Ahh, your driving record. It's an important part of your life, whether you realize it or not. Unfortunately, when your record is blemished, it may have more implications than you know because many things in life are connected to how you behave while you're behind the wheel. This includes your credit report, your insurance rates, possibly, even your criminal record, and more.
In this article, we'll talk about things that may be associated with your driving record, and how to keep yours clean. If you've been in an accident and are worried about your record, a car accident lawyer may be able to help you. For a free consultation, call our accident lawyers at (602) 345-1818 or fill out our online form here.
What Is a Driving Record?
Your driving record is an account of how well… or not well… you've driven. It's like a report card from the MVD, and it includes a few details:
- Driver's personal identification information
- Driver's license details
- Any accidents, citations, violations, or convictions (including out-of-state incidents and citations)
- Any fines or fees paid or owed
- License suspensions or revocations
- Any driving courses taken
- Infraction points
In Arizona, your driving record includes your driving history for the last 39 months and the information related to your driver's license. The information above will be included, as well as any out-of-state driving-related incidents, such as out-of-state citations, DUIs, etc.
How Do I Know If My Driving Record Is Good?
In Arizona, a point system is utilized to determine how good or bad your driving record is. The points on your driving record come from driving-related offenses. These points include out-of-state incidents. Each offense is assigned a certain number of points, and if these points compound to reach a specific amount, you could have your driving privileges revoked or suspended. Here's a quick list of some infractions that add points to your record:
- Speeding: 3 points
- DWI offenses: 8 points
- Failure to stop at a traffic signal, causing injury: 4 points
- Failure to stop at a traffic signal, causing fatality: 6 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident: 6 points
- Aggressive or reckless driving: 8 points
- Moving violations: 2 points
Drivers in AZ can request a copy of their driving record from the MVD. This is called a motor vehicle record (MVR).
Why Does My Driving Record Matter So Much?
It's obvious that, as a good citizen, you want a free-and-clear record when it comes to violations and citations, but did you know that your driving record can impact other areas of your life? Here are the top areas your record may impact:
- Your car insurance rates - the more negative reporting that goes onto your record, the more you'll pay for insurance. Some violations and incidents can really cause your rates to soar. If you're convicted of a DUI, for instance, your rates could increase by 30 to 300%. A speeding ticket may cause your rates to increase by 20% or more.
- Your credit score - Deciding not to pay your citations is a bad idea. This can cause your credit report to take a hard hit, and it could make it a lot more difficult to secure a mortgage, an apartment, a car lease, and more. Additionally, if your credit score is damaged, your insurance rates could increase from that alone. That's potentially two hits to your insurance rates. Yikes!
- You could go to jail - Unpaid traffic tickets could result in an arrest for some drivers. Depending on your state and situation, not paying your ticket may result in additional charges. Additionally, depending on the citation, you could be facing criminal charges, which could also land you in jail.
- You may lose your right to vote - If you are convicted of a felony as a result of an incident on your driving record, such as certain DUI convictions, you could lose your right to vote.
Will Points Be Added to My Record After an Accident?
Depending on the specific facts of your car accident case, you may receive points on your driving record. For instance, if you were given a citation after an accident for speeding or aggressive driving, you will have to either accept the charges or challenge them with a traffic ticket lawyer. Citations may have a level of influence on the liability in your car accident case. Often, ticketed drivers have the finger pointed at them, placing them on the hook to pay for the losses related to the accident. Know that just because an officer can make a determination of who was at fault for an accident at the scene, it can be proven otherwise later. This means that having a car accident lawyer on your side to help disprove liability may allow you evidence that could help you challenge the citation, thus avoiding points on your license. While a car accident lawyer can help you avoid paying out large sums to the other party, a ticket lawyer can help you challenge your citation.
Similarly, pleading guilty in traffic court may hurt your personal injury case, especially when liability is in question. For instance, if you were speeding and delivered a speeding ticket from the responding officer, your guilty plea in traffic court may be used as an admission of fact in your civil car accident case. This means that if the other party is trying to pin liability on you, your traffic court plea gives them good evidence to do so. Consulting a personal injury lawyer before traffic court is a good idea to ensure you don't accidentally negatively impact your accident claim.
It's important to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer because every case is unique. A lawyer will help walk you through your specific legal obligations and options based on the facts of your case and advise you of the next best steps.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
If you've been in an accident, call or text our car accident lawyers in Arizona (or New Mexico) for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you've received a traffic ticket in an accident, it is especially important to consult an accident lawyer. Having an injury attorney on your side will allow you to get ahead of the situation so that you are not unfairly or wrongly treated.
Our blog is intended for general information purposes only. It is not intended to serve as official legal advice. We recommend consulting our lawyers for specific information and advice regarding your case.