Everyone knows that points on your license are a bad thing, but how does the system work? Attorney Marc Lopez turned to Attorney Matt Kroes for answers about license points and how they can affect driving privileges. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation.

Marc Lopez
I’m here today with Matt Kroes. Matt is the driver’s license attorney here at the Mark Lopez Law Firm. Every attorney here knows a lot about driver’s license issues, but Matt’s the go-to guy. Walk us through the point system.

Matt Kroes
Indiana has adopted a point system with driver’s licenses, the purpose being to identify people who need to drive better. In other words, each little traffic violation has a certain number of points associated with it.

For example, a speeding ticket could be anywhere from two to six points, depending on how fast you’re going. Certain criminal offenses—such as DUI or leaving the scene of an accident—are a bit more severe. The penalty for DUI causing death or serious bodily injury is 10 points.

Marc Lopez
What’s the purpose of having points?

Matt Kroes
The BMV basically wants to keep tabs on Indiana drivers. The more points you have, the more likely it is that you need to learn how to drive better. Accumulate enough points and the BMV will suspend you.

If you get 14 points in a two-year period, the BMV is going to send you a warning notice: If you keep driving like this, you’re going to end up suspended. If you hit 20 points, the BMV says enough—you lose your license for a month. And of course, it can get worse, the more points you accumulate over that two-year period.

Marc Lopez
Okay, pop quiz: Let’s say I’m stopped for going 17 miles an hour over the speed limit. I hire an attorney and he can’t help me. If I’m convicted, how many points on my license?

Matt Kroes
Four.

Marc Lopez
What if I get a speeding ticket and the speed isn’t indicated? Is the ticket thrown out?

Matt Kroes
No, that would be two points on your license.

Marc Lopez
How about a DUI conviction of 0.08? What is that going to be?

Matt Kroes
Just a 0.08 DUI, the per se number? You’re going to get eight points for that. It could creep all the way up to 10 if there’s serious bodily injury or death.

Marc Lopez
Let’s say I get into an accident and it turns out I didn’t have insurance. So now I have a penalty for failure to file financial responsibility. How many points is that?

Matt Kroes
That’s going to depend. If it’s just a violation of financial responsibility, that’s a two-point offense. But if there’s an accident with injury you’re looking at as many as 10 points.

Marc Lopez
What if I’m driving a school bus and I fail to stop at a railroad crossing?

Matt Kroes
That’s actually a major offense for a school bus driver. Eight points.

Marc Lopez
It’s the same as a DUI.

Matt Kroes
It is.

Marc Lopez
When do points recycle? How long do they stay on your record?

Matt Kroes
Points will stay on your record for two years, but it’s a rolling two-year period—not a two-year cycle.

Marc Lopez
And remind us when the person will get the warning letter from the BMV?

Matt Kroes
You’ll get a letter from the BMV between 14 and 18 points. And this letter will say, Hey—you’re on our watch list. You need to improve your driving habits or you’re going to end up suspended.

Once you hit 20 points, you earn an administrative suspension from the BMV. Twenty points will get you a month-long suspension, and it’s another month for every two additional points.

Marc Lopez
So if you reach 42 points, you can lose your license for a year.

Matt Kroes
Correct.

Marc Lopez
For any viewers out there who are worried about their point situation—is there a way for a person to reduce the number of points on their license?

Matt Kroes
There sure is. They can complete a BMV-approved Driver Safety Program either online or in person. This will get rid of four points, but the catch is you can only use a Driver Safety Program for purposes of point reduction once every three years.

Marc Lopez
If anybody watching this has any questions about Indiana’s driver’s license points system, give us a call at 317-632-3642. We never set out to become the Traffic Law Firm, but because we’ve done so many DUI cases, we’ve become extremely knowledgeable about driving privileges and how to get people back on the road.

Matt, do you have any parting thoughts?

Matt Kroes
No matter how bad your driver record might look, there’s always a way back. You should never lose hope. There’s never a situation where you’re not allowed to drive ever again. That’s why it’s so important to give us a call.

Marc Lopez
If anybody has any questions, give us a call 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!