How long do penalty points stay on your driving licence?

Carlton Boyce / 19 April 2018

Our guide to how the penalty points process works.



If you are unlucky (or careless, depending on your perspective) enough to receive penalty points on your driving licence, they will be ‘totted up’ for the purposes of deciding whether or not you will lose your licence.

How this process works depends on how long you have held your licence. Here’s our guide to how the penalty points process works and its implications for you.

How do penalty points affect newly qualified drivers?

If you get six points within two years of passing your driving test then your driving licence will be cancelled (‘revoked’).

If you’ve gained penalty points on your provisional driving licence, then these will be carried over on to your full driving licence when you pass your driving test and will be counted under the totting up process.

If your licence is cancelled under the totting up process as a newly qualified driver, you will need to re-apply for a new provisional driving licence and then take both the theory and practical driving test again when the driving ban expires.

How long do penalty points last on a normal driving licence?

If you’ve held your driving licence for more than two years, then you will only have your licence cancelled once you have incurred 12 penalty points or more.

Most of these points are considered ‘live’ for a period of three years. However, they stay on your licence for a total of four years, after which time they will usually be automatically removed by the DVLA.

The exact date they are counted from depends on the offence for which they were given.

The relevant date is usually the date the offence was actually committed, except for convictions for dangerous driving (offence codes DD40, DD60, and DD80) when a disqualification is imposed as part of the punishment. For these offences, the relevant date is the date of conviction.

However, penalty points issued for more serious offences such as drink driving or drug driving (offence codes DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31, DR61, and DR80), causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs (offence codes CD40, CD50, and CD60) and causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis (offence code CD70) stay on your driving licence for 11 years, and are considered ‘live’ for a period of ten years.

In these cases, the relevant date is the date of conviction, not the date the offence was committed.

What do I do if I get a summons?

Applying to have penalty points removed

Because the DVLA will usually remove the penalty points automatically at the appropriate time, there is no need to apply to them to ask for it to be done.

Driving licence penalty points check

If you are unsure of how many points you have, or when they were added, you can click on this link to check your driving licence.

This is worth doing, if only to make sure that the DVLA has removed them because employers can now inspect your driving licence online and the courts can take any points into consideration if they are still on your licence.

What would losing your licence mean to you?

How have the new speeding fines affected penalty points?

Don’t forget that new speeding fines came into effect in 2017; the full details can be found here; essentially, before April 24 2017, the minimum penalty you could expect to receive for speeding was a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence.

But after April 24 2017, magistrates in England and Wales were directed to apply a Band C speeding fine for the most serious offenders – meaning you could receive up to 6 penalty points in one go!

Tips to keep a clean driving licence

Expert motoring solicitor Andrea Clegg gives her top tips on how to keep a clean driving licence in her online article Six Ways to Keep Your Driving Licence Clean.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.