Does a Citation Go on Your Record? – Answered

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

Does a Citation Go on Your Record

People sometimes act against established norms and principles, which might harm others or themselves. That is why when you have a car-related or driving violation, you are most likely to obtain a citation from a cop.

However, you might wonder, does a citation go on your record?

The answer is yes, and typically, as a safe call process, it can stay on your record for a minimum of 1 year and an average of 3-5 years, depending on the State you live in.

Furthermore, authorities categorize these violations as moving or non-moving, penalty or warning, and criminal or noncriminal offenses.

All You Need to Know About Citations


You may be wondering, is a citation a ticket or a warning? A violation citation and a ticket are similar and have the sole distinction of ‘ticket’ being a less formal term.

Here are the details you can find in a citation:

  • One of the most significant pieces of information is the citation number on a ticket.
  • The overview of the violation.
  • For accuracy of the documentation, specify the specific time and location of the infraction.
  • License plate and driver’s license number.
  • Date set for a court appearance.
  • The deadline and the manner in which to pay your fine.

Check out this example of the citation from the police.


Classification of Citations

There are various types of citations, and they fall into categories, including warning or penalty, moving or non-moving, and criminal or noncriminal offense.

1. Warnings or Penalties


A. Warnings

Warning tickets do not affect your insurance costs or appear on your driving record. Authorities issue for non-threatening or minor misconduct.

Here are some of the reasons to get warning tickets:


  • Violation for speeding
  • Incorrect lane usage
  • Incomplete Stop at Stop Sign
  • Running Red Light
  • Fails to provide right of way
  • Failure to give way to pedestrians at crossing intersections
  • Vehicle registration has expired
  • Excessive number of passenger
  • Parking Contraventions
  • Operating a vehicle with a malfunctioning light

However, if you commit violations while intoxicated by alcohol or any other illegal substances, it would be a different story, and these could lead to severe infractions.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that you can receive multiple warnings or even receive warning tickets from different jurisdictions simultaneously.

However, the situation changes if you commit the same offense within a specific period in the same jurisdiction.

For warning citations, you must remember the following:

  • It is devoid of any fine and serves as a straightforward cautionary measure.
  • You do not have to appear in court, and even if you are determined to be at fault, It won’t go on record; it will only take note of the warning.
  • Warnings won’t impact your insurance premiums; they’ll stay the same.
  • The license doesn’t lose any points; warning citations are just that – warnings, and they don’t go on your record.

Here are some sample images of the warning citation:


B. Penalties


On the other hand, when it comes to penalties, there is a traffic citation. It means a motorist can receive a traffic ticket for specific traffic offenses.

For traffic citations, you must remember the following:

  • You can pay the monetary fine for the ticket or appear in court to contest.
  • In some circumstances, appearing in court is mandatory, whereas paying the traffic violation ticket is not an option.

Minor Violations Include:


  • Tailgating or driving too closely behind another vehicle in front
  • Neglecting to wear a seatbelt
  • Parking offenses
  • Driving without a valid license.

Major Violations Include:

These are infractions that have significant repercussions as they endanger people.


  • Driving faster than the posted speed limit in a school zone
  • Neglecting to notify authorities of an accident
  • Distracted driving (such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or doing things that can take your focus away)
  • Operating a vehicle without insurance
  • Driving while drunk (DWI) or under the influence (DUI).
  • Reckless Driving (racing or bypassing the cops)

These offenses result in increased penalties and insurance costs. Local regulations and the gravity of the violation affect your license, as authorities might revoke it.

Here is a sample image of a traffic citation:


2. Moving or Non-Moving

A. Non – Moving


Parking violations and safety device malfunctions are instances of non-moving offenses. These violations are punished far less than moving violations and do not appear on your driving record.

Here are some of the reasons for non-moving violations:

  • Parking in close proximity to a fire hydrant
  • Parking in a prohibited area
  • Parking in front of a meter that has expired
  • obstructing the sidewalk
  • Double Parking
  • Parking in a handicapped place without a DMV-issued disability plate or placard
  • Infractions for vehicle maintenance and alteration, which include:
  • Muffler noise that is too loud
  • There is no license plate
  • driving with expired license plates
  • No functional headlights or taillights
  • Chipped Windshield
  • Your car has illegal lighting installed.
  • The window tint is darker than permitted by law.

For this type, offenses are generally minor in severity. You may receive a fix-it ticket or Notice to Correct Violation, which requires the driver to rectify the infringement or a combination of paying a fine.

If you fail to address the infraction as agreed, you could face a maximum penalty of $1000 and up to six months in prison. Moreover, it can stay on your record for a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 15 years.

B. Moving


Here are some of the reasons for moving violations:

Minor Violations Include:

  • Exceeding the established speed limit
  • Passing a red light or a stop sign
  • refusal to cede the right of way
  • Performing an illegal U-turn
  • Illegally overtaking another car
  • Failure to stop for a school bus or pedestrian
  • Illegally utilizing a carpool lane

Major Violations Include:


  • Operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously
  • Driving when impaired by drink or drugs
  • Rage on the highway
  • roadway racing on a public roadway
  • Homicide in a motor vehicle

Citations in driving can stay on records for 1-3 years for minor violations and 5-7 years for serious offenses. In severe cases, they may remain on record for up to 15 years or result in license revocation.

3. Criminal or Noncriminal Offense


A. Criminal


Violations that inflict bodily harm or destruction to property or constitute a severe threat may be considered a criminal offense. Authorities may rate it as a 6-point violation, and could stay on your record for 11 years.

At the arraignment in court for criminal violations, you will receive information about the charges and requires you to enter your plea:

  • Accept a guilty plea
  • Not guilty plea
  • Investigate additional legal possibilities.

Here are some of the reasons for criminal violations:


  • Reckless Driving
  • High on drugs or alcohol
  • Without insurance or a proper driver’s license

B. Non-Criminal


Many traffic violations are not defined as criminal in nature. The fine depends on the severity of the broken traffic law.

For instance, parking citations don’t impact a person’s driver’s license or vehicle insurance premiums. People typically pay them to the city where the infringement happened.

Furthermore, if you fail to pay fines on time, you may incur additional penalties, have your license suspended, or even revoked.

It’s important to note that each State has its own point system for violations, and like in other states, this can stay on your record for a minimum of 0-3 years, depending on the severity of the infraction.

How Can I Get a Citation Removed From My Record?

1. On Motor Vehicle Record

To remove a citation from your driving record, here are some steps you might want to consider.

1. Pay the Fine


  • Get a copy of your driving record and review its contents.
  • Determine the offenses’ duration on your record; this varies based on the nature of the violation and the State.
  • Inquire with the DMV about the possibility of having convictions expunged; this may involve meeting specific requirements.
  • Confirm with the DMV that you meet the eligibility criteria. e. Complete a request form; the process may differ by State but generally involves providing basic information.
  • Submit the required fee; be sure to check the amount, deadline, and accepted payment methods, and then contact the DMV.

2. Choose a Driving School


  • Check to see whether a course removes points. Also called as nnnn.
  • Confirm your eligibility.
  • Find a suitable program.
  • Finish the course.

3. Dispute the Ticket


  • Take notes on the surrounding conditions. It is highly significant for offenses that will remain on your record for a long time, such as DUI.
  • Speak with a lawyer.
  • Request that the police conduct an investigation.
  • If the officer doesn’t appear to testify against you, file for dismissal.
  • Create a defensive strategy.
  • Avoid making ineffective excuses.

2. On Insurance Rate


Not every infraction impacts insurance, especially with prompt payments. Insurance companies frequently excuse minor first-time violations.

If you are confused about your insurance coverage, read it or go on your insurance carrier for assistance.

They will give you specific details about violations and accidents and how they impact your insurance expenses.

You can also take a defensive driving course to help you save your insurance and remove those citations.


This article gave us a better understanding of does a citation go on your record. We also learned about the different types of infractions and the severity of certain violations.

Furthermore, you’ve gained insight into safe call processes that can help remove citations from your motor vehicle record or insurance, such as participating in an elective defensive driving program.

So, the next time you face a traffic violation, you’ll be more cautious to avoid warnings and other infractions that can negatively impact your record.

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