How to Clean a Driving Record

By Jennifer Williams ; Updated April 13, 2017
DMV building

Each state governs points on your driving record differently. Generally, you can clean points off your record by attending a state-certified driving course, fighting the citation in court, or applying to expunge your record. You'll have to act quickly, since some of these options are only available at the time you pay your ticket. To clean your driving record, you’ll first need to get a copy of it, so you'll know exactly what it contains. Go to the driver license office or submit a request by mail, and be prepared to pay a nominal fee for that service. Once you have the record and see what needs to be cleaned up, you can take the necessary steps to make that happen.

Attend Driver School

Ask if your local DMV office of your state removes points if you attend an approved driver improvement course. Many states will withhold or remove points associated with some citations if you elect this option, but make sure you opt in within the designated time frame. Some states – Florida and North Dakota, for example – require you elect this option at the time you pay the ticket. Otherwise, you lose your window and are stuck with the points. Other states only allow you to take advantage of this option once during a specified time period, such as one year. Make sure to get a list of approved courses, as completing a course not approved by your state will not allow the DMV to clear the points from your record. Submit proof of course completion to the DMV.

Wait It Out

Maintain a clean driving record. Many states will decrease the points on your license over time. California, for example, releases points earned for single point violations after three years, while points earned from a DUI or hit and run are released after 10 years. Maryland also releases points over time, but only if you have not earned any further citations.

Fight Citations In Court

You may want to hire a lawyer for this, depending on the severity of the charge and the number of points at risk. If you want to represent yourself, some states, such as Pennsylvania, have traffic court forms posted on their websites for use in filing your case.

Expunge Your Record

Request the DMV expunge your driving record. This is a manual removal of points that aren't removed automatically. For example, this situation arises in Maryland if you've gotten a new citation, or if the points are assigned to your record in error. As with automatic point removal, each state has its own procedures. Ask your DMV about its process and required forms. If you decide to pursue this option, get the forms, and fill them out and submit them according to your DMV's instructions.

About the Author

An attorney for more than 18 years, Jennifer Williams has served the Florida Judiciary as supervising attorney for research and drafting, and as appointed special master. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Jacksonville University, law degree from NSU's Shepard-Broad Law Center and certificates in environmental law and Native American rights from Tulsa University Law.