How to Gets Points Off Your Driver’s License

Flat man driver license plastic card template, id card vector illustration
There are many consequences to having points accumulate on your driver’s license, so you might be wondering: how to get them off ?

A point or demerit system is used by some states and insurance companies to keep track of any tickets or driving violations that you might pick up. In the following, we’ll explain this scoring system, and what you can do to successfully remove or reduce points on your license. Specifically touched on are….

How Does This System Work?
How To Get Points Off Your License?

Let’s get started….

How Does This System Work?

Both insurance companies and some state departments of motor vehicles rely on this system to keep track of and penalize drivers who violate the law. The DMV and insurance companies typically track these demerits separately as they have different agendas in mind.

The DMV is concerned with driver safety whereas insurance companies are more concerned with risk. Insurers tend to ignore the DMV system because they are keeping their own tally based on their actuarial requirements.

Not all states use a demerit system; there are currently nine states that do not [1]. These are:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Don’t get the wrong impression, though. Just because you live in Kansas or Oregon does not mean that states and insurance companies don’t monitor you. In these states, if you have a string of violations within a short period of time then you can expect your license to be suspended — and your insurance rates to go up as well.

Points are scored differently depending on which state you live in. Demerits are assigned for a wide variety of offenses — reckless driving, speeding, illegal turns, drunk driving and at-fault accidents are all examples.

To cite one specific example, in California, if you get 4 points in 12 months then you will face a license suspension. Additionally, the length of time marks stay on a record depends on the severity of the offense. Most Demerits will stay on your record for 39 months (3 years, 3 months), however, points for more serious violations — such as hit-and-run or a DUI — will be there for 13 years [2].

How To Get Points Off Your License?

Now that you understand what the system is and how it works, we’ll look at how you can get rid of these demerits.

There are a few different approaches:

    1. Appeal or fight your citation: the first step you’ll want to make (if you have a case) is to challenge the ticket you received. If you show up to a traffic violation hearing, you may be able to argue your offense down. If you have some evidence to support your position the court may take it easy on you, or perhaps the police officer simply made a mistake. If you’re a first-time offender you are likely to be viewed kindly.
    2. Sign up for driver safety or defensive driving courses. In some cases, this alone is enough to get a few points knocked off your record. Insurance companies and the state view it as a statement of good faith to improve your driving, and they reward you accordingly. The courses must be state-approved however, so don’t expect all to qualify. Sometimes these courses are mandatory (if you’ve had too many violations) and they generally cannot fix points received from serious offenses.
    3. Maintain a clean driving record. The other primary way of getting your number reduced is to maintain a spotless driving record for an extended period. If you can manage to stay out of trouble for five years, you will likely wash away most (if not all) prior points on your driving record.
    4. Contact your state department of motor vehicles. Sometimes it’s best to simply ask the authority what can be done to get rid of your demerits. A quick phone call to the DMV should eliminate any guesswork on your part and clearly lay out the parameters you’re working with. Be sure to ask for a list of approved driver training schools. How long points remain on your record? How many you can get off for taking a course and any other options you have?


At the end of the day, understanding the system and how to get points taken off is pretty simple. The confusion lies in the fact that each state has different laws through which they interpret traffic violations, timeframes, and consequences. The best thing to do is call the DMV to clarify and keep the following in mind.

  • The points system is a scoring metric used by states and insurance companies and keep track of and penalize drivers who continually break the laws.
  • The consequences can range from very minor (no effect, slight increase in premiums) to drastic (suspension of license and being dropped from insurance).
  • There are three primary ways to get them taken off: challenge the violation itself, take an approved driver’s education course, or maintain a clean record for a given period. For any other options get in touch with the DMV to be sure.


1 – Wikipedia 
2 – California DMV

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