You’re driving down the highway when you see flashing red and blue lights behind you. The cop comes up to talk to you and gives you a ticket. You see the fine and you see the “estimated points.” What do the points mean? How long do the demerit points stay on your record? Read on to learn about the driver’s license points system in Wisconsin.
Demerit Points Overview
In a nutshell, any conviction for a moving violation in Wisconsin will result in demerit points on your driving record. If you accumulate 12 or more demerit points within a 12-month window, then your license will be suspended. Here are a few common moving violations and their associated demerit points:
- Operating while intoxicated – 6 points;
- Speeding 20mph or over the limit – 6 points;
- Speeding 11-19mph over the limit – 4 points;
- Failure to yield right of way – 4 points;
- Inattentive driving – 4 points;
- Speeding 1-10mph over the limit – 3 points;
- Following too closely – 3 points;
- Defective speedometer – 2 points;
If you receive between 12 and 16 points in a 12-month period, then your license will be suspended for 2 months. 17-22 points will result in a 4-month suspension. 23-20 points will result in a 6 month suspension, and anything greater than 30 points will result in a 1-year suspension.
If you have a probationary license or an instructional permit, then the points are doubled for second and subsequent offenses. For example, if you are convicted of speeding 11-19mph over (4 points) and two weeks later are convicted of the same offense, the second offense will result in 8 demerit points and a 6-month suspension of your license.
How Do I Remove Points?
One way to remove three points from your record is to complete an approved traffic safety course. You will often receive a warning letter from the DMV indicating that you are close to exceeding the 12-point limit. If you receive this letter, it might be a good idea to explore taking a traffic safety course. However, you are only allowed to take the course once in a three-year period.
As stated above, the demerit points will automatically be removed 12 months after the conviction for that specific offense. Here’s an example:
- Speeding 11-19mph (4 points) – Conviction date 5/1/2019
- Speeding 11-19mph (4 points) – Conviction date 9/1/2019
- You now have 8 demerit points.
- Speeding 11-19mph (4 points) – Conviction Date 5/5/2020
- You still have 8 demerit points, because the 4 demerit points from the 5/1/2019 conviction were reinstated before your conviction for the 5/5/2020 conviction.
Should I Hire an Attorney for my Traffic Ticket?
Some people wonder why they should hire an attorney for a simple traffic ticket. Many times, attorneys are able to negotiate an alternative resolution to the charged offense. For example, a speeding ticket might be amended to an “improper parking” ticket. The fine usually remains the same, but there are no demerit points on your license.
The criminal defense attorneys at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. regularly practice in traffic courts throughout Wisconsin. Because of our reputation for taking cases to trial, we often receive very favorable offers from prosecutors. Contact one of our criminal defense attorneys today to see if we can help you out with your traffic ticket!