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When do points come off of my New York State Driving Record?

I am often asked by clients when points “come off” their driving record. The simple answer is NEVER. Points or convictions are never taken off of your driving record. They remain forever. However, the infirmaries and problems convictions and points cause diminish over time. The points only cause a problem when you are within a “look back” period for whatever the DMV, your insurance company, or perhaps a job, is looking back for. 

Part of the confusion lies in the fact that there are 2 principal documents you can obtain from the NYS DMV which shows your driving history. One is an “abstract,” which shows the following information:

  • Your present address
  • Convictions & points for the past 10 years
  • Suspensions accrued and resolved for the past 10 years
  • All accidents over the past 10 years
  • All outstanding suspensions and revocations, not matter how far in the past

Contrast, your lifetime driving history contains the above, plus:

  • Every single address you ever had on your license, and the dates in which you had that address and changed addresses
  • Every single license class you ever had. For example, it notes the date your class changed from learner’s permit to junior operator, from junior operator to senior operator, from Class “D” to a commercial endorsement, dates commercial endorsements were suspended, revoked, or modified
  • Any and all suspensions or revocations in your lifetime
  • All Civil Penalties ever paid in your lifetime
  • All convictions and points ever accrued in your lifetime
  • All dates and times of license surrender to another state, as well as dates and times of surrendering an out of State license and obtaining a NYS license
  • Dates of insurance lapses
  • All accidents you were ever involved in
  • Chemical test refusals and all administrative adjudications

The Look Back Periods

The common look back periods are as follows:

• 18 month look back for DMV assessment surcharges for accruing 6 or more points ($300.00 for the first 6 points and $75.00 for every point thereafter)
• 18 month look back for suspending licenses when you go over 10 points
• 18 month look back for revoking licenses for accruing 3 or more speeding convictions
• 3 year look back for insurance surcharge purposes
• Lifetime look backs for restoring driving privileges after a DWI conviction
• Lifetime look backs in conjunction with fatality hearings

A fatality hearing is a specialized hearing set up whenever you are involved in an auto accident where there was a fatality. Their is a hearing to determine your degree of liability in the accident and to additionally review your lifetime driving history to determine if you are an unusually dangerous driver. If there is a finding, based on the totality of circumstances, that you are an unusually dangerous driver, your license can be revoked for life.

From what date does the Look Back commence

Points and convictions hit your driving record on the date of conviction. However, the date of calculation for the look back periods are from the violation date, i.e., the date the ticket was written, not on the conviction date. Moreover, for DMV purposes points that get added together to consider total point accrual for suspensions, revocations, and assessments are those which the violation dates were within 18 months of each other. For insurance surcharge accrual purposes, the longer a case is delayed the better, because you are getting out of some or all of the insurance look back period. This is why we delay the trial for as long as we can when defending clients in New York City.