How Long Do Traffic Tickets Stay on Your Record in Utah?

When you get a traffic ticket, you could get points on your driving record or have increased premiums for your car insurance.  If you are trying to get a job that involves driving, you could be denied the position based on black marks on your driving record.  While your driving record is typically permanent, the points start to expire after a certain time period, and most insurers and employers do not look at older tickets.  Our Salt Lake City traffic ticket lawyer at Overson Law explains how long tickets stay on your record and how long they effectively hurt you for.

Are Driving Records Permanent in Utah?

In most states, including Utah, driving records are essentially permanent.  This means that if someone has access to your driving history, it will typically go all the way back to when you got your license.  In most cases, speeding tickets, tickets for running red lights, and other basic traffic offenses will still be visible on your record.  The primary reason that these records are permanent is so that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Department of Public Safety can see previous convictions for reckless driving and driving under the influence, which can have increased penalties and sentences for repeat offenders.

Although a driving record is permanent, there are a few factors to consider that don’t make this such a bad thing.  First, your record is typically not accessible without your permission.  Police, the DMV, and the Department of Public Safety’s Driver License Division can access your record for official matters, but if someone else wants to see your driving record, you usually need to give them permission to check it.  This typically means that an employer cannot secretly check your record – they need to ask you for a copy of the record or get signed permission to access it.  However, they can likely access your criminal record, which would include DUI charges, accidents with injuries that rise to the level of a crime like assault, and reckless driving convictions.

Second, most employers and insurance companies don’t care about older tickets.  Some records checks will ignore anything older than a few years.  People with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), however, must meet state and federal licensing requirements.  Under Utah law, certain motor vehicle violations disqualify you from driving with a CDL until the offense is 10 years old.  This means that a DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, or vehicular homicide / vehicular manslaughter could prevent you from working as a commercial driver for 10 years.  After that period, even if the offense is still on your record, employers and licensure boards may not look back at these offenses.

Traffic Ticket Points System in Utah

In Utah, traffic tickets and moving violations place points on your license.  If someone has no traffic violations, they would have 0 points on their license, which is the ideal.  Each traffic offense has a point value associated with it.  These points continue to stack up as you get them, but there are opportunities to get points removed.  Accumulating enough points could mean facing a driver’s license suspension.

Once you reach 200 points, the DMV will investigate the matter and hold a hearing.  During this hearing, your license might be suspended for 3 months for a first-time suspension or more if you have already had your license suspended before.  The board will look at your record as a whole and see if it is worth suspending the license, even looking back at older tickets.  If you reach 300 points before you have a hearing, your license will be suspended automatically.

Drivers under 21 have a different scale to the system.  These drivers automatically get their license suspended if they get 70 points from one traffic offense.  This typically occurs with reckless driving or speeding 21mph over the speed limit.

Different traffic offenses carry different numbers of points.  Points are typically assessed for moving violations only – which means that tickets for faulty equipment (e.g., a broken taillight) do not typically carry points.  The following common traffic offenses have the following points associated with them:

  • Reckless driving: 80 points
  • Speeding: 35-75 points, depending on the speed (21+ mph over the limit is the highest tier with 75 points)
  • Tailgating: 60 points
  • Running a red light or stop sign: 50 points
  • Illegal passing: 50 points

Some other specific offenses also have point values of 50 points or higher, such as driving the wrong way or failing to yield.  Any other moving violation carries 40 points.

Getting Driver’s License Points Removed in Utah

Drivers who go a long time without receiving another traffic ticket will automatically have points removed from their license.  To get points removed, you need to drive an entire year without having another traffic violation.

The first year without any violations will remove half of the points you have.  If you make it 2 years without getting any additional tickets, all points will be removed.  Even if you do have additional traffic tickets, points older than 3 years will effectively expire.  Since you need to get 200 points in 3 years to have a license suspension hearing, any points older than 3 years are not counted, even if you had other traffic tickets since.

Even though the points might expire, the record of those offenses still exists for other purposes, such as increased sentencing for repeat DUI offenses.  Additionally, even if a traffic issue is expunged or sealed by the courts, it will still remain on your driving record.

Call Our Salt Lake City Traffic Ticket Lawyer for Help with Your Case

If you received a traffic ticket for a serious offense like speeding or reckless driving, you may have a traffic ticket on your record forever.  Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers help people fight traffic tickets to keep their records clear and avoid points on their license.  If you already have the points, our attorneys can also help fight license suspensions or other potential penalties.  Call Overson Law today to schedule a free legal consultation on your case.  Our number is (801) 758-2287.