Everyone knows that when you get a speeding ticket, you'll generally have to pay a fine. But does a speeding violation go on your driving record? If so, how long does it stay there?
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (or other government agency in charge of licensing) keeps a driving record for all licensed motorists. Speeding tickets (and other moving violations and driving-related criminal convictions) generally do go on your driving record.
The length of time a speeding ticket will stay on your record depends on what state you're licensed in—it ranges from one to ten years.
However, having a speeding ticket on your record doesn't always mean it's continuing to have a negative effect.
A speeding ticket on your record can cause problems in several ways. First, insurance companies typically set a driver's rates based in part on driving record. Second, most states use traffic violation point systems and will suspend the licenses of drivers who accumulate too many points.
However, for both of these purposes, a speeding violation expires are a certain period of time. In some states, a speeding violation will remain on your record for longer than it's actually being counted for purposes of violation points or insurance rate premiums.
When a driver is convicted of a moving violation by admitting fault (paying the fine) or being found guilty after a trial, the DMV receives notice of the conviction. The DMV then adds a certain number of points to the driver's record. Generally, even out-of-state traffic convictions will result in points being assessed in your driving record.
The number of points differs depending on the particular violation—the more serious the violation, the more points the DMV assesses. Basically, each state that has a point system (a handful of states don't have point systems) has a list of the point values that correspond to different traffic violations.
The number of points you'll receive for a speeding ticket depends on what state you live in and how fast you were going. Generally, the number of points increases with the amount by which you exceeded the speed limit. Here are some state-specific examples:
As you can see, every state scales its point systems differently. But, for the most part, the points increase with the driver's speed in relation to the speed limit.
Acquiring too many points can lead to license suspension and other consequences such as having to complete a driver's education course. However, most states will send a warning letter before the driver reaches a point total that will result in these types of consequences.
The accumulation of points can also affect a driver's insurance rates. Insurance companies view drivers with lots of points to be a higher risk than drivers with clean records and will set rates accordingly.
In most states, a speeding ticket will disappear from your record after a certain number of years. You don't have to do anything—expiration happens automatically.
With insurance premiums, a similar system applies. Insurance companies count speeding violations against only for a certain number of years.
Generally, demerit points also expire after a certain period of time. For example, in Nevada, points expire one year after the date of conviction. And, in Florida, points for a traffic violation stay on your record for a three-year period.
Some states also allow drivers to avoid points for a violation or receive point credits for completing traffic school. In some states, completing traffic school will keep a violation off your driving record altogether—it's not just a way of avoiding points.
But traffic school is normally an option only every so often. For instance, California allows drivers to participate in traffic school once every 18 months. Also, traffic school typically isn't available for commercial drivers who receive a speeding ticket.