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Fairfax Criminal Defense Blog


Posted by John A. Kassabian | Jul 26, 2022

Rapid accumulation of demerit points on your Virginia driver's license can cause you to lose your driving privileges temporarily. And points for routine traffic infractions can also add up until you're forced to attend a driver improvement clinic.

Any number of transgressions can lead to demerit points, including Manslaughter, DWI, Hit and Run, Eluding, Reckless Driving, Speeding, and even Passing When Unsafe To Do So, Following Too Closely, Improper Signals, No Valid Operator's License, Learner's Permit Violation, Commercial Motor Vehicle Violations, and many other traffic infractions.

If you feel you have been unfairly ticketed, or if you have questions about removing violations from your Virginia driving record, get in touch with John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., in Fairfax, VA. He has had a great deal of success helping clients with these matters.


The Virginia DMV point system is built on a hierarchy of violation severity. Six-point violations are generally associated with reckless driving, felony or misdemeanor. Examples of reckless driving include speeding at more than 85 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit, speeding at 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit, driving a vehicle that is not under proper control or with faulty brakes, passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve, driving with the driver's view obstructed or control impaired, passing two vehicles abreast, passing at a railroad grade crossing, passing a stopped school bus, failing to give proper signals, driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions, failure to yield the right-of-way, reckless driving on a parking lot, racing, reckless driving generally, and more.

These points stay on your driver's license record for 11 years. The exception for six-point violations is speeding at 20 mph or more above the speed limit (but less than 85 mph). That infraction results in six points on your license for five years.

Four-point violations include lesser speeding violations (10-19 mph above the speed limit), unsafe passing, failures in stopping and yielding, improper railroad crossing activity, following too closely, and many other violations. The number of years the points remain on your license can range from three to 11 years.

Three-point violations are considered milder, such as speeding up to nine miles per hour over the speed limit or impeding traffic because of slow speed, as well as improper passing and driving, including driving on the sidewalk and abruptly changing direction after signaling another movement. Other three-point violations include improper U-turns, failure to dim headlights, driving without a license, and more. Most three-point violations stay on your record for three years, but a few, such as speeding violations and texting while driving, stay for five.

These DMV demerit points in Virginia can add up quickly for some drivers. If you receive 12 demerit points over the course of a single year or 18 demerit points over two years, you must complete a driver improvement course. Not attending the clinic means a license suspension.

More Virginia DMV demerit points mean more negative consequences. Eighteen in one year or 24 in two years results in an automatic 90-day license suspension. Again, you must complete a driver improvement course—but only after the 90 days' suspension has passed. You will not get your license back until you attend the clinic.


Being a safe driver can balance out points assigned for violations such as speeding or reckless driving. For each year of a clean record (receiving zero points for traffic infractions), you receive one safe driving point. You can accumulate up to five safe driving points, which counteract demerit points, over time. You can do a DMV points check to find out how many safe driving versus demerit points are on your record.

Taking the Virginia DMV's driver improvement course adds five safe driving points to your VA record. You can only complete this course once every two years for the five positive points.       


If you're concerned about the number of points on your driver's license record, or about having been ticketed with a high-point violation, contact Kassabian & Kassabian for a free consultation. John can help you figure out the best way to proceed.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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