The Ultimate Guide to Ohio’s Driver License Point System

Posted On: May 30th, 2024 by Bradley J. Groene
The Ultimate Guide to Ohio's Driver License Point System

Most Ohio drivers will get pulled over and ticketed for infractions like speeding or making an illegal turn at some point. However, many don’t fully understand the impact of accumulating points on their licenses. Too many can lead to higher insurance rates and possible license suspension.

Understanding Ohio’s driver license point system is essential to avoid penalties and keep a clean driving record. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Cincinnati defense lawyers have extensive experience in Ohio traffic law and are here to help Ohio drivers protect their driving privileges. Let us help you navigate the point system so you can keep insurance rates low and stay on the road.

The Ohio BMV Point System

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) point system monitors and improves road safety by penalizing drivers who commit traffic violations. The goal is to identify and deter repeat offenders, reduce accidents, and promote responsible driving habits.

Points for Traffic Violations in Ohio

When a driver is found guilty of a traffic violation in Ohio, points are added to their driving record. The number of points depends on the offense. Minor infractions, like speeding slightly above the limit, might add 2 points. More serious offenses, like driving under the influence (DUI), can result in 6 points.

Points accumulate over time, leading to significant consequences if the total reaches a certain threshold.

Ohio Traffic Tickets & Their Point Values

Ohio assigns points to driving records based on the severity of traffic violations. Here’s a breakdown of common traffic citations and their corresponding points:

The BMV Maintains Your Driving Record

The Ohio BMV maintains accurate driving records for all licensed drivers. When a traffic violation occurs, the court clerk sends a certified abstract of the conviction to the BMV, which updates the driver’s record with the corresponding points. The BMV tracks these points and issues warnings or suspensions as necessary.

The Negative Impact of Points on Your License

As points accumulate, insurance companies often view you as a higher-risk driver, increasing premiums and raising your overall driving costs. Once you’ve reached a certain point threshold, actions by the Ohio BMV are triggered. At six points, you receive a warning letter. At twelve points within two years, your license is suspended for six months, disrupting your ability to work, attend school, or fulfill family responsibilities.

Additionally, a record with multiple points can affect you in court, resulting in harsher penalties for future offenses.

Driver License Points Result in Higher Insurance

Insurance companies assess risk based on your driving record. Accumulating points signal to insurers that you may be a higher-risk driver. Even a few points can cause your premiums to rise as insurers aim to offset the potential costs associated with risky drivers. This increase can be substantial, adding hundreds of dollars to your annual insurance costs.

Multiple points on your record can make finding insurers willing to cover you harder. Many companies may refuse a policy, forcing you to turn to high-risk insurance providers. These providers typically charge much higher rates, further increasing your overall costs. Additionally, even high-risk insurers may hesitate to provide coverage with a suspended license until your license is reinstated.

The 6-Point Warning Letter

When a driver accumulates 6 points within two years, the Ohio BMV issues a warning letter. This letter lists the violations and corresponding points as an official notice that the driver is at risk of reaching the suspension threshold.
The warning letter will detail each violation and the points assigned for each. This transparency helps drivers understand the actions that led to their current point total.

Receiving a 6-point warning letter is a serious indicator that the driver needs to adjust their driving behavior. Continued violations could quickly lead to a 12-point suspension, resulting in severe penalties.

12-Point Driver’s License Suspension

If a driver accumulates 12 or more points within two years, their license will be suspended for six months.
The BMV sends a suspension notice detailing the violations and points leading to the suspension. The suspension becomes effective 20 days after the notice is mailed.

During this period, the driver cannot legally operate a vehicle. To reinstate the license after the suspension, the driver must complete several requirements, including passing a remedial driving course, providing proof of insurance, paying a reinstatement fee, and passing the driver’s license examination again.

What if You Drive Under Suspension in Ohio

Driving under suspension in Ohio can lead to fines up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, an extended suspension period, vehicle impoundment, and additional charges, especially if involved in an accident or another offense. It’s crucial to avoid driving until your license is fully reinstated.

Appealing a 12-Point Suspension

Yes, you can appeal a 12-point license suspension in Ohio by filing a petition with your local municipal or county court within 20 days of receiving the notice. To prepare gather evidence, documentation, and relevant information to support your appeal and present your case at a hearing before a judge.

Grounds for appeal may include errors in point calculation, insufficient evidence, or mitigating circumstances. Acting promptly and seeking legal assistance from an experienced attorney can significantly enhance your chances of a successful appeal.

Getting Your License Reinstated

To get your license reinstated, you must complete the suspension period, take a state-approved remedial driving course, file an SR-22 form for auto insurance, pass the driver’s license examination, and pay any reinstatement fees. Ensure continuous insurance coverage and stay informed of all deadlines to avoid delays. Seeking legal advice can help you navigate the process smoothly.

How Long Do Points Stay on Your Driving Record?

In Ohio, points from traffic violations remain on your driving record for two years from the date of the offense. While these points are active, they can affect your insurance premiums, driving privileges, and legal standing.

Can You Have Drivers License Points Removed?

You can reduce points on your Ohio driving record by completing a state-approved remedial driving course. Successfully finishing this course can remove two points, providing a buffer against suspensions.

However, you can only take this course once every three years and up to five times in your lifetime. Understanding these limits helps you manage your driving record effectively and avoid the negative consequences of accumulating points.

Fight Ohio Traffic Tickets to Stay Point Free

Many people accept guilt for traffic tickets, thinking it’s not worth the effort to fight them. However, contesting traffic tickets is crucial because accepting points on your driving record can increase insurance premiums and potential license suspensions and negatively impact your driving history.

You can avoid these long-term penalties and maintain a clean record by challenging tickets.

Challenging Ohio Traffic Violations

Challenging a traffic ticket can help you avoid points on your driving record and the associated penalties. Here are some effective legal strategies to consider:

  • Question the Evidence: Assess the accuracy of the evidence against you, such as radar gun readings, speed camera data, or the officer’s observations. You can challenge the ticket’s validity if there are inaccuracies or inconsistencies.
  • Identify Procedural Errors: Review the ticket and the circumstances of its issuance for any procedural mistakes made by law enforcement. Errors such as incorrect information on the ticket, failure to follow proper protocols or violation of your rights during the traffic stop can be grounds for dismissal.
  • Present Mitigating Circumstances: Highlight circumstances that may have influenced your alleged violation. This could include emergencies, unclear traffic signs, or adverse weather conditions. These factors can sometimes lead to reduced charges or even dismissal.

Work with a Lawyer to Protect Your Driving Record

At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our experienced Cincinnati traffic attorneys can help you effectively navigate Ohio’s point system, contest traffic tickets, and appeal license suspensions. You can avoid long-term penalties like increased insurance premiums and potential license suspensions by working with us. Our team will build a strong defense, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court to achieve the best possible outcome.

Understanding and managing your driving record is essential for maintaining your driving privileges. Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (513) 338-1890 for a free consultation. Let us help you preserve your ability to drive.