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Will I lose my License?

Nov 09

I received this question from a reader recently: Shane, I received a speeding ticket for traveling 72 mph in a 45 mph zone (27 mph over the posted speed limit). I have had a few other speeding tickets in the past. Am I in danger of losing my driver’s license?”

The Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) regulates all things related to drivers’ licenses. In fact, the DPS often has more control over license suspensions and revocations than does the court system. The DPS uses a point system to determine whether your license will be suspended due to receiving to many tickets. If a driver attains 12-14 points in a 2 year period, his license will be suspended for 60 days.  5-17 points in a 2 year period results in a 90 day suspension; 18-20 points in a 2 year period, a 120 suspension; 21-23 points in a 2 year period a suspension of­ 180 days; and 24 and above points in a 2 year period results in a­ suspension 365 days. After a traffic conviction is 2 years old, it loses its point count for suspension purposes but remains on a driver’s record. These suspensions are for regular motor vehicle licenses.

Speeding 1 to 25 mph over the posted limit, Inability to control a vehicle, Improper operation of a motorcycle, failure to signal properly, and other minor moving violations all count for 2 points on your driving record. Following another vehicle too closely, disregarding stop signs or other traffic control devises, and failure to obey construction or maintenance zone markers are worth 3 points each.  Speeding 26 mph or over, failure to yield the right of way, and passing a stopped school bus are charges that result in 5 points being added to your driving record. Reckless driving and obtaining any conviction which resulted from a charge that involved drinking and driving but did not require a mandatory driver license suspension or revocation both result in 6 points.

There are additional rules for those with Commercial Driver’s Licenses, or “CDL’s.” A driver’s CDL may be disqualified for any of the following “Major offenses:” Being under influence of alcohol (blood alcohol level over .04) while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV); being under influence of a controlled substance while driving a CMV; refusing to take an alcohol test; leaving the scene of an accident; using a CMV to commit a felony; driving a CMV while it is cancelled, suspended, revoked or disqualified; and/or causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV.

 In addition to the above, if a CDL holder violates 2 of the following “serious offenses” while in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), within 3 years, his CDL is suspended for 60 days. 3 of the following offenses within 3 years results in a CDL suspension of 120 days. Those “Serious offenses include convictions for excessive speeding (15 mph over the posted speed limit); reckless driving; improper or erratic lane change; following too closely; any violation in connection with a fatal accident; driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL; driving a CMV without a CDL in possession; and/or driving a CMV without proper class and/or endorsements.

More information on driver’s license suspensions can be found at the Department of Public Safety’s website, located at