How Traffic Tickets Could Suspend Driving Privileges
How you operate, your motor vehicle plays a major role in whether you maintain your driving privileges.
Maine uses a point system that works like a demerits system and could cost you to lose your license. Anyone who accumulates at least 12 points for various driving infractions will lose their driving privileges. Points are erased from the record after they are one year old.
Drivers also can have their licenses suspended for certain major offenses, and those with intermediate, provisional, or junior provisional licenses will have them suspended after one moving violation.
How Drivers Get Points Against Them
A variety of minor offenses will net you at least 2 points. These offenses include making an illegal right turn or failure to dim headlights or obey a traffic island. Several more offenses could net 4 points, like exceeding the speed limit by less than 15 mph or failure to stop at a red light or traffic sign. The points start to add up more quickly when committing more serious driving violations. For example, offenses such as passing on a curve or a hill, failure to wear corrective lenses if required, or exceeding the speed limit between 15 and 30 mph will net you six points.
Some offenses will net you a suspension immediately, regardless of the number of demerit points you have accumulated. These include eluding a police officer, passing a school bus with red lights flashing, leaving the scene of an accident where someone was injured, and speeding more than 30 mph over the speed limit.
How Long Do Points Remain on Your Record
Just about every driver winds up committing a moving violation and receiving a traffic ticket at least once over a lifetime of driving and often several times. Humans make mistakes, and drivers are human. The points system reminds otherwise responsible drivers to pay better attention while driving when a minor violation occurs.
Every year you drive without getting a ticket, the state gives you one credit point, up to four credits. So, if you have credit points and receive a small violation, the credit points will dilute the demerit points. Also, demerit points lose their value after one year.
What Happens When You Get Too Many Points
Drivers who continually violate traffic laws and accrue points will lose their driving privileges via a suspension when the points total 12 or more. Reinstatement requires paying your fines, a reinstatement fee, and possibly attending traffic school.
Where to Pay Your Traffic Fines
When you are ticketed, you can either plead guilty and pay the fine or contest it by requesting a hearing with your local municipal court. If you want to pay your ticket, you can do so online through Maine’s Odyssey portal. You also can pay in person at the court where the offense was issued or by mail, using the address on the back of the ticket. If you do not pay the fine for your moving violation, you will lose your driving privileges. You will not get them back until you pay your fine plus a reinstatement fee.
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