How Long Does a Speeding Ticket Stay On Your Record?


A typical speeding ticket will stay on your record for three years. But this can go up to ten years, depending on the laws and jurisdiction. In some places, these records are permanent, though not the punitive “points” associated with them. Speeding tickets are minor infractions, but they can accumulate and affect both your ability to drive as well as your insurance premiums. Furthermore, employers that pull up driving records might be able to see your tickets, which could hamper employment opportunities.

Going eight miles an hour in a two-miles-per-hour zone is not only egregious but can also earn you a speeding ticket. That, at least, is what happened to Walter Arnold. The first known automotive speeding ticket was issued to Walter Arnold, of East Peckham, U.K., for breaking the law and going 8 mph in a 2 mph zone meant for motor vehicles in 1896. The funny thing about this story is that, due to its historical significance, Walter Arnold has had this speeding ticket on public record for over 100 years. For everyday people, however, a speeding ticket can be an annoying blemish on the record that can cause problems or cost money down the line.

How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?

Most speeding tickets will take an average of 3 years to fall off your record. But in some states, like Hawaii, it will take ten years. In Montana and Alabama, the speeding ticket stays on your record indefinitely. Where the Montana-Alabama approach is not used, it will take, depending on the state, between one and 10 years to dispel a speeding ticket. Unpaid speeding tickets, on the other hand, can result in a warrant for your arrest.

How speeding tickets vary from state to state in time on record

Every single state will have a different time frame for dispelling speeding tickets from one’s record. In Arizona, for example, a speeding ticket only stays on a person’s record for one year. In Hawaii, receiving a speeding ticket means a 10-year blemish on, perhaps, an otherwise pristine record.

How does having a speeding ticket affect you?

Having a speeding ticket on your record not only stains you as a misdemeanor criminal, it can also hurt your wallet.

Driving privileges

Most states will have a driving record points system for speeding tickets. Furthermore, how much you were speeding and where will affect these points. For example, driving 72 mph in a 60 mph highway zone will earn you a ticket, but most likely a minimal one with minimal points. On the other hand, driving 72 mph in a 20 mph zone can impose a huge chunk of points on your license and even earn you a reckless driving charge. Once you accumulate a certain amount of points, your license will get suspended. At least that’s according to Ryan Stump, a criminal defense attorney.

Pro tip: Make sure to pay for your speeding tickets!

Car insurance rates

Car insurance companies are in the business of risk mitigation, which means that any hint of driving outside the law can up your insurance premiums very quickly. A car insurance premium can go up 20–25%, depending on the insurance company and the speeding infraction.

Job opportunities

In this day and age, all data about your past and present is easily available to employers looking to do background checks. If fact, it can cost you in the job search, says Ben Luftman, a criminal defense attorney based in Ohio.

What about unpaid speeding tickets?

An unpaid speeding ticket is a completely different story and can stay perpetually on your record. Not only is there that unpleasant fact, but you could also have a warrant issued for your arrest in any state, says Luftman, adding that a warrant for your arrest may not be the end of negative conequences.

What if you can’t pay your speeding ticket?

If you can’t pay your speeding ticket, there are some options:

Payment plans

Many courts offer payment plans that allow you to pay the ticket over time rather than all at once. This can make it more manageable if you’re facing financial hardship. Different jurisdictions will give different payment plan options, so check with whomever issued you the speeding ticket. Or contact the court specified on your citation, if applicable.

Fee reduction

Some jurisdictions may allow you to request a reduction in the fine based on your financial situation. You may need to provide documentation of your income and expenses to qualify. Some jurisdictions might even forgive all fees. Check with whomever issued the speeding ticket or with the court specified on your citation, if one is listed.

Community service

In some areas, you may be able to perform community service in lieu of paying the fine. This option is often available to those who can demonstrate financial hardship.

Legal aid

If you’re unable to pay for the ticket, you may want to consult with a legal aid organization in your area. They may be able to provide free or low-cost legal assistance and help you explore your options.


Some speeding tickets can be forgiven in bankruptcy court, according to David Schultz, a bankruptcy attorney based in Ohio.

How can you get a speeding ticket off your record?

So you have a speeding ticket and don’t think you deserve it. Or you just want to get it off your record, reduce the resulting points, or both. Here is what you can do

Contest the ticket

Your ticket should have instructions on how to contest it, or you can contact the government entity that issued the ticket. If you can contest it, which might even end up in a court date, you can expel it permanently if successful. In some jurisdictions, your traffic citation will include a court date where you can appear to settle your ticket, request special arrangements (such as community service to pay your fine), or arrange a trial date to contest the ticket.

Driving courses

Some states will allow traffic violators to take driving courses which will allow them to reduce points. This is particularly important for an individual with multiple infractions, whose livelihood might be harmed by an additional ticket and points. Most courts will recommend a defensive driving course as the education of choice for speeders.


How long do other traffic tickets stay on your record?

As these types of infractions are decided by different states and jurisdictions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for every traffic violation.

How long do license points impact your driving privileges?

This can vary from state to state, as well. For instance, in North Carolina, if you continue to break the speed limit and accrue 12 points in three years, your license will be suspended. North Dakota will actually remove a point from your record every three months you go without an additional traffic infraction. Every state will have different rules and regulations.

How long will a ticket affect your insurance rates?

As long as the speeding ticket stays on your motor vehicle record, it will have an effect on your auto insurance premium as well as various other insurance costs. This doesn’t mean your car insurance costs won’t go down over time with good driving habits. Which auto insurers you utilize will also affect if and how your rates change over time.

Key takeaways

  • A typical speeding ticket will stay on your record for three years. But this can go up to ten years, depending on the laws and jurisdiction. In some places, these records are permanent, though not the punitive points associated with them.
  • A speeding ticket can have an impact on driving privileges, driver’s license points, auto insurance rates, and even job opportunities.
  • An unpaid speeding ticket could result in a warrant for your arrest. There are options if you are unable to pay, such as a payment plan or community service.
  • If you have a speeding ticket and want to get it off your record or reduce points, the options are to contest the ticket or take driving courses to lessen points.
View Article Sources
  1. Additional Information: Traffic Cases in Nebraska — Nebraska Judicial Branch
  2. Guide to Traffic Tickets — California Judicial Branch
  3. Traffic Violations — Oregon Judicial Branch
    In addition to these sample resources from three states, most states, counties, and courthouses will have similar online resources worth consulting.
  4. Following the Money on Fines and Fees: The Misaligned Fiscal Incentives in Speeding Tickets — Urban Institute
    Readers curious about the economic and political implication of the fines and fees associated with speeding tickets may enjoy this scholarly take on the subject.
  5. Citation vs. Ticket: Is There a Difference? — SuperMoney
  6. How Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance Rates? — SuperMoney
  7. How To Clear Your Driving Record To Save on Car Insurance — SuperMoney
  8. What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Ticket? — SuperMoney