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      License points: how do they work?

      Driving is a privilege, not a right. The points system is a scale used by the Secretary of State to measure whether or not a person can have that privilege.

      If you get a citation, there are two systems you'll have to answer to: the courts and the Secretary of State's point system. Courts determine fines and legal penalties; the Secretary of State deals with the status of your license. That status is based on the point system, and like in golf, you don't want a high number. Points are obtained when you get a moving violation.

      If you're committing traffic offenses, you accumulate penalty points as a result of poor driving, said Sgt. Dowling with the Michigan State Police Negaunee Post. You're going to be pulled in for a re-examination and possible loss of your driving privilege.

      That magic number is 12. After that, the Secretary of State will suspend or revoke your license.

      Driving is a privilege, not a right.

      If you're not careful, the numbers can add up quickly. Here's the breakdown: a speeding ticket, open container in your vehicle or any other small moving violation will get you two points. Driving carelessly, disobeying a traffic signal, or gassing it 11-15 mph over the speed limit gets you three points.

      You TMll get four points for drag racing, operating while impaired or driving 16 mph over the speed limit. And the highest offense at six points includes operating under the influence or committing any felony including manslaughter, negligent homicide.

      If you TMre a first-time offender, there is one way to put the point system in reverse.

      If you have a clean record and no points on your license and you get a moving violation for speeding, which will be a two point ticket, generally you can go to the driver improvement class," said Marquette attorney Karl Numinen. "You get rid of those points, and it's never then reported to your insurance company."

      If you want to take a class or want more information on the points system, visit the Secretary of State website .