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How Long Does A Ticket Stay On Your Record In Virginia?

Being pulled over and getting a ticket is a common occurrence on the road that many drivers have shared. Some acknowledge that the ticket was rightfully written, while others argue that they were not guilty of the offense. If you have recently received a ticket, whether you believe you deserved the ticket or not, you are probably wondering how long does a ticket stay on your record? Ticketed drivers also often want to know if they can get their tickets removed from their records. If you have been cited with a misdemeanor driving offense, you may be especially curious how long that mark will color your driving history. Perhaps you are curious about the difference between the ticket and the demerit points added to your license as a result or worried about how a traffic citation will affect your insurance rates. If you have received a ticket in the Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, or Virginia Beach areas, the experienced traffic law attorneys with Driving Defense Law may be able to assist you. Consider calling (757) 929-0335 to schedule your free case evaluation. 

How Long Does a Ticket Stay On Your Driving Record in Virginia?

How long does a ticket stay on your record? The type and severity of the offense will determine how long a ticket remains on a driver’s record. Generally, tickets will stay on a driver’s record for between 3-11 years. The more points an offense has associated with it, the longer it will remain on a driver’s record. However, it is important for drivers to understand that how long a ticket remains on their record and how long the points remain on their driver’s license are not the same and are not connected. Points disappear after two years, but the ticket will remain on the driving record longer. 

Another important thing to be aware of is that while most tickets will be removed from an individual driver’s personal record after a few years, this is not true for commercial drivers cited while driving a work vehicle. For commercial drivers, most tickets remain on their record permanently. 

Six-Point Offenses

Six-point offenses are serious violations that may stay on a driver’s record for as many as 11 years. In some cases, these offenses are misdemeanor crimes as well, which means they may come with penalties of up to a year in jail, fines of up to $2,500, and a suspended driver’s license. Additionally, if a driver receives 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, their license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. 

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, six-point offenses include: 

  • Reckless driving (11 years)
  • Manslaughter (11 years)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (11 years, three years if under age 21)
  • Habitual offenders (11 years)
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license (11 years)
  • Commercial driving offenses, including driving a commercial vehicle while not qualified, driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence, and violating out of service orders (permanent, except for violating out of service orders, for which the record remains 11 years)

Four-Point Offenses

Four-point offenses are less serious than six-point offenses but can still have severe consequences. These offenses include: 

  • Speeding 10-19 miles per hour (mph) over limit based on Code of Virginia (five years)
  • Passing violations (three years)
  • Failure to stop or yield (three years)
  • Failure to keep right (three years)
  • Following too closely, failure to signal when pulling away from curb, or improper signal (three years)

Three-Point Offenses

Three-point offenses give a driver the least number of points on their license but can still impact insurance rates and place the ticket on the driver’s record for up to five years. These offenses include: 

  • Speeding 1-9 mph over posted limit (five years)
  • Improper turn or U-turn (three years)
  • Violation of right or left turn on red (three years)
  • Failure to obey highway sign or evading a traffic control device (three years)
  • Failure to dim lights or inadequate hazard lights (three years)

Do Speeding Tickets Go Away in Virginia?

How long does a ticket stay on your record? Speeding tickets typically remain on a driver’s record for five years. The points added to the driver’s license, however, will disappear after two years. The driver’s insurance rates, meanwhile, may be affected for longer than five years. 

In some circumstances, drivers can get points removed from their license sooner than the standard timeframe by taking a safe driving course or clinic. This only affects the points and does not remove the ticket from their driving record. However, in some cases, the judge may reduce or drop the ticket if the driver takes a safe driving course. 

How Do I Get a Ticket Off My Record in Virginia?

Once a ticket has been paid, the driver has admitted guilt, and the ticket is added to their driving record. They may not be able to get the ticket removed by simply requesting its removal once the ticket is paid. However, before the ticket is paid, there are two options that may keep the ticket from being added to their driving record. 

Contest the Ticket

The first option is to appear in court and contest the ticket. Successfully getting a ticket dismissed will depend on the driver’s existing driving record, available evidence, relevant case law, and other factors. Drivers may be able to get the ticket completely dismissed, or they may be able to negotiate a plea deal in which they admit guilt to a lesser offense. 

Contesting a ticket is not always successful. However, if the driver is at risk of losing their license or facing a substantial increase in insurance premiums as a result of the ticket, it may be worth it to make the attempt. If you want to contest a ticket, Driving Defense Law may be able to assist you. 

Take a Driving Course

The second option is to take an approved safe driving course. Demonstrating successful completion of a safe driving course can often remove the points added to the driver’s license. In some cases, taking the course may also persuade a judge to reduce or drop the ticket. Drivers can take an approved safe driving course up to every two years for point reduction. If they want to take a course to try to get a ticket reduced or dropped, they can take courses as often as they like. 

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Driving Record in Virginia?

Misdemeanor driving offenses include driving on a revoked or suspended license, reckless driving, and driving under the influence (of one or more substances). In addition to the ticket and points assessed, misdemeanors may also have penalties of up to one year in jail, $2,500 in fines, and license suspension. 

A misdemeanor driving offense will likely remain on a driver’s record for 11 years. This offense will also appear on their criminal record. Even after the offense has disappeared from their driving record, they may still face other consequences when it appears in background checks. 

Have You Gotten a Ticket You Do Not Want on Your Driving Record?

How long does a ticket stay on your record? Many factors may play a role in answering this question. Receiving a ticket may not mean it automatically appears on your driving record. If you opt to take a safe driving course or to contest the ticket, you may be able to get the ticket reduced or dropped so that it never appears on your record at all. Before you pay that ticket, you should carefully consider all your options. If you are not sure what to do, consider scheduling a free case evaluation with the experienced Virginia traffic law attorneys with Driving Defense Law at (757) 929-0335 to learn about your legal options.