There are 2 relevant time periods involved: 1) the eighteen month window and 2) three years after a traffic conviction.
The 18-Month Window
First, the DMV uses an 18-month window to calculate suspensions and driver responsibility assessment penalties. That means that DMV will add up all points and convictions within the last 18 months and then act accordingly.
For example, here are two of the most common scenarios:
If a driver had a total of 11 points or more from convictions in the last 18 months, the DMV would suspend a driver license.
If a driver has a total of 6 points from convictions in the last 18 months then the MY DMV will impose a $300 driver responsibility assessment. Each additional point over 6 incurs an additional $75.
The 3-year Period
Once 3 years have passed after a traffic conviction or accident, the New York DMV will remove the conviction from the driver’s record in the beginning of the 4th calendar year. During this time, the conviction will be available to insurance company review. For DWI convictions, the NY DMV will record convictions for 10 years.
The Effect of a Defensive Driving Course & Coram Nobis Motions
Contrary to popular belief, a defensive driving course does not remove points from a driving record. Completion of a course will cause the DMV to ignore 4 points for suspension purposes and gives the driver a 10% discount on their insurance for 3 years.
Unfortunately, the course does not lower the point total for driver responsibility assessments that begin at 6 points in 18 months.
The only way to actually remove points is to eliminate a conviction. This may be accomplished with a motion to the court to reopen the case coupled with a negotiated reduction from the prosecutor. These motions, called coram nobis motions, once complete, have the newly negotiated reduction replace the previous conviction.
Not all convictions may be reopened this way, but if you have a conviction that you wish you did not have, please feel free to call us to discuss if this option might be available for you.