What are “Points” on a Driver’s License?
For the purpose of identifying habitually reckless, or negligent, drivers and habitual violators of traffic laws, Alaska adopted regulations and laws establishing a uniform system for the suspension or denial of a driver’s license by assigning demerit points for convictions for violations of traffic laws which must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Alaska statute 28.15.221 is the starting point for any questions about Alaska’s point system. Basically, the point system is used by most states in the country and is a way for the government — as well as insurance companies — to keep tabs on how good a driver you are. When these points build up on your driving record, especially many points in a short period of time, state of Alaska may reevaluate your driving privileges. The rule of thumb in Alaska it is you will receive an automatic 30-day revocation if you accumulate 12 or more points during any consecutive 12-month period or 18 or more points as a result of offenses committed during any 24-month period.
How Many Points Will I Get for Different Offenses?
DUI — 10 points
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test — 10 Points
Reckless Driving — 10 Points
Eluding a Police Officer — 10 Points
Speed Contest/Racing — 10 Points
Manslaughter or Negligent Homicide with a Motor Vehicle — 10 Points
Assault with a Motor Vehicle — 10 Points
Leaving the Scene of the Crash — 9 Points
Negligent Driving — 6 Points
Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle — 6 Points
Failure to Stop for a School Bus While Loading or Unloading — 6 Points
Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device in a School Zone or Crosswalk — 6 Points
Driving without Insurance — 6 Points
Minor Operating after Consuming Alcohol — 6 Points
Following Too Close — 4 Points
Failure to Stop or Yield — 4 Points
Illegal Passing in a Traffic Safety Corridor — 4 Points
All Other Moving Violations — 2 Points
SPEEDING POINTS VARY BY SPEED:
Speeding 3-9 MPH over the Speed Limit – 2 Points
Speeding 10-19 MPH over the Speed Limit — 4 Points
Speeding 20 MPH (or more) over the Speed Limit — 6 Points
Speeding in a School Zone — 6 Points
What Can Lead to Extra Points against My License in Alaska?
The Alaska regulations including two-point addition to an assessed total if you overtake or pass another vehicle in a zone designated by a safety control device that prohibits passing, or while in a designated traffic safety corridor.
Will DMV Warned Me about My Points Accumulation?
Alaska law requires that DMV shall notify you when your point accumulation reaches 50% of the number at which a suspension or revocation is required under law. Any person who receives such a notice will be identified as a “problem driver.” DMV may require a problem driver to appear for a driver improvement interview, the purpose of which is to assist you in overcoming substandard driving habits. Such an interview was conducted in an informal manner and you must comply with any reasonable recommendations designed to improve your driving abilities.
Where Can I Learn More about Driver’s License Points in Alaska?
Due to budget constraints, the state of Alaska no longer prints the ubiquitous DMV booklets we all studied before we got our licenses. Now you can find the same booklet for free online if you follow this LINK.
Can I Get a Work License If I Am Suspended?
If the state of Alaska DMV takes your license based on point accumulation there is no limited “work purpose” license available.
Will My Insurance Rates Go up?
Anyone who has their license revoked or suspended is required to get SR-22 insurance for no less than three years. In Alaska law, this is referred to as proof of financial responsibility in the future. (See Alaska statute 28.15.255) Basically what this means is you pay extra to your insurance company to snitch you out if you drop insurance on any of your vehicles.
Can I Help Myself by Dragging out the Trial for My Ticket?
As a lawyer, I am often trying to figure out how to avoid my client losing a driver’s license. If they are very close to accumulating the dreaded 12-points in 12-months (or 18-points in 24-months), it would seem that if we just delayed conviction on the ticket past the deadline they would be safe. However, DMV already thought of that and the law provides that the accumulation of points “shall be based on the date of violation.” However, points may not be assessed until after conviction, either upon a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, forfeiture of bail, or as a result of a trial for violation of the traffic laws. So even if it takes six months to have a trial on a speeding ticket, the 12-month period of consideration dates back to the date of violation not the date of conviction. Trust me, I have tried it and it does not work.
How Can I Reduce My Points?
Alaska law provides that two points must be deducted from your assessed total if you provide to DMV proof of successful completion of a driver improvement course or an alcohol information course within 12 months of the date of your last violation. You may not double up these two opportunities and try to knock off four points. Again, trust me again, I have tried it and it does not work. You may not take more than one driver improvement course or one alcohol information course in any 12-month period. Also, two points must be deducted from your assessed total if you have not been convicted of a violation of traffic laws during the 12-month period after the date of the last violation for which you were convicted. In other words, after your last ticket, two points will come off every year thereafter for every 12 months of violation-free driving. Also, Alaska law provides that one point shall accumulate to your benefit for every 12 consecutive months of licensed, violation-free driving within the five-year period preceding the point calculation.
There are local driver improvement course is available, all of which take up a full day on a weekend (at least the ones I have taken multiple times did). After I got tired of wasting my Saturday, I started doing online defensive driver courses which you can complete in about two-thirds of the time. That assumes you know the traffic laws well and can speed through the testing. My favorite and the one I recommend all my clients take is TrafficSchoolOnline.com. It is state approved and reasonably priced ($30). To go to their website click on the following LINK.
What Else Will Get My License Revoked or Suspended?
DMV shall suspend or revoke your license or initiate other remedial action if you failed to appear for a driver improvement interview, or fail to comply with reasonable recommendations designed to improve your driving abilities made to you during a driver improvement interview.
How Long Will My Revocation or Suspension Last?
Ordinarily, your license will be revoked for 30 days if you accumulate too many points in the requisite time period. However, the law allows DMV to revoke you for not more than one year; I read that to mean it would have to not be your first rodeo. Once you have served your period of suspension or revocation, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee of no less than $100 ($250 if your license has been suspended or revoked within the past 10 years two or more times).
How Can I Find out How Many Points Are against My License Now?
Given that points can accumulate quickly, and you can lose track of how many are against your license at any time, it is not a bad idea to find out how many points are against your license if you have had any traffic violation convictions in the last several years. The easiest way to do it is to click on the following link and pay $10 for a copy of your driving record. Of Course, a more circuitous route is to get yourself arrested for a crime, particularly a crime involving driving (like a DUI or refusal to submit to a chemical test, hire me, and I will get a copy of your driving history as part of the discovery packet. But that will cost no less than $5000, so I would suggest obeying the law and paying the 10 bucks!
While Fighting My Ticket Help?
It usually does not hurt to ask for a traffic trial on a routine ticket. The common wisdom is that if the police officer does not show up you will win, but that is not necessarily the case (because the judge to grant a continuance whether you like it or not). Also, there is a small chance you could win if you had a real defense. The reality is the judge tends to side with the officer because they are usually good witnesses, have an audio recording of you apologizing for what you did wrong, and typically do not have an ax to grind. But, even if you do not win, you complete your case and sometimes the judge will give you an opportunity to have the whole ticket dismissed if you take defensive driving. So while you can get a two-point deduction for taking a driver improvement course (a.k.a. defensive driving), you might do a little better by going to the traffic trial and losing it but coming across as a decent human being who has already learned his or her lesson. I am often asked to help fight tickets, and usually, this is the advice I give.
Will Hiring a Lawyer Help Me If I Have Too Many Points against My License in Alaska?
Yes. A consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney might help you save your license. I have helped many people who would have lost their license had they not contacted me, but naturally, that does not always happen. Keep in mind that a lawyer is your legal advocate and must give you sound advice rather than telling you whatever they think you want to hear to get you to hire them. If you have any further questions about this topic, feel free to call my office in at 907.262.9164 or send me an email personally at Eric@TrialGuy.com.