License “points” are points that accumulate on your driving record following each traffic offense. Different offenses have different point rankings, with more serious infringements earning more points. Unlike citations, which are physically presented to you, and which you know you must address within a certain amount of time, points have no tangible counterpart that go along with them, and therefore they can be difficult to keep track of.
In fact, points are so elusive that many drivers are not even aware that point systems exist. For the most part, point systems are set up for the sake of the DMV—they make it easier for officials to track offenses. However, the system definitely has a downside for you. If you accumulate too many points, you can be at risk of losing your license.
How Do Points Work?
Since having too many points could result in penalties such as losing your license, it is a good idea to know how the point system works and to keep track of how many points you have.
Points can be troublesome for drivers because you may never really know that you’re accumulating them. It is important to remember that every time you are issued a citation, you are also given a number of points. You may think that when you pay off a parking ticket, the matter is over and settled and out of mind forever. But in fact, once you’ve paid that ticket, you are also given points. Those points stick around. And they add up, whether or not you realize it.
In Colorado, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will earn you 12 points—that’s the highest amount possible—while speeding five to nine MPH over the limit will earn you one point. The Colorado DMV offers a more detailed list of the number of points associated with each offence.
As mentioned, accumulating a certain number of points can often lead to license suspension. However, the number of points required for this penalty varies based on age. Adults 21 years and older may have their license suspended if they accumulate 12 points in 12 consecutive months, or 18 points in 24 consecutive months. But minors under 18 need only to accumulate six points in 12 consecutive months, or seven points prior to turning 18 years old, in order to have their license revoked.
How Many Points Do You Have?
As you may imagine, it is hard to know how many points you have at any given time. The good news, though, is that you have every right to this information and it is relatively easy to access. All you have to do is order a driving report from your local DMV. The report will only cost around $2.00, and you will likely find that it is well worth it to know exactly what your standing is in the point system. Without this information, you may be at risk of losing your license and not even realize it until the day it happens.
Of course, if that does happen to you and your license is suddenly revoked, you have options. A knowledgeable traffic attorney may be able to make a case for you by requesting a “points hearing” before a judge, which could reverse the revocation or at least significantly diminish its length.
If you find yourself suddenly facing a license suspension based on points that you didn’t even know you had, don’t panic. Contact our law offices and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing atThe Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.