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Wisconsin’s Point System for Traffic Violations

Many people will be pulled over by law enforcement while driving and receive a traffic ticket at some point in their life. Some people feel that, in certain cases, it would be easier for them to pay the ticket as soon as possible instead of spending time and money to challenge it. However, they may not understand that by accepting the ticket and paying it off, they are also pleading guilty to whatever charges against them the ticket might contain. Every traffic offense conviction will result in points being placed on a driver’s license. A license may be suspended after a certain number of points are accumulated.

The Purpose of the Point System

The point system Wisconsin uses in traffic offense cases serves multiple purposes. The first is to keep track of how many times a person has violated the state’s traffic laws. The point system also allows law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver is high-risk during traffic stops. It helps the government discipline drivers that have been convicted for many traffic violations.

Traffic Offenses and Their Assigned Point Values

There are many types of traffic violations that carry points in the state of Wisconsin. This can make the point system complicated to understand. Here are some of the most common traffic violations and how many points someone will receive on their license if convicted.

Traffic offenses that carry 2 points in the state of Wisconsin include:

  • Obstructing traffic
  • Parking on the highway in a traffic lane
  • Driving with a defective speedometer

Traffic offenses that carry 3 points in the state of Wisconsin include:

  • Speeding between 1 and 10 miles per hour over the speed limit
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Driving with an expired license
  • Driving without a license
  • Driving a vehicle with broken brakes or lights
  • Driving a vehicle with a license that has been suspended or revoked
  • Passing another vehicle in an illegal manner
  • Following another vehicle too closely (tailgating)
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street

Traffic offenses that carry 4 points in the state of Wisconsin include:

  • Speeding between 11 and 19 miles per hour over the speed limit
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to yield for an emergency vehicle
  • Failing to yield for the right of way
  • Driving too fast for the road conditions
  • Failing to keep a vehicle under control
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Driving between lanes

Traffic offenses that carry 6 points in the state of Wisconsin include:

  • Violation of an occupational license
  • Driving 20 or more miles per hour over the speed limit
  • Street racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Attempting to escape a police officer
  • Failing to perform necessary actions after an accident

The Consequences of License Points

Anyone who receives 12 points on their license within a single year will have their license suspended. The loss of driving privileges can be life changing, as it can prevent someone from getting to work or school, prevent them from going to important appointments, and more. The length of time someone’s license will be suspended depends on how many points they have on their license. For example:

  • Between 12 and 16 points: Suspended for 2 months.
  • Between 17 and 22 points: Suspended for 4 months.
  • Between 22 and 30 points: Suspended for 6 months.
  • Over 30 points: Suspended for 1 year.

Note that points stay on a driver’s license for 5 years in the state of Wisconsin. A driver can check how many points their license has online. The Wisconsin DMV provides this information through driving records, which a driver can obtain on the DMV website for $5.

Different Consequences for Different Drivers

Young drivers are subject to more severe consequences for traffic violations that result in points applied to their license. Any driver with a learning permit or probationary license who has a point-related traffic violation on their license will be subject to doubled points for any future violations. In addition, a young driver who receives between 12 and 30 points on their license will automatically receive a 6-month suspension.

People who operate motor vehicles with a CDL, or commercial driver’s license, will be subject to different point values for certain violations as well as different violations altogether. Some examples include:

  • 3 points for operating a commercial vehicle with an unlawful CDL or CDL endorsement
  • 3 points for possessing an alcoholic beverage while operating a commercial vehicle on duty time
  • 4 points for speeding between 15 and 19 miles per hour over the speed limit in a commercial vehicle
  • 6 points for speeding more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit in a commercial vehicle
  • 6 points for causing an injury while operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.04% and 0.08%
  • 6 points for operating a commercial vehicle while unqualified to do so

It can be especially damaging for commercial vehicle drivers to lose their CDL because of points due to traffic violations. Most people who drive commercial vehicles do so as a career and losing their CDL could lead to an inability to make money.

Motorcycle riders also face additional traffic violations in the state of Wisconsin. Some examples of traffic violations that carry points and are specific to motorcycle operators include:

  • 2 points for failure to wear protective eye gear
  • 2 points for operating a motorcycle with more than 2 passengers
  • 2 points for operating a motorcycle with defective handlebars
  • 3 points for operating a motorcycle without a motorcycle license
  • 3 points for operating a motorcycle at night without the headlights on

Avoiding License Suspension

A driver who has points on their license for past traffic violation convictions can reduce the number of points by enrolling in a traffic safety course. Their points will be reduced by 3. A person can only have their license points reduced once every 3 years. If someone has a suspended license because of the number of points they’ve accrued and the number of points is up to 3 above the limit, their suspension may be revoked if they attend such a course.

Getting a Suspended License Reinstated

The way in which a person can get their driver’s license reinstated in Wisconsin depends on the circumstances of their suspension. If the court provided them with specific requirements to complete, those must be finished before a reinstatement can take place. Anyone looking to reinstate their license must complete the following:

  • Fill out the application for license renewal
  • Provide the DMV with 1 form of ID that includes a photograph and signature
  • Pay a $50 reinstatement fee
  • Pay an addition $24 if the license expired while it was suspended
  • Provide the DMV with proof of insurance, if necessary

We’re Here to Help

If you’re facing a driver’s license suspension due to traffic violation points, contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today. With over 20 years of experience, we are ready to represent you with empathetic and aggressive legal counsel. Our talented attorney will review your case and help create a strategy to prevent your license from being suspended. Contact us today at (414) 882-8382 or through our online form.

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