Speeding tickets don't typically stay on your driving record forever. More serious violations remain for longer, but speeding tickets usually "fall off" your driving record after three to five years depending on where you live. There are some states where speeding tickets stay on your record forever, but after a few years they’ll no longer negatively affect your insurance rates.
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Along with past speeding tickets, your driving record shows your accident history, past traffic violations, your driver's license points, and your personal information. Your insurer will use this information to determine what you pay for car insurance coverage. After you get a ticket for speeding, you could see higher car insurance rates in addition to any other fines you'll have to pay.
Speeding tickets usually remain on your record for three to five years, but it could be longer depending on where you live.
Even in states where speeding tickets stay on your driving record permanently, car insurance companies will only consider violations from the past 3-5 years when setting your rates
On average, one speeding ticket can raise your car insurance rates by 33% per year.
How long does a ticket stay on your record
When you get a citation for speeding and are convicted, the speeding ticket goes on your driving record — also called a motor vehicle record (MVR). Different states have different rules around how long a speeding ticket stays on your record, and in some states they may even stay on your record forever.
Keep in mind, however, the number of years a ticket stays on your record isn't necessarily the same as the amount of time that you'll pay more for insurance — they usually negatively affect your car insurance rates for a period of just 3 to 5 years.
Although you will likely see higher than auto insurance rates if you've gotten a speeding ticket, as long as you drive safely and avoid more speeding tickets going forward, your rates will return to normal after a few years.
Getting a speeding ticket is also one of many ways you can add points on your driving record. While most (but not all) states use a points system to track driving violations, insurers don't usually decide your car insurance premiums by the number of points on your record — instead they consider specific accidents and violations. You may still lose your license and face other fines if you get too many points in a short period of time, though.
Also, keep in mind that some traffic violations, like DUIs and reckless driving, are also considered a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the laws in your state. A speeding ticket will only impact your driving record, but a more serious offense could impact your criminal record, too.
When does a speeding ticket go on your record?
If you're pulled over in person, you'll be handed a speeding ticket right away. You may have to wait up to two weeks before getting a speeding ticket if you were cited because of a camera or airborne radar. After you get the ticket and pay, or are convicted following an appeal, the speeding ticket will go on your record.
→ Read more about your motor vehicle record
How to get a speeding ticket off your record
Aside from successfully challenging the citation in court, you may be able to get a speeding ticket off your record by taking a driving course, as long as your state allows it. Although, depending on where you live, the speeding ticket may still remain on your MVR even after the points your speeding ticket added to your record go back down.
If you decide to fight the ticket in court, you would need to hire a traffic lawyer. For drivers at risk of losing their license, hiring a lawyer can be a smart choice, but first-time offenders likely don’t need professional legal help. Hiring a lawyer can be a lot more expensive than just paying the ticket fine and waiting for the ticket to “fall off” your driving record on its own.
How does a speeding ticket affect your insurance?
Your car insurance will get more expensive after a speeding ticket. Policygenius found that drivers with just one speeding ticket pay 33% more for auto insurance than drivers without a ticket — that’s $570 more per year.
Although your auto insurance rates will be more expensive after a speeding ticket, they'll steadily return to normal over the next few years. As long as you avoid more speeding tickets, other traffic violations, and car accidents, insurers will stop charging you more for coverage because of a single ticket after three to five years.
After speeding ticket
If you get more than one speeding ticket, especially in a short period of time, your car insurance company may decide not to renew your policy, and could have a hard time finding new insurance coverage.
After multiple speeding tickets, insurers may start to view you as a high-risk driver, and it could be harder for you to find a company willing to cover you — or your rates would be significantly higher than normal.
→ Read about the best and cheapest insurance companies for high-risk drivers
How long do other traffic tickets stay on your record?
It's not just speeding tickets that impact what you pay for auto insurance. Other traffic tickets can stay on your record, add points to your license, and make it harder for you to find cheap coverage. Like with speeding tickets, though, the cost increases caused by minor violations will drop off after a few years of good driving.
If you have any recent moving violations, you'll pay more for insurance. But we found that other types of traffic tickets won't raise your rates by as much as a speeding ticket:
Passing a school bus
Failure to yield
Failure to stop at a red light
Following too closely
Driving without lights
Table shows increases to the cost of an annual full-coverage policy
Parking tickets won’t have any bearing on your insurance rates or your license. Unlike traffic tickets, they don’t necessarily signal to carriers that you’re a riskier driver to insure. You should still pay them though, since ignoring a parking ticket will cost you more in the long run.
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What to do if you get a speeding ticket
If you get a speeding ticket, be sure to remain as calm as you can throughout the stop. Avoid admitting guilt, since it could be used against you in court if you decide to dispute the ticket.
Write down your speed, the weather, and the road conditions — anything that could have influenced your circumstances. Then, you have a few options:
Fight the ticket in court: If you decide to dispute your speeding ticket, make sure you follow the correct procedures if a state, local, or county official issued the ticket. Then build a case using your record of the incident and be prepared to call witnesses. You could also get a lawyer, but this could be expensive.
Accept the ticket, but negotiate the cost: You could agree to pay the ticket at a reduced rate in exchange for saving authorities the costs of taking the case to trial. You may be able to avoid the ticket appearing on your driving record this way, too.
Pay the full price of the ticket: If you don't want to deal with the trouble of fighting the ticket in court or negotiating your fee, you could pay your speeding ticket. Most jurisdictions allow payment online. If you decide to pay the ticket, be prepared for higher insurance rates to go along with your fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you lose your license for speeding?
Yes, states can suspend your license if you receive too many speeding tickets. States' points systems usually have rules for how many points you can get in one to three years. Let's say your state only allows you to get 10 points in 12 months before suspending your license. If your points total more than 10 after a year, you could lose your license, pay fines, and have to enroll in a driving safety course before you could reinstate your license.
Does your record clear after a certain age?
It's a common misunderstanding that your driving record clears after you turn 18 or 21. This isn't the case. Instead, any violations that you get as a young driver will still affect your insurance premiums as you get older. However, as long as you avoid more tickets or violations, your rates will fall over time.
Do unpaid tickets or traffic violations ever go away?
No, unpaid tickets don't go away. Instead, by not paying your traffic tickets you risk increased fines, license suspension, and more. If you don't pay and you don't appear in court to dispute your ticket, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.