How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record?

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Aside from costing you money in court fees and fines, your record of traffic tickets can raise your insurance rates or even cause the state to revoke your driver's license. In general, expect the traffic violation to remain on your record anywhere from three to 15 years. Fortunately, drivers who attend traffic school can have points removed.

Traffic Tickets and the DMV Point System

Traffic violations appear on your driving record in the form of points. Each traffic violation may be assigned one or more points depending on the severity of the incident. For example, California will assign you one point for minor traffic violations -- such as speeding, unsafe lane changes and running red lights -- but two points for more serious offenses, such as reckless driving and driving under the influence.

Traffic Tickets and Your Driving Record

How long a traffic ticket stays on your record depends on where you live and the severity of the incident. Each state maintains its own rules for driving records, but expect more severe incidents to remain on your record longer than minor ones. For example, Florida keeps most moving and nonmoving violations on your record for three to five years, but more serious violations can remain for 10 to 15 years. Virginia will keep speeding violations on your record for five years, but illegal U-turns only stay on for three years. Michigan keeps all traffic tickets on your records for a minimum of seven years.

Clean up Your Record With Driver Education

If you don't like the idea of a traffic violation remaining on your record for years, ask if completing a class in driver's education will remove these black marks. Many states and counties will remove a point or two from your record if you complete a driver education course. Ohio, for example, will remove up to two points from your driving record after you complete a course. Drivers in New York can remove up to four points by completing a defensive driving and accident prevention course. Traditionally, these courses had to be taken in person, but some states now offer them in an online format.

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