Drivers in Spain have 12 points on their license, which can be deducted for traffic offenses
With some British citizens residing in Spain obtaining Spanish driving licenses to be able to continue driving in Spain after Brexit, it is important for drivers to be aware of how the penalty point system works in this country. This is quite different from the method employed in the UK or Ireland, for example, where points are added to a driving license for serious offences.
In Spain points are deducted for infractions and when a motorist reaches zero they are off the road. Also, penalty points follow the driver and not the license, so if you exhaust all your points, you are prohibited from driving any type of vehicle.
How many points do I have?
At the start, in general, the pilots leave with a record of 12 points. However, novice drivers and any driver who recovers their license after it has been revoked start at 8 points. This number is not fixed and can go up or down depending on whether you are a good driver or not.
You can check the points you have on your license via the DGT points check service.
Where can I obtain a points certificate?
Sometimes professional drivers will need a physical points certificate. To find out how to obtain one, you can consult the point certification request service.
How to understand the points I have
Drivers with more than 3 years of experience start with a balance of 12 points, but the points system rewards good drivers, so you can have up to a total of 15 points.
If in 3 years no offense is committed which takes away points, the initial 12 will be increased by 2 points. After another 3 years without an infraction, another point will be added, bringing the total to 15.
Novice drivers or those who have obtained the license again after its withdrawal, start from 8 points. This will be increased to 12 points after 2 years without committing offenses resulting in the loss of points.
Once a driver reaches 12 points, they can also earn a bonus of up to 15 points by following the same process as other motorists.
How to lose points?
Points are lost after being penalized for committing a serious or very serious violation. You can lose 2, 3, 4 or 6 points per infraction depending on the severity. Speeding can cost you between 2 and 6 points, while driving the wrong way in the wrong lane will always cost you 6 points.
As a general rule, drivers cannot lose more than 8 points in a day, but there are exceptions when it comes to certain very serious offences.
You must beware! You can lose all your driving license points in one day if:
- You are caught driving over the legal alcohol limit or find that you have drugs in your system while driving
- You refuse to submit to a drug or alcohol test
- You exceed the authorized speed by more than 50%
- You engage in obviously reckless driving
- You drive a vehicle with radar jammers installed
- You are driving on a road in the wrong direction
- You participate in drag races
- You do not respect more than 50% of the mandatory driving and rest times if you are a professional driver
How to recover points?
Even if you’ve lost points, good behavior gives drivers the chance to earn them back.
If in the 2 years following the last serious infringement, or 3 years in the case of very serious infringements, you no longer lose points, you will return to the initial 12.
However, if you don’t want to risk losing the validity of your license and not being able to drive, you can choose to take an awareness and road rehabilitation course to recover up to a maximum of 6 points. These courses last twelve hours and you can do it once every 2 years or once every year, in the case of professional drivers.
If you have no more points on your licence, you will not be able to recover them. You will need to obtain a new permit as outlined in the next section.
What if I lose all my points?
To get your driver’s license again, you must allow a period of 6 months to pass during which you cannot drive, 3 months if you are a professional driver.
Once the time expires, you must follow these steps:
- Carry out and pass the awareness and road rehabilitation course. It will last about 24 hours and you can do it during the period when you cannot drive.
- Once this period has elapsed and you have passed the awareness and rehabilitation course, you must pass a theoretical exam. Ask for an appointment for the test at your center or driving school, or directly at your traffic office.
- Once you have passed the exam, remember that you must request the issuance of your new license so that it can be sent to your address. The new license will start with a balance of 8 points.
What happens if you drive without points?
Driving with a license without points once you have been notified of the loss of validity is considered a criminal offence, defined in article 384 of the Penal Code. This crime is punishable by prison terms of 3 to 6 months, a fine of 12 to 24 months or community service of 31 to 90 days.
What are the most common offences?
Since the introduction of the points permit, the main offenses having caused the loss of points have been:
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Cell phone use
- Alcohol and drug use
Image 1: Archive
Picture 2: DGT