How to Access Your Own Traffic Violation Records

There are certain situations in which you might need to know what exactly appears on your traffic violation records. Maybe you paid a ticket but aren’t sure if it was recorded properly on the record. Maybe you’re wondering if an old offense has officially “dropped off” by now. Maybe you’re applying for a driving job in which they’re going to check your records, and you want to see them for yourself so that you know what to expect. Whatever your reasoning, there are a few different ways to go about accessing your own traffic violation records.

Request the Record from the DMV

This is the simplest way to get the record, and there are a few different approaches you can use. Visiting your local county courthouse or DMV in person will probably get you where you need to go; if not, a look online at the county website, or a phone call to the DMV information line in your area, will be helpful as well. There is sometimes a small processing fee for requested records, and in many cases there is a waiting period, depending on where the records are stored and how long it takes the clerks to access them for you. In most cases, if the record is not available to you in person on the same day, it will be mailed to you within the few weeks following the request.  

Check the Public Record

This is a more complex way of getting your traffic violation records, but if for some reason requesting them from the DMV is not possible or not desired, then technically you can achieve the same result doing it this way. Traffic violations are considered public record, meaning the information is available to anyone who wants it, and is typically published in some sort of database. Many facts of public record are published in local newspapers, such as police reports or Public Notice columns, where printing the information constitutes notification of the public.

So, if you have some time on your hands and access to some sort of database of public records and notices in your area, you can probably find your traffic violations this way. If you’re lucky you won’t have to search multiple newspapers for each separate violation. There is a summarization called a Driver Abstract that is also public record, which contains a list of violations and other public information for each licensed driver in the area. If you can find a database of Driver Abstracts and locate yourself within it, it’ll be much simpler to find what you need.

Getting Help

If you have a problem locating your records, or if you find them and discover that there is a problem such as an outstanding ticket, you should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer. An attorney can help you to navigate through the process of getting your records and of coping with what is in them.

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