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Do traffic offenses stay on my driving record?

A conviction of violating traffic law is something that can stay on your driving record for a long time, perhaps even for the rest of your life. Such offenses are counted whether they are committed in Virginia or in other states. How long a conviction remains on a driving record, according to the Virginia DMV, depends on the severity of the offense.

Many convictions will stay on a driving record for 11 years. These offenses may include instances of reckless driving, such as passing an emergency vehicle or school bus, excessive speeding, or a failure to signal. Intoxicated driving, as well as refusing to take a breath test, or committing manslaughter while intoxicated, can also remain on a DMV record for 11 years. Other offenses include driving with a suspended license or habitual violations of traffic law.

A few traffic violations, however, may remain on a driving record for just a few years. Some speeding violations, such as going twenty miles above the speed limit, only stay on a DMV record for five years. A conviction for eluding police could remain on a record for 11 years if it was a felony offense, but as a misdemeanor it may only be recorded for 3 years. A conviction for operating an unsafe vehicle can also remain on a record for 3 years.

Drivers who operate a commercial vehicle while violating one or a number of state laws will have such convictions on their driving records permanently. For instance, a person may drive a commercial vehicle even though the driver is disqualified from doing so. Other violations include driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or if a person refuses to take a blood or breath test if stopped while driving a commercial vehicle.

Keeping a clean driving record is important since auto insurance companies use them to determine insurance rates, plus a driving record with too many offenses may cause suspension of a driving license. Contesting a traffic violation can help keep your driving record free of convictions, as well as avoid jail time and fines. Do not consider this article as legal advice for your situation; it is intended only as general information.