As a driver in North Carolina, it is important to know and understand the many driver's license and insurance points that can affect a person’s license. In North Carolina, a traffic ticket is not just some inconvenience, but in fact, a criminal charge that carries extensive penalties.
Generally, if a person accumulates as many as 12 points within a three-year period, that person’s license may be suspended. If a person has been suspended prior, it only takes an accumulation of 8 points within three years for a second suspension. The amount of time a person’s license is suspended is determined by how many previous suspensions has occurred. Upon first suspension, your driver’s license can be suspended for 60 days. For second and third suspensions, your driver’s license can be suspended up to 12 months.
Also, it is important to note that insurance points differ from driver's license points. Insurance companies use a different point system to determine insurance rates. Typically, the higher your insurance points are, the higher your insurance fees will be per month.
How Long Will the Points Stay on My License?
Generally, points on the insurance and driver’s licenses will remain for three years from the date of the conviction or even longer. However, if you gain even more points, those points will be added to the total.
Automatic Suspension/Revoked License:
Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) can suspend a person’s license for: (1) two convictions of speeding over 55 mph within a period of 12 months; (2) one conviction of speeding over 55 mph and one conviction of reckless driving within a year; (3) a conviction of willful racing with another motor vehicle, whether it is prearranged or unplanned; (4) conviction of speeding in excess of 15 mph over the speed limit, and the ticketed speed is over 55 mph; (5) convicted of speeding in excess of 75 mph, and the speed limit is less than 70 mph; (6) convicted of speeding in excess of 80 mph, and the speed limit is 70 mph; and many other instances.
Reckless and Aggressive Driving (N.C.G.S. §§ 20-141.6 & 20-140):
Under North Carolina law, a conviction for aggressive driving is 5 driver's license points. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-141.6, aggressive driving is any person who operates a motor vehicle on a street, highway, or public vehicular area where (1) the person is in violation of speed restrictions that include speed limits inside and outside corporate areas and school zones, and (2) commit two or more of the following:
- Running through a red light or stop sign;
- Illegal passing violation;
- Failing to yield to the right of way; and
- Following too closely.
A person convicted of this statute is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, a conviction for reckless driving (which is a lesser included offense of aggressive driving) is 4 driver's license points. Commonly, reckless driving is the most charged of motor vehicle offenses. There are three types of reckless driving defined under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-140. Any person who drives any vehicle on a highway or any public vehicular area:
- Carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others shall be guilty of reckless driving; or
- Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property; or
- The third way applies to commercial motor vehicles only.
A person convicted of this statute is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina.