Checking Your Driving Record for Traffic Tickets

By: Josh Tyson June 23, 2012
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So, you've lost track of your traffic tickets, eh?

Or, maybe the better scenario is, it's been a while since that last traffic violation and you aren't sure about its details, i.e. the exact nature of the offense, whether you accumulated points, and how long it will remain on your record.

Even better, you got a traffic ticket a few years ago, dealt with the consequences, and just want to make sure it's no longer haunting you.

Whatever the case, your state makes it pretty easy to check on any outstanding traffic tickets you have. Just order a copy of your driving history.

Order Your Driving Record

Basically, you can order your driving record in one of two ways:

  • From your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • From third-party vendors.

Most DMV branches let drivers order driving records in person or through the mail. Some also allow telephone and online application.

Likewise, third-party providers usually let driver order records via the telephone, postal mail, or online.

Although driving records generally are a matter of public record (meaning lots of people can order them), be prepared to prove your identity. Most states, and all third-party companies, charge a fee.

Traffic Ticket Information On Your Driving Record

Once you get your driving record, you'll find information about traffic violations from the past certain number of years. Most state's provide three- and five-year histories, though some states allow people to order a 10-year record.

Within that information, you'll find out:

  • Specific details about all violations within that time frame. Depending on your state, this can include (and probably isn't limited to) the violation code number, description, and penalties. You'll probably see the date of the violation, too.
  • Accumulated points. Drivers who live in states with point systems will see the number of points associated with their violations.
  • Your license status, i.e. whether your driving privileges are in good standing or you have a suspended license.

Dealing With Your Driving History

Now that you know what's on your driving record, how do you deal with it?

Well, if it's clean, you move on; otherwise, you might:

  • Do some housekeeping. Haven't paid your fine yet? Still need to complete a defensive driving course? It's time to
  • Attend traffic school to reduce your driving record points (if an option in your state).
  • Start working toward getting back your driving privileges (if you're license is suspended or revoked). Depending on the violation, this might be as simple as paying your fine, or as involved as completing education classes and waiting until a certain time period passes before reapplying for your license.

Some drivers check to make sure traffic ticket information is left off their driving records, meaning, they completed a traffic school to have the violation or points removed, or enough time has passed that the ticket should be gone. If this is you and your record shows ticket information that should have been removed, contact the DMV or the court that handled your violation.

When was the last time you checked your driving record for traffic ticket information?

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