How Points Accumulate for DC Driver’s Licenses

How Points are Assessed

There is a point schedule in the municipal regulations. 18 DCMR 303 is the section, and it spells out a list of points for almost all moving violations, but there are a lot of offenses that aren’t included on that list. That can be confusing. In the municipal regulations, there are some provisions that give the mayor some say in those matters, but, mostly, it’s up to the City Council, and different offenses correlate to a different amount of points. Once you figure out what you’re dealing with, if you contest your ticket at a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will decide how many points are assessed to your record. The maximum exposure is set out in the municipal regulations, but there are ways to mitigate the damage on your driving record. By driving safely and not receiving traffic citations, you can earn what are known as “good points,” and good points can offset the bad ones. A good point will stay on your driving record for five years from the day that it’s credited to your record, and you can have up to five good points at any given time. If you then roll through a stop sign, that’s a two-point offense, but if you have five good points on your record, then those two points are deducted and you’ll still have three good points on your record. There are always different approaches to how you can defend a ticket, if you contest it. For example, if two people are involved in an accident and both of them received notice of infraction, if you present documentary evidence about who had the right-of-way, or which one was speeding if speed was a factor – things that might not have been available to the police on the scene – the administrative law judge will definitely take into consideration.

Lowering the Amount of Points

The best thing you can do to lower the points is to head it off before they are assessed. If you get a ticket, don’t assume that you’re going to receive the points for it. You can challenge the ticket, and you make a request to the Administrative Law Judge to do an online traffic school program. If you have not been approved for traffic school in the last couple of years, a Hearing Examiner may be willing to allow you to complete that program in place of having points assessed to your record. It does depend on the seriousness of the circumstances. For example, if there was an accident, it’s not likely that you would be approved for it, but if you slowed down at a stop sign but didn’t come to a complete stop, then you may be. There are some things to take into consideration. The three most important factors are your driving record, whether you were posing a risk to public safety by your behavior, and if you are cooperative with the police officer. Those factors will impact the likelihood of you being approved. But another thing you can do, outside of the traffic school, is provide an explanation at the hearing. For example if you were speeding because your wife was pregnant and going into labor, judges are human too and they understand that there are extenuating circumstances. If you have a clean driving record and you weren’t putting other people at risk, but you drove twelve miles over the speed limit because your wife was in labor, most judges would probably give you a break. It never hurts you to challenge a ticket, and you have a right to hold the government to their burden and test the sufficiency of their evidence; a judge can’t assess more points because you exercised that right. If you think there’s a reason why you should not receive points or if you think that the officer was wrong with writing you a ticket in the first place, you have the option to contest. Another way to lower points is to drive safely most of the time so you can get good points. That really helps.