If you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of an endorsement for a motoring offence, you’ve probably wondered, “How long do points stay on your licence?”
Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on everything penalty points related. This will help you know exactly how long they’ll stay on your licence, how to check your record, and how any past motoring convictions are likely to affect your car insurance premiums in the future.
But first, let’s start with the basics.
What are penalty points?
If you’re convicted of a motoring offence, the UK courts can add penalty points to your driving record. These are also known as endorsements. Being convicted of a motoring offence typically also means you’ll have to pay a fine.
The more serious the driving offence, the more the penalty points can add up.
For example, according to the gov.uk website, “causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink” can carry up to 11 penalty points, whereas “using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)” carries a maximum penalty of three penalty points.
If you’re a driver in Northern Ireland, endorsements and penalty points work slightly differently. Check out guidance from nidirect.gov.uk for more information.
Is there a limit to how many penalty points you can get on your licence?
Yes. If you accrue (a process called “totting up”) 12 or more penalty points over a period of three years, you’ll be disqualified from driving altogether and have your licence revoked.
However, the penalty point limit for new drivers is different (more on that below).
Is the limit the same if you’re a new driver?
No. If you’re a new driver and you get six or more points in the two years after passing your driving test, then your driving licence will be revoked. This figure includes any valid penalty points on your provisional licence, which are automatically carried over.
If you do accrue six or more points in the two years after passing your test then you’ll need to successfully pass both your theory and practical driving test again to get back on the road.
How long does it take to clear points on your licence?
Driving endorsements (and the penalty points that come with them) remain on your driving record for four or 11 years. The exact time frame depends on the nature of the motoring offence.
For example, driving endorsement codes DR10 and DR20 for drunk driving carry three to 11 penalty points and stay on your driving record for 11 years after the date of conviction. Whereas an endorsement for using a vehicle uninsured against third-party risks (endorsement code IN10) carries six to eight penalty points and stays on your record for four years after the offence.
Employers and insurers might be able to access details of your endorsement for the full length of a four-year endorsement and during the first five years of an 11-year endorsement. They can do this by checking your driving record.
Endorsements work in much the same way for under 18s as they do for everyone else — but insurers and employers might be able to access details for the first two and a half years (rather than the first five years) of an 11-year endorsement.
How long do 3 points stay on your licence?
The length three penalty points stays on your driving licence depends on why they were given — that is, which driving endorsement they are associated with. It’s either a period of four years or 11 years.
For example, three points given for driving endorsements CD10 to CD33 (all given for careless driving) stay on your driving record for four years from the time of the offence, but three points accrued for driving endorsements CD40 to CD70 (causing death by careless driving) must remain on your driving licence for 11 years after conviction.
Do points come off after 3 years?
For four-year endorsements — yes and no.
This is because (slightly confusingly) the length of time an endorsement remains on your driving licence and its validity are two different things. So a four-year endorsement is actually only valid for the first three years, and likewise, an 11-year endorsement is valid for the first 10 years.
This is important because the validity of any points on your licence affects whether they’ll be added to any additional penalty points you accrue. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that any non-valid points still on your record can be taken into account by the courts if you are convicted of another motoring offence.
How long do speeding tickets stay on your record?
Getting a speeding ticket (which results in an endorsement on your driving licence) stays on your driving record for four years. You’ll also be penalised with a minimum of three penalty points and a £100 fine.
For example, the following offences (along with their endorsement codes) all come with three to six penalty points:
- SP10: Exceeding the goods vehicle speed limits
- SP20: Exceeding the speed limit for the type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)
- SP30: Exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road
- SP40: Exceeding the passenger vehicle speed limit
- SP50: Exceeding the speed limit on a motorway
In some circumstances, you may be given the option of taking a speed awareness course (sometimes called a driver awareness course) instead. This is only if the police deem it appropriate and if you haven’t attended another speed awareness course in the last three years.
How do I check how many penalty points I have on my licence?
You can view any penalty points on your driving licence and when they’ll be removed using the gov.uk online service. This service also lets you create a check code so that someone else (for example, a car hire company) can check your driving licence for up to 21 days.
You can also contact the DVLA directly for information on any penalty points you may have accrued.
Can I contest penalty points or driving convictions in the UK?
It is possible to appeal against a driving conviction through the UK magistrates’ courts, but you need to do so within 21 days of receiving your sentence.
If you originally pleaded “not guilty”, you can appeal against both your conviction and sentence. But if you pleaded “guilty” at the court hearing, you can only appeal against your sentence.
If you want to appeal against a speeding ticket, you have a right to do so, but you’ll need to go to court and will have to account for additional costs (for example, seeking legal counsel).
Does having penalty points affect car insurance?
Having penalty points on your driving record is very likely to drive up the cost of your car insurance premiums, yes.
Unsurprisingly, the more points you’ve accrued, the more expensive your insurance is likely to be. That’s because premiums are calculated based on how risky a provider thinks you are. The more points you have on your licence, the riskier you’ll be deemed to be.
According to This Is Money article in 2015, three points on your driving record could push up your car insurance premiums by 5%, and 10 or more points by a whopping 80% compared to someone with no motoring offences.
The bottom line: How long do points stay on your licence?
The length that penalty points stay on your driving licence depends on the severity of the conviction, so for a period of either four or 11 years. Penalty points remain valid for one year less than they remain on your driving record, so either three years or 10 years respectively.
Only valid points can be totted up to your total number of penalty points — which must stay below 12, or else your licence will be revoked.
Penalty points on your licence are very likely to increase the cost of your car insurance premiums — sometimes, by a substantial amount. Still, it’s always essential that you’re completely upfront with any insurer about any motoring offences you might have on your record as any failure to do so may invalidate your insurance.
At Howden we make sure that we find the right car insurance policy for every one of our customers. Our team of experts work hard to ensure that you’re getting our best price and coverage from our range of hand-picked insurers — so you can rest assured you’re getting a great deal, no matter what your individual circumstances are.