How Long Does Reckless Driving Stay on Your Record?

Reckless driving is a serious offense that can have lasting consequences. If you are convicted of reckless driving, it can stay on your driving record for several years, depending on the state where you live. In this article, we will explore how long reckless driving stays on your record, how it can affect your insurance rates, and what you can do to remove it from your record.

How long does reckless driving stay on your driving record?

Reckless driving on driving record

Reckless driving convictions are serious and can have significant implications on your driving record. They can negatively affect your insurance rate, job prospects, and future driving privileges. Therefore, it is essential to understand how long a reckless driving citation will stay on your driving record. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how long reckless driving stays on your driving record.

The Duration of Reckless Driving on a Driving Record

Reckless driving charge on your record

The duration of reckless driving on your driving record depends on the state you reside in. Generally, a reckless driving violation stays on your driving record for three to five years. However, the duration varies depending on the seriousness of the offense, how many previous violations you have on your record, and your state’s driving laws.

For example, in Virginia, a reckless driving conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor and will stay on your driving record for eleven years. Furthermore, in Illinois, reckless driving stays on your driving record for at least four years.

Most states will also have a point system for traffic violations, including reckless driving. These points will accumulate and will increase the duration that the violation stays on your driving record.

The Independent Period for Reckless Driving Violations

Reckless driving charge in car

Reckless driving citations stay on your driving record for a specific duration, but it also has an independent period. During the independent period, your driving record will still show the violation even if it’s past the duration date. The independent period is the time that your driving record remains unblemished by any other violations.

For instance, if a reckless driving conviction stays on your driving record for three years and you receive another violation within two years, the reckless driving offense will stay on your driving record. The independent period lasts for the duration the violation stays on your record, plus one day.

Therefore, it is advisable to obey traffic laws and avoid any violations during the independent period. Doing so will ensure that your driving record remains clean and prevent harsher consequences.

How to Remove a Reckless Driving Conviction from Your Driving Record

Legal stamp on paper

Reckless driving citations have long-lasting implications on your driving record, but it is possible to get them removed. Some states allow you to contest your conviction and have it expunged entirely from your driving record. However, the process of expunging a reckless driving citation can be complicated, and it’s advisable to seek legal help.

Another option to have a reckless driving citation removed from your driving record is through traffic school. Many states allow offenders to attend traffic school to reduce or remove the citation. However, this option is not available in all states, and you should consult with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to know if traffic school is an option.

In Conclusion

Reckless driving conviction sign

Reckless driving citations are severe traffic violations that can have lasting consequences on your driving record. They can stay on your record for three to eleven years, depending on the state you reside in. It’s crucial to understand the duration of a reckless driving citation on your driving record and the independent period, which can last longer. If you get a reckless driving citation, it is best to contest it and seek legal help. Additionally, check if your state allows you to attend traffic school to reduce or remove the citation from your record.

How can reckless driving affect your insurance rates?

reckless driving car accident

Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation that can lead to significant consequences. Apart from having to pay fines, court fees, and other legal expenses, the consequences of reckless driving can also affect your insurance rates. The majority of car insurance companies classify reckless driving as a high-risk activity that significantly elevates the chances of a car accident and subsequent insurance claims.

When you get behind the wheel and engage in reckless driving behavior, such as speeding, tailgating, driving under the influence, ignoring traffic signals, passing in no-passing zones, and others, the risk of accidents occurring and causing damage to life and property significantly increase.

Why does reckless driving increase insurance rates?

highway accident

Insurance companies set rates based on the risk factors that a driver presents. If you are a reckless driver and have a history of traffic violations and accidents, you will be seen as a high-risk driver who will probably cost the insurer significant amounts of money in the future. Insurance companies mitigate these risks by raising insurance rates.

When you get caught driving recklessly and receive a traffic ticket, it’s reported to the DMV. Your reckless driving violation goes on your driving record, and the insurer can access this information. In most states, a reckless driving violation remains on your driving record for up to three years, but in others, it can stay for up to ten years.

How much does reckless driving increase insurance rates?

car collision insurance photos

Reckless driving can cause your insurance rates to increase by an average of 30% to 80%. Insurance companies offer different rates, and how much your rates will increase, depends on your insurer, the severity of the violation, your driving history, and the number of reckless driving violations on your driving record.

For instance, if you’re a high-risk driver and have a suspended license due to reckless driving, your insurance rates could go up by as much as several hundred percent, especially at renewal time. In some cases, an insurer may refuse to continue covering you, requiring you to get non-standard insurance, which is often more expensive.

What are your options for reducing insurance premiums?

budget planning images

If your insurance rates increase due to reckless driving activity, there are ways to lower your premiums. Here are some options:

  • Take a defensive driving course to demonstrate to your insurer that you’re serious about driving safely.
  • Consider raising your collision and comprehensive coverage deductibles to reduce your overall insurance costs.
  • Drive defensively, obey traffic rules, and avoid getting caught up in accidents and traffic violations.
  • Keep your driving record clean by eliminating reckless driving and other serious traffic violations.
  • Shop around for insurance rates from different providers and compare quotes to get the best possible deal.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that not all insurers are the same, and each has their own way of determining insurance rates. That’s why it’s best to research about their guidelines and requirements to better prepare you to lower your costs without lowering your coverage.

In conclusion

car insurer

Reckless driving can be a costly and risky activity that can lead to numerous negative consequences in both your personal driving record and car insurance coverage. Increased insurance premiums are one of those consequences that drivers must face. Remember that driving safely and responsibly is the best way to avoid these risks, stay out of trouble, and reduce your insurance costs in the long run.

How to Clear Your Record from Reckless Driving?

clear driving record

Reckless driving is a serious offense that can adversely affect an individual’s life in various ways. A reckless driving conviction usually stays on your record for several years, depending on the state’s laws where you live. Besides, having a reckless driving conviction on your record can impact your insurance premiums, employment opportunities, and even your personal life. It is, therefore, essential to know how to clear your record from reckless driving to prevent these consequences from affecting your life adversely. Here are four ways you can clear your record from reckless driving:

1. Expunge Your Record

expunge record

The most effective way of clearing your record from reckless driving is through expungement. Expungement is a legal process that involves the destruction of a criminal record or removing it from a person’s public record. The expungement process varies from state to state, and the rules surrounding it can be complex and overwhelming. Even so, seeking legal assistance from an attorney can help with the process. It’s essential to note that not all states allow expungement of reckless driving convictions, and the laws surrounding the process can also be complex.

2. Attend Traffic School

traffic school

If you’re not eligible for expungement or find the process too complicated, attending traffic school can be a viable alternative. Most states allow offenders to attend traffic school as part of their penalty, which can reduce or dismiss the charges against them. Traffic school usually comprises a short course that covers topics such as safe driving techniques, traffic laws, and other related topics. Completing this course can demonstrate to the courts that you’ve learned your lesson and are less likely to re-offend, which can significantly help in reducing the charges against you.

3. Wait for the Conviction to Expire

wait for conviction

Another way of clearing your record from a reckless driving conviction is by waiting for the charges to expire. Depending on the state, reckless driving convictions usually remain on the record for between three to ten years. Once the charges expire, they are automatically removed from your record. However, this method can take an extended period, and you’ll have to live with the limitations imposed because of the conviction until it’s removed. Additionally, some states don’t allow the destruction of criminal records, meaning that your conviction may still be accessible by law enforcement agencies, regardless of how long it’s been since the conviction.

4. Hire a Skilled Attorney


Lastly, you can clear your record from reckless driving charges by hiring a skilled attorney. Experienced attorneys have the legal knowledge and expertise required to challenge the charges against you in court, potentially leading to a reduction or dismissal of the charges. They can also help with the expungement process, understand traffic laws, and the requirements to clear your charges. However, hiring an attorney can be expensive, so it’s essential to weigh the cost against the benefit of the outcome.



If you have a reckless driving conviction on your record, it’s essential to take steps to remove it. Removing the conviction can significantly impact your life by improving your employment opportunities, reducing insurance premiums, and restoring your driving privileges. However, the process of clearing your record can be overwhelming, lengthy, and expensive, depending on your state’s laws. The above-discussed methods can help you clear your record from reckless driving charges, making your life much more comfortable and less complicated.

Tips for Preventing Reckless Driving

Preventing Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is the cause of many accidents on the roads, and it is essential to promote safe driving habits to prevent such accidents from happening. Here are some top tips for preventing reckless driving:

1. Keep a Safe and Reasonable Speed

Speed Limit

The first and most crucial tip in preventing reckless driving is adhering to speed limits. Driving at a safe and reasonable speed limits your vehicle’s chances of rolling over and provides better control in case of an emergency. Furthermore, speeding is a violation of traffic laws that carries fines, demerit points, and even jail sentences depending on the speed.

2. Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving involves several activities that take drivers’ attention from the road. Examples include texting, eating, applying makeup, and talking on the phone. These distractions are easy to avoid by making pre-trip preparations such as eating, completing grooming tasks, and making phone calls before starting a journey. Avoiding these distractions makes it easier to focus on the road and avoid accidents.

3. Keep a Safe Distance

Safe Driving Distance

Keeping a safe distance is an essential tip for preventing reckless driving. It allows you to react faster in case of sudden stops or emergency maneuvers by the car ahead. As a rule of thumb, keep at least two or three-second gaps between you and the car ahead to ensure a safe follow distance. Here’s how to calculate: Pick a landmark ahead of the vehicle in front of you. When the vehicle passes the landmark, count how many seconds it takes for you to reach the same point.

4. Avoid Driving Under the Influence

Drunk Driving Law

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a severely reckless and dangerous activity that can cost you your life or others. Alcohol and other drugs impair your driving skills, including judgment, reaction time, and vision. So, it is crucial only to drive when you are sober. Plan ahead for a designated driver or an awaited ride from a ride-share application to avoid impaired driving.

5. Regular Checkups and Maintenance

Vehicle Maintenance

Last but not least, regular checkups and maintenance of your vehicles are crucial in preventing reckless driving. Maintaining proper tire pressure, brake pads, oil maintenance, and many more are imperative in keeping your car safe to drive. A car that breaks down in the middle of the road or blows a tire, leading to an accident, is as dangerous as reckless driving.

Reckless driving is the leading cause of road-related accidents, and it is essential to take necessary precautions to protect yourself and other road users. By adhering to these tips, you can improve your driving skills and maintain safe driving habits, thus leading to safer roads.

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