How long do penalty points stay on your driving licence?

How long do penalty points stay on a driving licence

Penalty points on your driving licence are pretty much the only points you don’t want to collect. Points on your Tesco Clubcard? Yes please. Points on your Boots card? Go on then, but points on your driving licence? Not so keen. That could lead to the end of the road. Literally.

It takes just 12 points to lose your licence (if you get them all within 3 years). And that doesn’t mean you can get 12 driving offences. Different offences carry different points. For example

  • If you’re caught parking somewhere considered dangerous, you’ll get 3 points 
  • If you’re caught speeding, you’ll get 3 points and a £100 fine
  • If you’re caught driving whilst over the limit for alcohol you’ll get 10 points

So if you get points on your driving licence, how long exactly will they remain on your record? Read on and we’ll clarify everything you need to know. Plus:

Do different offences carry different points?
Can you pay a fine instead of getting points?
Do you have to declare penalty points to your car insurer?
How do penalty points affect your no claims discount?
How many points lead to a loss of licence?
How long does a driving ban last?
How long does a driving disqualification last?
If your driving licence is taken away, when can you get it back?
Can you avoid gaining penalty points?

How long do penalty points stay on your licence?

For anyone who‘s held a licence for over 2 years, the quick answer is either 4  or 11 years. Whether your points remain on record for 4 or 11 years depends on the type of conviction you get.

Points will stay on your driving record for 4 years from the date of conviction or offence, if you’re charged with:

  • reckless/dangerous driving - shown on the driving record as DD40, DD60 and DD80
  • an offence that resulted in disqualification

If your points are going to remain on record for 11 years, you need to have committed one of the following:

  • drink driving or drug driving - shown on your driving record as DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31, DR61 and DR80
  • causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on your driving record as CD40, CD50 and CD60
  • causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on your driving record as CD70

New drivers beware. You will lose your licence if you get 6 points or more  within your first 2 years of driving.

Find out more about this on our article about declaring points to your car insurance

Do different offences carry different points?

They do. Because there’s a wide range of offences you can commit whilst driving they vary greatly in severity. Which means that they also vary in terms of how seriously you can be punished.

The lowest offence will result in you getting 3 points. The most serious will lead to the maximum of 12 points and loss of licence.

You might be surprised at how easily you could accumulate 12 points. For the latest information on how many points each offence results in, check the information on endorsement codes and penalty points at the gov.uk site

Can you pay a fine instead of getting points?

Sadly not. You can get points and pay a fine as well, but you can’t just pay the fine in order to escape getting penalty points on your record.
The good news is that once your points have expired, the DVLA will wipe them automatically.

Sometimes you can take a driving a course to avoid accumulating penalty points. This is common for speeding offences where you may be invited to join a speed awareness course. More on this later.

Do you have to declare penalty points to your car insurer?

Yes you do. If your insurer doesn’t ask about penalty points, that probably doesn’t mean you’ve got away without confessing them. It’s more likely to be because they’ve been able to check your licence record themselves.

How do penalty points affect your no claims discount?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as you probably gathered, car insurers aren’t big fans of penalty points. And they have good reason for it. 

Statistically, drivers who have gained penalty points or motoring offences within 5 years are more likely to be in an accident than those who haven't.

For this reason you will lose your no claims discount and your insurance premium will go up if you get penalty points.

If you have up to 6 points, your premium will rise by around 25%

Any more than 6 points and it will rise by 50%

How many points lead to a loss of licence?

It takes most drivers just 12 points to lose your licence, which depending on the offence you make, you can lose in one go.

If you’ve held a licence for less than 2 years, getting just 6 points will mean result in having your licence taken away.

How long does a driving ban last?

Most driving bans last between 7 – 56 days. For example; bans related to speeding. More serious offences like drink driving or causing a serious accident will be much longer.

Typically, if you get 12 or more points within 3 years you will be banned for 6 months. You’ll get 12 months if you get a second disqualification within 3 years and if you get a third disqualification within 3 years you will be banned for 2 years.

How long does a driving disqualification last?

If you’re disqualified from driving, the punishment is far more serious and you won’t be allowed to drive for anything from one year, to never again. Although the latter is rare.

You must apply for a new licence from via gov.uk if you’re disqualified for 56 days or more.

Be prepared to have to re-sit your driving test too.

If you’re disqualified for less than 56 days you won’t need to get a new licence or retake your test.

REMEMBER: Any record of a driving ban will stay on your licence for between 4 and 11 years depending on your offence.

If your driving licence is taken away, when can you get it back?

Again, there’s no definite answer for this. It will depend on what you did wrong but it will be at least 56 days

3 steps to getting your licence back

  1. Check when your disqualification ends via the gov.uk website
  2. Complete your D27P form – available from the DVLA or Post Office
  3. Send your payment and application to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB

Can you avoid getting penalty points?

Yes! But only for minor speeding offences.  For example, if you’re caught doing 36 mph in a 30 zone, you may be given the option to take a national speed awareness course. This lasts half a day and will cost you approximately £80 - £100.

If you’re caught speeding again, you can attend another course rather than getting penalty points, but only if you’re caught speeding at least 3 years after the last course.

You won’t get any points or have to pay a fine after taking a speed awareness course.

We hope we’ve answered your most pressing questions around the topic of penalty points. As you’ve seen, they can be easily accumulated if you’re not careful. Drive safe!


Read next: Declaring penalty points to your car insurance provider

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