To help enforce Indiana traffic laws and keep the roads safe, the state established a point system to objectively track and record traffic violations. Your Indiana driving record may accrue points for small infractions like speeding or more serious offenses like DUIs. However it happens, accruing too many points can result in losing your license and other costs. Understanding the Indiana point system and the consequences of accruing Indiana license points is vital if you want to retain your driving privileges.
If you’ve accrued points on your Indiana driving record, an experienced Indiana driving record lawyer may be able to help you mitigate the consequences and improve your driving record. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we can help you manage your Indiana driver’s license points.
Why Indiana Driver’s License Points Matter
Your Indiana driving record does more than track your address and license to drive. Prospective employers often review driving records when making hiring decisions. Government agencies may have access to driving records to carry out their functions. Insurance companies use driving records to set your auto insurance premiums. In fact, anyone with a legitimate purpose may obtain a court order to view your driving record.
Given the breadth of who can access the information on your driving record, having too many Indiana driver’s license points can have serious consequences, sometimes in ways you may not have expected. Apathy about your Indiana driving record risks your driving privileges, employment opportunities, insurance premiums, and more. By understanding the Indiana point system used in driving records and how to manage it, you can protect more than your license.
What Is the Indiana Point System?
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) tracks driving violations using a point system. The Indiana point system applies to both licensed and unlicensed drivers. The point schedule, found in Title 140 of the Indiana Administrative Code, assigns more Indiana driver’s license points for more serious violations. Points accrue on your Indiana driving record for all violations committed in Indiana, but they may also accrue for infractions committed in other states if Indiana has a corresponding violation under its point system.
The points accrued on your Indiana driving record for traffic and motor vehicle safety violations are active for two years. Two years after the date of disposition of the violation, the points no longer reflect on your driving record, but the violations remain a part of your permanent record.
Your Indiana Driver’s License Points and What They Mean
As a deterrent, the BMV penalizes drivers who accrue a significant number of points at any time. If you accrue 14 to 18 points in a two-year period, the agency sends out a written warning. If your driving record point total reaches 20 points, the BMV suspends your driver’s license for one month. The suspension period increases for additional Indiana driver’s license points accrued:
|Points||Suspension Period (Months)|
If you receive a notice from the BMV that your license has been suspended, you have only 18 days to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension or take other action, such as completing a driver safety program, to prevent the suspension from taking effect.
Consequences of Accruing Indiana Driver’s License Points
Whether you’re nearing the 14- to 18-point warning level or have accrued a significantly higher number of points, your driving record can have significant impacts on your life. The obvious consequence is the penalty of accruing 20 or more points: suspension of your Indiana driver’s license. But that’s not the only cost you may face.
Your driving record is accessible by any person or agency with a legitimate reason for performing a background check. Potential employers and auto insurers come to mind first, but the pool of those who may be evaluating you based, in part, on your driving record extends beyond these more obvious areas. Accruing points on your Indiana driving record can also affect these areas:
- Job opportunities may become more limited, especially if you are looking to work in law enforcement or as a driver for any other industry
- A poor driving record may increase premiums for life insurance
- Unpaid tickets can negatively impact your credit score, especially if the tickets are turned over to a collection agency
- A poor record may impair your adoption efforts
- Professional licensure and a private pilot’s license may be at risk
Additionally, if you are convicted of a criminal offense, certain serious offenses reflected on your driving record may be used to enhance your sentence for completely separate conduct.
How to Check Your Indiana Driver’s License Points
People can have points on their driving record without knowing it. A forgotten speeding ticket or failure to pay a citation can cause harm whether you know they’re there or not. To prevent surprises, check your Indiana driving record at least annually by logging in through the BMV resource page.
There are two types of driver records available through the BMV portal. The viewable driver record (VDR) is free to view through the BMV portal. However, if you need a driver record for official purposes, such as for evidence in court, you will need an official driver record (ODR). If your license has been suspended, your VDR or ODR will list the earliest date your driver’s license could be reinstated.
You may obtain either a VDR or an ODR by logging into myBMV. There is no cost for creating or accessing your account on myBMV. There is a small cost for the ODR. If you do not have access to a computer, you may contact the BMV Customer Contact Center for more information or request an ODR by completing and mailing a Request for Certified Records – State Form 53798.
How to Get Points Off Your License in Indiana
Points accrued for an infraction or other offense remain on your Indiana driving record and count toward your total points for two years. It is possible to minimize the effect of these infractions or even get points deducted from the total in some cases, but some methods require you to take action very early after the infraction. For that reason, knowing the options and having access to an experienced Indiana driving record lawyer are absolutely necessary.
Participation in an Indiana Infraction Deferral Program
If you act very quickly, you may be able to participate in an Indiana infraction deferral program. Although not technically an expungement, a deferral program temporarily prevents the points for a traffic infraction from being added to your Indiana driving record. Several counties in Indiana offer such programs, each with its own terms and costs.
In a deferral program, a driver pays a fee and contracts with the prosecutor’s office not to commit any additional offenses for a specific period of time, often one year. The fee is usually equal to or greater than the amount of the fine imposed for the citation. In return, the prosecutor’s office does not process the citation but, instead, holds it for the agreed term. If the driver commits no further offenses and satisfies any other terms of the deferral agreement, the prosecutor will dismiss the citation.
Participation in a deferral program is possible only if you take immediate action after receiving the citation or arrest for an infraction or offense that would result in points accruing on your driving record. To find out whether this is an option for you, call an Indiana driving record lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP before the hearing date noted on your citation.
Driver Safety Program
In some situations, Indiana law allows drivers to reduce the total accrued points on their driving record by successfully completing a certified driver safety program. Driver safety programs, sometimes referred to as defensive driving courses, are open to all Indiana drivers, but sometimes, such as when a driver accrues two or more offenses within a year, completion of a program approved by the BMV is mandatory.
Upon successful completion of a driver safety program approved by the Indiana BMV, the agency will remove four of your Indiana driver’s license points. This credit remains on your driving record for three years. If you successfully complete a subsequent driver safety program in less than three years after your prior course, you do not get any additional points removed from your record, but the points credit will be extended to three years from the date of completing the additional course.
Appeal a Traffic Infraction
If you are found to have committed a traffic offense, you may appeal that determination. However, there are strict deadlines for initiating an appeal and rigorous procedural requirements. If you wish to appeal a traffic infraction, you will need to hire an Indiana driving record lawyer very quickly after the adjudication on the infraction citation. If you wait too long, an appeal will be unavailable to you.
How A Keffer Hirschauer LLP Indiana Driving Record Lawyer Can Help
Don’t be fooled into thinking that traffic tickets and other driver-related offenses are small matters easily handled on your own. Accruing Indiana driver’s license points can seriously impact your professional and personal life, sometimes in ways that make daily tasks or employment difficult or even impossible. Don’t wait—if you have accrued points on your license, contact an Indiana driving record lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. With our years of extensive trial experience, skills in criminal defense, and knowledge of traffic laws and programs in counties throughout the State of Indiana, we can help you find the best way forward. For a free consultation, call us at (317) 857-0160 or complete our online contact form today.