How Long Do Tickets Stay on Your Driving Record?

Tickets can impact both your driving record and your car insurance rates. Discover how long they stay on your record in your state.
How long will this traffic ticket stay on your driving record

You probably know that your state keeps track of traffic citations. And, if you’ve accumulated a few speeding tickets, you also know the effect they have on your premium. But how do insurance companies gets this information? How long does a ticket remain on your driving record? And, more importantly, when will your insurer lower your rates?

In this article:

  • Tickets and your driving record
  • How long tickets remain on your record by state
  • The impact of tickets on you premium
  • How to lower your rates
  • Frequently asked questions

Tickets And Your Driving Record

If you get a ticket, you can expect it to remain on your driving record for at least three years, which is the nation’s average. More severe tickets, such as DUIs or reckless driving, can remain for up to 10 years.

But not all citations end up on your record. Luckily, minor ones like parking tickets and red light camera tickets might not count. Like most things in auto insurance, this will vary by state.

It’s important to note that not every state keeps tickets on your history for the same amount of time. While the average is about three years, there are different cases based on each state’s system for tracking violations.

Driver’s License Points Systems

Most states use a point system, where you receive a certain number of points depending on the severity of your violation. If you incur too many points, your state could suspend or even revoke your license.

Other states may not use a driver’s license points system. Instead, these states keep track of your violations and could suspend your license if you get too many on your record. You could also face losing your license after a severe violation, like a DUI.

At some point, your insurer will scan your state’s point system database to check how you’re doing. If you’ve accumulated enough points, you could see higher car insurance rates. If you’ve received so many points that you lose you license, you should expect a policy cancellation notice from your provider.

How Long Tickets Remain on Your Record by State

The table below shows how every state handles tickets on your driving record:

StateLength of Time on Record
Alabama2 years until it expires, but remains on record
Alaska1 year (if no violations within previous 12 months)
ArizonaAn undisclosed amount of time
Arkansas3 years
California3 years, but can be up to 7 or 13 months
Colorado7 years
Connecticut3 years
Delaware3 years
Florida5 years
Georgia2 years
Hawaii10 years
Idaho3 years
Illinois4-5 years
Indiana2 years
Iowa5 years
Kansas3 years
Kentucky5 years
Louisiana5 years, 10 for DUI/DWIs
Maine1 year
Maryland2 years
Massachusetts6 years
MichiganTickets 7 years, points 2 years
Minnesota5-10 years
Mississippi1 year
Missouri3 years
Montana3 years, but convictions are permanent
Nebraska5 years
Nevada3 years
New Hampshire3 years
New Jersey1 year, but MVC keeps a permanent record
New Mexico1 year
New York1 year and 6 months
North Carolina3 years
North Dakota3 years
Ohio2 years
Oklahoma5 years
Oregon2 years
Pennsylvania1 year
Rhode Island3 years
South Carolina2 years
South Dakota2 years
Tennessee2 years
Texas3 years
Utah3 years
Vermont2 years
Virginia2 years
Washington5 years
West Virginia5 years
Wisconsin1 year
Wyoming1 year

The Impact of Tickets on Your Premium

Insurance companies take your driving record into account when they set your rates. So, if you get a violation while driving, you can expect your rates to increase. The amount your premium goes up varies, but it’s usually not good for your wallet.

Insurers look at your driving history to determine your risk as a driver. Tickets, especially if you have many of them, results in a more expensive policy. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that traffic violations have a high chance of increasing your premium.

Don’t assume you’re safe from paying more if your rates don’t go up right away after you get a ticket. Sometimes, your insurance company may only check your record periodically. If this is the case, you might not see a rate increase right away following a citation.

Citation Severity is a Factor

A key thing to know is that one violation might affect your insurance more than another. For example, a DUI conviction makes you a risky driver. In turn, your rates will rise drastically when you’re forced to get a high-risk policy. On the other hand, a ticket for going 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit won’t raise your rates much, if at all.

Your insurer is more likely to increase your rates for more “severe” types of tickets. That’s because these offenses result in more driver’s license points. In addition, severe traffic violations can give leave points on your record for a longer period. Eventually, your insurance provider will see this and reflect your risk factor on your premium.

Like tickets, accidents can make you appear risky in the eyes of your insurer. If you frequently get into crashes or have a couple that are your fault, your rates are likely to increase.

How to Lower Your Rates

It’s not the end of the world if your rates have gone up. Often, your insurer may lower your rates as a reward if you keep a clean record for a good amount of time. A three- to five-year period is typical to prove to insurance companies that you’ve changed or become safer behind the wheel.

You should strongly consider changing insurance providers if yours chooses not to lower your rates, even after you’ve been driving safely for a long time. Sometimes a fresh start is a good thing. And you may even find a better baseline price than your current insurer offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a citation off my driving record?

You can do a couple of things if you want to get a ticket off your record. The first thing you can try is to enroll at a defensive driving school. Some states will remove certain tickets, usually for speeding, if you take a course. Many insurance companies provide discounts for customers that complete driver training courses.

You can also try to fight the ticket in court. Note that this will require you to gather evidence that shows you didn’t commit the offense. This can be hard to do, but you may want to give it a try if you think you have enough evidence. This could save your driving record or keep your rates low.

How do I check my driving record?

You can usually check your record by going to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. You should have the following information ready:

  • Driver’s license number
  • Social security number
  • Birthday
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