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.
Speeding ticket

It’s never fun when the police pull you over. It happens to the best of us. Most of us know that tickets affect auto insurance rates, but do you know how your insurance company finds out? Do you wonder how long a ticket remains on your record? We’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll help you learn how long tickets and accidents stay on your record. This includes a table that shows how long each state will keep tickets on your driving record. We’ll also tell you about how traffic violations can affect your car insurance rates.

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What is a Driving Record and What Goes on It?

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 stay on your record for up to 10 years.

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

It’s important to note that not every state keeps tickets on your record 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.

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 on your driving record, your state government 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 if you get a severe violation on your record, like a DUI.

Below is a table with information on how every state handles tickets on your driving record:

StateLength of Time on Record
Alabama2 years until violation expires, but still stays on record
Alaska1 year (only with no violations within the 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
Virginia5 years
Washington5 years
West Virginia5 years
Wisconsin1 year
Wyoming1 year

How Do Tickets and Accidents Affect My Insurance?

Insurers take your driving record into account when they decide your premium. So, if you get a violation while driving, you can expect it to have some sort of impact on your rates. The extent of a ticket’s impact on your rates can vary, but it’s usually not good for your wallet.

Car insurance providers look at your driving record to figure out how risky/not-risky you are as a driver. Tickets, especially if you have many of them, can make you look like a very at-risk driver. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that traffic violations have a high chance of increasing the amount you pay for auto insurance.

Don’t assume you’re going to be safe from higher costs 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 rise in your rates for quite some time since your violation.

A key thing to know is that one type of ticket might affect your insurance, but another might not. For example, a DUI may make your provider see you as a risky driver. In turn, they’ll drastically raise your rates. But if you were just going 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit, it may not look as bad. This is because it’s something that can happen to anybody.

The reason your company is more likely to raise your rates for more “severe” types of tickets is because of the point levels each type of ticket yields. Severe traffic violations can give you more points on your record for a longer period. Your provider will see this and reflect your risk factor on your insurance premium.

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

Will My Rates Stay High Forever if I Get a Ticket?

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 driving 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 providers if your insurance carrier 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 company offers.

If you’re thinking about changing car insurance companies, you should do your homework by comparing the prices of all the providers in your area. That’ll ensure that you get the best price for your clean slate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get a ticket off my driving record?

A: You can do a couple of things if you want to get a ticket off your driving 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.

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.

Q: How do I check my driving record?

A: You can usually check your driving 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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