Most states (but not all of them) operate a points system to track dangerous, careless or just plain bad drivers. We’re going to explain the points system in Michigan, and how to track the points against your driving record, and most states have a similar system.
Accumulating points on your driving record is the road to ruin and it can cost your some serious scratch. Your insurance premiums will go up, and after a specific number of points, your license can be suspended or revoked. If that happens, and you should do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t, getting your license reinstated means paying hundreds of dollars in fines and fees and handing over lots of money to your insurance company.
How many points certain driving offenses tally depends largely on the perceived severity of the offense. We’ll also help you figure out how to get a copy of your driving record, who to contact if there’s an error on your record, and give you some tips to maintain a clean driving history.
The Michigan Point System
If you get three points on your driver license, you are officially a quarter of the way spending a little time in what’s called a “driver assessment reexamination test.” You’ll also see, and there’s no getting around this, your insurance rates take a scary climb.
Nearly all moving violations in Michigan are scored on a points system. The worse the infraction, the more points you pick up on your license. When you’re convicted of a traffic violation, you’ll be responsible for paying fines and most of the time, some court fees. Depending on the infraction, you’re going to get from two to six points added to your driving record. And they don’t come off nearly as easy as they went on. Once you take the hit with points on your license, at least here in Michigan, it’s going to take two years from the date of your conviction before they mercifully disappear into the past.
So is there any way to get rid of points on your license once you have them? Possibly.In some cases, you can get a one-time at having points deleted from your record, but you’ll have to complete a state-approved Basic Driver Improvement Course, or BDIC. But save yourself some money and time and money before you sign up by confirming whether or not you’re eligible with your DMW of the Secretary of State office.
How Many Points Are Assigned to Various Traffic Convictions
Without going into the entire Michigan Vehicle Code, here’s just a sample of the points associated with some common traffic offenses.
Six point offenses:
- Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or other felony involving use of a motor vehicle.
- Operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.
- Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of a crash.
- Reckless driving.
- Unlawful blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.
- Refusal to take a chemical test.
- Fleeing or eluding a police officer.
Four point offenses:
- Street racing
- Operating while visibly impaired.
- Under age 21 with any measurable blood alcohol content.
- 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.
- Failure to yield or show due caution for emergency vehicles.
Three point driving offenses:
- Careless driving.
- Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing.
- 11-15 mph over the legal speed limit.
- Failure to stop at railroad crossing.
- Failure to stop for a school bus, or disobeying a school crossing guard.
Two point driving offenses:
- 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.
- Open alcohol container in vehicle.
- Nearly all other moving violations of traffic laws.
- Refusing to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) if your’re under age 21.
Crazy As It Sounds…
You don’t have to even be on the road to pick up points on your license. While you can surely pick up points for violations driving your cage or motorcycle, you can, crazy as it may sound, get them added to your license while operating your snowmobile or atv. Tickets you may get operating an off-road recreational vehicle (and most of the time these are alcohol-related offenses) will be pasted on to your driving record.
How to Check Your Driving Record For Points
Want to check the status of your driver’s license? Well, my friend, you can order a driving record report which will reveal whether or not your driver’s license is currently valid, and the report also spells out any points you may have against your license and often notes any accidents you’ve been involved in over the years.
The Horror of Reexamination
When you find yourself in this jam, you’re in for some agony. “Reexamination,” while it just sounds like a test, is really more like being grilled in court of being audited by the IRS. You can’t really prepare for it and the results are sure to be less than satisfying for you.
So how do you get yourself in a spot like this? Oh, the many reasons. They include:
- Any tickets issued while on you’re on probation.
- The Secretary of State deems you incapable of driving safely due to “mental or physical condition.”
- Involvement in a crash where a fatality occurs.
- Involvement in three or more traffic accidents within a two-year period where you were deemed to be at fault.
- Accumulation of 12 or more points in a two-year span.
- Violating the restrictions, terms, or conditions of your license.
The good news is that you don’t get called on the carpet for a reexamination unless you did something to warrant it, and if you do, I’ll probably be happy you did as I won’t have to share the roads with you for awhile. If the worst happens and you’re scheduled for a driver assessment reexamination, you get a notice in the mail which tells you when and where to appear for your dressing down. Your reexamination will include vision and knowledge tests, an on-road performance test, and you might be required to hand over a medical or vision record for the authorities to pore over.
On the plus side, you do have a chance to speak directly with an examiner and give your take on what happened to land you in your predicament.
When it’s all said and done, you might just walk off with no changes to your driving status. But on the downside, you could also have your license suspended, restricted, or revoked outright. Your license can be suspended for a day – or for many months. A revocation is a much for serious matter and if it happens you’re going to wait anywhere from one to five years before you can even reapply for a new license. If your license is “restricted,” you done got lucky as that’s pretty much the least severe outcome you can face. You might only be limited to driving in certain areas or during certain hours of the day, and you should consider yourself lucky to get off this easy.
If your license is restricted, suspended, or revoked, you can appeal, and John Law will hand you some information on the ways you can get your license reinstated, but don’t be too thrilled, it rarely happens without some serious machinations on your part – and some financial pain.
So You’re On Probation
This is most likely to happen to newly-minted drivers and the young. Here in Michigan, the first time you get your license expect to be on probation for a minimum of three years. You clear the probationary period if you’ve gone without an accident or a ticket during the final ten months of the probationary period.
Don’t be a tool, if you have a history of unsafe driving during your probationary period, you’re heading straight to a driver assessment reexamination, and trust us, they’ll go much tougher on you if this is your first crack at driving. If you get tickets during your probation, you’re in for a world of hurt, my friend, so keep your record clean until you’ve cleared the probation stage.