The Best Time for a New York Driver to Take a Defense Driving Course

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

If you are a New York driver that is paying car insurance, it is a good idea to take a defensive driving course. In general, you are entitled to a discount on your insurance rates upon completion of a defensive driving course. Taking a course has an additional benefit in that it may help you avoid suspension. This is the link for approved online course providers:


Question: Does a defensive driving course remove 4 points from my driving record?

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: Contrary to what you may read online or what course providers tell you, in New York State, a defensive driving course does not “remove” points. The points that were on your driving record will remain on your driving record after you take the defensive driving course. In New York, a defensive driving course gives you a “credit” of four points. This helps as follows: In New York you typically get suspended when reaching 11 points. With a defensive driving course on your record, you can possibly avoid suspension up to 15 points because of the 4 point credit. For information about your specific situation you should consult a competent traffic ticket attorney.

Question:Should I wait until a conviction before taking a defensive driving course?

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: There is one very important requirement that is necessary in order to obtain the 4-point credit from a defensive driving course. That requirement is that the defensive driving course be taken not less than 18 months after the date of the violation. The date of conviction is not relevant. This means if you wait until after the conviction to take the defensive driving course, and the date of conviction is more than 18 months after the date of the violation, you will lose the opportunity to apply the 4 point credit appropriately. The timing of the course is very important. With multiple violations over a period of time the calculation for the timing of the course can be complex. It is imperative to consult with a competent traffic ticket attorney to know for sure when it the best time to complete a defensive driving course.