over feels about it.
In addition to being charged a fine, drivers who receive speeding tickets might have points added to their license. But how do Florida speeding ticket points work? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Does the Points System Exist?
The points system in Florida is designed to help the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles identify drivers who have a pattern of unsafe driving habits.
The reasoning behind the system is that a driver who accumulates a high number of violations in a short period of time may present a risk to other drivers on the road. This can lead to higher fines, or even a suspension of your driver’s license.
How Do Drivers Get Points?
Points are assigned to a driver’s license when they receive a ticket. The number of points assigned is related to the severity of the offense.
Speeding is generally considered a three-point offense. That said, if the driver was driving at extremely high speeds or swerving in and out of lanes, they may also receive an additional three or four points for careless driving or reckless driving.
If a driver with a Florida license receives a ticket when driving in another state, they can still accrue points on their Florida license. Points will be assessed based on the severity of the equivalent offense in Florida.
What Happens When Drivers Get Points?
The consequences for getting points depend on two factors: the number of points a driver accumulates, and the amount of time it takes to accumulate those points.
For instance, a driver who accumulates 12 points within 12 months will have their license suspended for 30 days. 18 points in 18 months will lead to a three-month suspension and 24 points within 26 months will lead to a one will suspension.
Before having your license reinstated, you will need to take a driver improvement class. For certain offenses, a driver might be required to take a driver improvement class before the suspension. Offenses in this category include reckless driving and running a red light.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that there are consequences for accruing points apart from those levied by the state.
For instance, if your car insurance provider learns that you have received points on your license, your car insurance could go up. This is because your insurance rates are determined, in part, by how safe of a driver your insurance determines you to be.
If you accrue points on your license, your insurance company may determine that you are at a higher risk of having an accident.
Also, car insurance companies don’t typically use the same points system as the state does. So, even if the state only assigns three points for a speeding ticket, your insurance company may choose to treat the offense more severely.
What About for Young Drivers?
Younger drivers are held to a different standard when it comes to the points system.
If a driver between the ages of 15 and 17 accrues six points on their license, they may be restricted to using their driving privileges for business purposes only. Basically, this means they can only use their vehicle to drive to and from work. This restriction stays in place until they turn 18.
There are also a few indirect impacts that accruing driver’s license points can have. For instance, if you rack up a couple of tickets that you fail to pay on time, this can negatively impact your credit score.
Also, having your driving privileges suspended can negatively impact a driver’s employment. If you do not have reliable transportation to work, an employer may choose to terminate your employment. They are not required to consider your circumstances.
Also, if you drive for a living, accruing points can prevent you from doing your job. This applies to those with commercial drivers licenses, as well as delivery drivers and cab drivers. Employers that require a clean driving history may neglect to rehire you when your driving privileges are reinstated.
How Long Do Points Stay on Your License?
In Florida, points stay on your license for three years. Keep in mind that this timeline is determined based on the day that the driver paid the ticket, not when the ticket was issued. Paying your ticket late can cause points to stay on your license longer.
How Can I Avoid Getting Points?
Unfortunately, once points are added to your license, there is no way to have them removed before the three-year deadline. This is why it is important to avoid having points added to your license in the first place.
Attending Traffic School
Once a year, a driver can elect to attend traffic school when they receive a ticket. They must pay to attend school, and can usually do so online.
While they will still have to pay the ticket, they will not receive points. This option is only available five times in an individual’s life.
Fighting the Ticket
Drivers also have the option of fighting the ticket in court. Points only accumulate if the driver is found guilty of the offense.
The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove the driver’s guilt. If a police officer does not show up, or does not have adequate evidence, this can work in a driver’s favor. Working with an attorney can help drivers defend themselves in this instance.
Getting Help With Florida Speeding Ticket Points
If you’re worried about Florida speeding ticket points on your license, we’re here to help.
Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your ticket. We’ll work to help you get the representation you need.