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Driving Record Glossary

Driving records can be filled with unfamiliar terms. Find definitions to these driving record-related terms in our driving record glossary.

Driving Record Terms: A—G

Certified Driving Record

A certified driving record is issued, confirmed, and stamped by your state's motor vehicle management agency, and in most cases, cannot be obtained online. A certified driving record can legally be used to verify your driving record for jobs, insurance quotes, and court cases.

See: Driving Record; Non-Certified Driving Record

Citation

A citation is a form requiring or summoning you to either go to court or pay a fine for charges law enforcement has brought against you.

See: Failure to Appear in Court; Infraction

Conviction

A conviction occurs when a judge or jury finds you guilty of a criminal charge.

See: Expunge

Driver's License

A driver's license is an official, government-issued document proving your legal right to drive.

Driver's License Check

A driver's license check is a search you can perform to determine if your license is valid or suspended.

See: Points; Restrictions; Revocation; Suspension

Driving Record

Your driving record includes your vehicle's registration status, description, and a compilation of traffic-related offenses. A certified driving record and non-certified driving record will contain the same information, though a non-certified driving record is not legally admissible for jobs, court cases, or insurance purposes.

Depending on which state you live in, “driving records" may be referred to by different names, including:

  • Driver records.
  • Motor vehicle records (MVR).
  • Vehicle records.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records.
  • Driver history records.
  • Driving history reports.
  • Traffic records.
  • Driver's license records.
  • Driving record abstracts.
  • Licensed driver records.
  • Driver history abstracts.
  • Driver record reports.

See: Certified Driving Record; Expunge; Non-Certified Driving Record; Points

DUI/DWI

DUI stands for “driving under the influence"; DWI stands for "driving while intoxicated. This is a misdemeanor or felony charge stemming from an arrest where you were suspected of driving with an illegal level of drugs or alcohol in your system. Use of the term varies by state.

See: Felony; Misdemeanor; Traffic Accident

Endorsement

Endorsements on your license give you legal permission to operate specialized vehicles like buses, trailers, and hazardous material transporters.

See: Restrictions

Expunge

To expunge a conviction from your driving record is to make it publicly inaccessible. There is usually a time period and/or petition process you must go through to request an expungement.

See: Driving Record; Felony; Misdemeanor

Failure to Appear in Court

A “failure to appear" is a charge that could be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of your charges. If you fail to appear in court on the day appointed to your case, you could face increased fines or even arrest. This incident will show on your driving record until you fulfill your responsibility to the court.

See: Citation; Felony; Misdemeanor

Felony

A felony is a the most serious type of crime and is punishable by hefty fees, lengthy prison sentences or, in some states, death. Many serious traffic violations are felonies.

See: Expunge; Misdemeanor

Driving Record Terms: H—R

Infraction

An infraction is a minor offense that can be resolved by paying a fine to the state. Receiving a ticket for parking in a “no parking" zone would be an example of an infraction.

Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a classification of crimes that are typically less severe than felonies. Depending on your state's laws, several traffic violations may be classified as misdemeanors.

See: Expunge; Felony

Moving Violation

A moving violation is classified by traffic laws being broken by vehicles in motion. Some examples include speeding, running a red light, and DUI.

See: DUI; Infraction; Non-Moving Violation

Non-Certified Driving Record

A non-certified driving record is an unofficial copy of your driving history, lacking an official stamp from your state motor vehicle agency. Its main purpose is for personal review and is usually not accepted as a verifiable record for jobs, insurance quotes, and court cases. Many state motor vehicle agencies allow you to access your non-certified driving record online.

See: Certified Driving Record; Driving Record

Non-Moving Violation

A non-moving violation is classified by traffic laws being broken by stationary vehicles. Most parking tickets are non-moving violations.

See: Infraction; Moving Violation

Points

In states that have a driver's license point system, points are a representation of the severity and accumulation of traffic violations on your driving record. More serious offenses receive more points, and with enough points your license could even be suspended.

See: Driver's License Check; Driving Record; Revocation; Suspension

Restrictions

Restrictions refer to codes that can be printed on your license to limit certain driving privileges.

Some examples include:

  • Daytime driving only.
  • Needs to wear corrective lenses (glasses).
    AND
  • Dates for when new drivers are allowed to drive other people.

See: Endorsements

Revocation

A driver's license revocation is the termination of your driver's license. Once you are eligible, you must reapply for a new driver's license before legally operating a vehicle.

See: Driver's License Check; Points; Suspension

Driving Record Terms: S—Z

Suspension

A suspension of your driver's license is a temporary complete restriction of your driving privileges. Your full driving privileges are typically restored after meeting specific criteria determined by the offense which caused the suspension.

See: Driver's License Check; Points; Revocation

Traffic Accident

A traffic accident is an incident involving motorized vehicles where a vehicle or vehicles or property are damaged and/or people are injured or killed.

See: DUI

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