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Driving violation points are demerits and can be costly

It's interesting how words get used in our language. Take the word "points" for example. In sports, the more points you score the better.

Demerits are the opposite. If you have more of them, it means you have done something wrong, too many times. If you rack up too many of them, the cost can be significant. In sports, it might mean being pulled out of the game. For drivers of all sorts along the I-95 corridor from Florida to New York, too many demerits can erode the ability to make a living.

Here's where things can get confusing. Where traffic penalties are concerned, logic would seem to suggest that they should be called demerits, but they are called points. Regardless, if you have too many of them, the eventual outcome could be the loss of your driving privileges.

In Maryland, willfully disobeying a police officer's orders is enough to earn you one point. Failing to stop at a red light before making a turn could earn you two. If drive a vehicle for which you are not licensed, the number pops to three. And if you are on a learner's permit and don't have proper supervision, expect to collect five points.

What can happen when?

When you are tagged for a vehicle law violation, the court that handled the case informs the Motor Vehicle Administration. The MVA then assigns the points called for by law and the state starts tracking your record. If you earn a certain number of points over the next two years, here's what can happen:

  • 3 to 4 points prompts a warning letter
  • 5 to 7 points leads to you being required to take an approved driver improvement program
  • 8 to 11 points could mean suspension of your license
  • 12 points or more will mean your license is revoked

Depending on the nature of your violations, you will likely have a right to an administrative hearing and the right to legal representation. That's a right every driver should consider exercising - especially if that initial consultation is free.

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