Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Driver license points - frequently asked questions

Check your driver license status to know if your license is valid, disqualified (CDL holders), suspended or revoked. You will need your social security number and birth date.

My citation says four points; your letter says eight. Why?

The point value noted on the citation is an "estimated point value." The violation for which you are finally convicted and the license type you hold at the time of conviction determine the points assessed against the driving record.

If you hold a probationary license, instruction permit, or no license when the conviction is entered on the record, points will be doubled for any second and subsequent convictions, except for convictions under Chapter 347 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which are primarily vehicle equipment violations.

How many points do I have left?

If you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in any 12-month period, a suspension will result. Individuals with a clear driving record have 0 points. Points are assessed for moving traffic convictions based on the violation offense date. When determining points, be sure to include any pending citations or convictions which do not yet appear on your record.

I have tickets pending. How will this affect my driving record?

The violation date (not conviction date) determines whether you have accumulated 12 or more points in any 12-month period. If you are convicted of any pending violations the points will be counted based on the date of violation. If your conviction(s) result in the accumulation of 12 or more demerit points for violations within any 12-month period, a suspension will result. The suspension of your operating privilege will begin on the date the order of suspension is mailed from WisDOT's Division of Motor Vehicles.

Can I hold a ticket open so there will be more than one year between convictions?

Since the determination of your point total is based on violation date and not conviction date, there is no advantage in doing so.

Points are no longer counted against me after one year, but if there is a pending ticket, will the violation date be used?

As long as convictions remain on the driver record, the points for those convictions remain available to determine whether 12 or more points have accumulated in any 12-month period. The violation dates, not the conviction dates, are used in that determination.

For example: you receive a traffic citation and do not go to court for two years. When the court does report the conviction, points are counted from the date of the violation. If the conviction causes you to accumulate 12 points in any 12-month period, your operating privilege will be suspended.

Is there a way to reduce my points?

If you have completed an approved traffic safety course, you can request a three-point reduction of your demerit point total. 

Courses can be taken as often as you wish, however, you can receive only one point reduction every three years.

Can I take a traffic safety course after I'm suspended for accumulating 12 or more points?

If you are already suspended for accumulating too many points, and if your point total is 12, 13 or 14 points, your suspension may be released.

Is a zero point total good or bad?

It helps to remember that these are demerit points. Therefore, you do not want to have points. All drivers with a clear record have zero points. As you accumulate convictions, you accumulate demerit points. If you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in any 12-month period, your driving privilege will be suspended.

How can I reopen a ticket? How would this help me?

Specific questions about if a case can be reopened should be addressed to the convicting court.

If a case is reopened and the final determination of the court results in an accumulation of less than 12 points in any 12-month period, there would be no suspension for demerit points. If a person is already suspended for demerit points, and the court's determination reduces the point accumulation to less than 12 points in any 12-month period; the suspension would be released.

When do points no longer count against my driving record?

As long as a conviction remains on a driving record, the points associated with that conviction remain available to determine if a person has accumulated 12 or more points in any 12-month period. Remember that the violation dates, not the conviction dates, determine point accumulation.

See the example given above.

When can a ticket be removed from my driving record?

Most convictions on a driving record are eligible to be removed five years after the conviction date. Many alcohol related convictions such as operating while under the influence of intoxicants, with a violation date after December 31, 1988, remain on the driving record for 55 years. There are also commercial driver convictions which remain on the record for 55 years.

You can check the current status of your driver license online or for questions about your driver license status, call (608) 264-7133. To obtain a copy of your own driving record, call (608) 261-2566.

Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2353

Last modified: August 30, 2011
BDS/DIS

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