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No matter how serious, speeding tickets are a real bummer. Not only do you waste time sitting on the side of the road while getting the ticket, you’ll have to spend time and money dealing with potential fines and court costs. It’s a bad deal all the way around, and it could potentially affect your future.
Even after you cough up your spare beer money, you’re still not completely out of the woods. Speeding tickets and points on your driving record can cause your insurance rates to increase and may have a negative impact on your ability to register your car or renew your license if you’ve had a lot of citations.
What are the points? How does your driving record work? The Drive’s crack team of researchers have, unfortunately, been in the driver’s seat for more than a few tickets and are here to help you understand what you’re in for.
Let’s get rolling—slowly.
What Exactly Is Your Driving Record?
Your driving record, also known as your motor vehicle report (MVR), is a record of your driving history that includes offenses like speeding tickets. It’s not just negative, though, as driving records also contain driver’s license information, such as age, sex, and address. When you hand your license over to a police officer during a traffic stop, the officer can see when you had your last ticket, as well as the status of your license and any other offenses you’ve racked up.
How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Your Driving Record?
You may have heard the term “points” to describe driving records. This refers to a value that has been assigned to various infractions, but there’s no universal set point number for speeding tickets or other offenses from state to state. Even within states, point values can vary wildly with the severity of the offense. In Arkansas, for instance, a speeding ticket for traveling up to 10 mph faster than the limit will net you three points, but heavy speeding of 31+ mph faster than the limit will get you eight points.
Accumulating points on your license isn’t something you should aspire to, despite the fact that more points in almost every other aspect of your life is a good thing. As your lead foot earns you more points on your license, you’ll start to notice changes in your insurance rates and perhaps your ability to renew your license or registration, depending on where you live and on how reckless you’ve been. Thing golf, the lower the better.
So, How Long Will Those Points Stay On My License?
First, we should clarify that the thing you need to think about here is points. Speeding tickets lead to points, and it’s the points that stay on your license or driving record. That said, the bad news first: Depending on where you live, you might never get rid of points on your license.
Insurance aggregator Everquote found that Montana never clears speeding tickets and points from your license, but notes that other states have much less strict rules on the subject. If you live in Mississippi or Tennessee, for instance, you can expect to have points roll off your license in 12 months, while other states such as Oklahoma will wipe the points away after five years. The national average is three years, but there’s a ton of variance from place to place.
Moving Violation Terms You Should Know
A speeding ticket is a citation that is issued by a police or traffic enforcement officer to denote that you were traveling in excess of the posted speed limit. The cost of the ticket and the penalties associated with it will depend heavily on where you live and how fast you were traveling when the officer spotted you.
Points refer to a tracking mechanism that is used to record the number of traffic violations you’ve accumulated during a period of time. As you rack up points, your insurance costs can increase and you may have trouble registering your car or renewing your driver’s license. Depending on where you live, points can remain on your license for as few as 12 months, or forever.
Being convicted of a traffic offense is not as dramatic as it sounds. It simply means that you were found guilty of speeding or of doing whatever the officer cited you for doing.
In some cases, you might be able to attend a driving or traffic school to lessen the impact of points on your driving record. The availability and benefit of driving schools vary from place to place. If you’re in trouble for serious traffic violations like reckless driving or for driving under the influence, you’re probably not going to have an option to lessen your penalty by taking a class.
FAQs About Speeding Tickets On Your License
You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!
Q. Will My Insurance Rates Increase After a Speeding Ticket?
A. This depends. If you accept the ticket and are able to complete a safe-driving course, maybe not. If you’re caught speeding way over the limit, you may have to bite the bullet and pay more. It’s worth checking with your insurance provider to find out what you’ll be facing if you get a ticket.
Q. Can I Contest a Speeding Ticket?
A. Sure, but your chances of beating a police officer and a radar gun in court are very slim. You’ll be on the hook for court costs and any other fees, too, so it’s usually best to admit you were wrong and move forward with the consequences. Even if you feel you were wrongly pulled over, it’s never ok to run or try to evade law enforcement.
Q. How Many Points Does a Speeding Ticket Add To My License?
How fast were you going, speed racer? A small offense might net you as few as two or three points, while a big ticket can get you dozens. How those points actually impact your life will depend on where you live.
Q. Can I Use a Radar Detector To Avoid Tickets?
A. You can, but keep in mind that some states have laws against the use of radar detectors. Just make sure you’re on the right side of the law when using devices to detect and avoid police problems.
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