Traffic Ticket Points: What means more when?

So, in North Carolina, whether you know it or not, we have TWO different sets of point systems.

The first system everyone is familiar with: Driver’ License points. This ins the one where speeding tickets counts as so many points depending on your speed, where it was, etc. Then, if you get too many points in a certain amount of time, you lose your license.

For example, in NC, conviction of speeding over 55 in a 55 mph zone is 3 DL points. Do that 4 times in 3 years, that’s 12 points, and the DMV can revoke your license (max of 12 points allowed per 3 year period). OK, I get it. Each violation has a point value add up your points if it’s >12 in 3 years, you’ve got an issue. That’s pretty simple.

Oh, BTW – if you’re caught speeding over 55 in 55 mph zone 3 times within 1 year, that’s a suspension too, even though it’s less than 12 points. See! This is why you may want a lawyer to help you even it’s just a traffic ticket.

But then things get more complex. In NC there is such a thing as the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan. It sets up a point system for INSURANCE separate from the drivers license point system. So, this adds a level of complexity. It says “incentive plan,” but what it really does is selectively raise the rates for insurance distinct from the drivers license scheme. Let’s take an example: If you get a ticket for failing to stop for a siren, that’s 3 DL points (same as speeding over 55), but it’s also 1 insurance (SDIP) point. What that 1 SDIP point means is that the insurance company can/will raise your rate by 25% (ouch!). If you get hit with 3 SDIP points, that’s a 65% increase in your insurance rate.

Let’s go back to a previous example: the >55. If you’re ticketed going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone, that offense is worth 3 DL points AND 2 SDIP points (that’s a potential insurance increase of 45%). If you just pay the ticket and mail it in, congratulations! you’ve just plead guilty/responsible to the offense and those points have been recorded in your DMV file in NC.

An attorney will help you figure out the best solution to your particular problem. Will the District Attorney reduce the charge? Can I use a PJC? You know, I think that’s my new catchphrase: “No, you don’t *need* an attorney. But, you may want one!”

Let me know in the comments if this was helpful. In the meantime, check out our website at

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