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How does the Ohio point system work?

Criminal defense lawyer Columbus

Learn the basics of the Ohio point system from a Columbus criminal defense lawyer

Points can add up on your license fast. If you’re facing a traffic violation, keep reading to learn how the system works, how to wipe points off your record and how our Columbus criminal defense attorneys can go to bat for your case.

The essentials.


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Any Ohio driver convicted of a traffic violation is assessed a specific number of penalty points according to the type of violation. If convicted of another offense within two years of the first violation, the points for the new violation are tacked on to the driver’s existing total. Traffic violation points are broken up into six-point, four-point and two-point increments. If you rack up 12 or more total points, your license will automatically be suspended for six months. Pleading guilty and paying your fine is considered the same as a conviction. Even though the suspension is automatic, you’ll be notified of your right to a court hearing. A judge may show some leeway in your suspension, such as allowing you to drive to and from your job. But you should never face a judge alone. Finding a Columbus DUI lawyer or criminal defense lawyer is the most important step you can take to keep your points from adding up.

How can I get my license back?

Once your six-month suspension is up, you’ll need to complete a remedial driver education class, provide proof of insurance and take your drivers’ test again before your license will be reinstated. If you complete an approved remedial driving course prior to accumulating 12 or more points, you can receive a two-point credit. You can take this course up to five times, but no more than once every three years.

How are the traffic violation points broken down?

The Ohio Insurance Institute lays out the point system like this: Six-point violations

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (OVI) and/or any drug of abuse
  • Failure to stop and disclose identity at the scene of a crash (Hit-Skip/Leaving scene)
  • Willingly fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer
  • Racing
  • Operating a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner
  • Operating a motor vehicle while your drivers license is under suspension or revocation
  • Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, or committing any crime punishable as a felony under Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws

Four-point violations

  • Willful senseless disregard of the safety of persons or property

Two-point violations

  • All moving violations except those pertaining to size limits and some speed offenses
  • Operating a motor vehicle in violation of a restriction imposed by the Registrar of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Criminal defense lawyer Columbus

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Speeding violations Ohio’s point system for speed limit violations was revamped under SB 123. The new point system for speeding became effective January 1, 2004. The new system replaces the sliding scale system that previously took a driver’s prior record and speed over the posted limits into consideration. Under SB 123, a speeding violation may result in four points, two points or no points depending on the posted speed limit and the number of mph by which the speed limit was exceeded.

  • Exceeding a speed limit by 30 mph or more results in four points.
  • If the speed limit is 55 mph or more, exceeding the limit by more than 10 mph (11–29 mph over the limit) results in two points.
  • If the speed limit is less than 55 mph, exceeding the limit by more than 5 mph (6–29 mph over the limit) results in two points.
  • Exceeding any speed limit in an amount less than what is stated above results in no points.

Facing a traffic violation? Call a Columbus criminal defense attorney.

If you’re up against traffic violation charges, call an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney at Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142 or use our online contact form to arrange an appointment. We know traffic laws inside and out to ensure you get the defense you deserve.

Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney

Learn about Stephen Palmer‘s 19 years of Columbus criminal defense work, and contact Yavitch & Palmer online today, or call 614-224-6142.

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