District of Columbia Driving Record

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Your driving record contains a combination of your personal information and your driving history, including past infractions, accidents, and license suspensions. In D.C., you can obtain a copy of your driving record via mail, going online, or visiting the DMV.
You should make an effort to maintain a good driving record, and not just because paying for tickets is a huge inconvenience—a poor driving record can make it difficult to find cheap car insurance, too. 
Here, the car insurance comparison app and licensed broker Jerry explains what you can find on your driving record and how to obtain one in Washington, D.C. 

What is a driving record?

Your driving record includes all public records of your driving behavior alongside some personal information, like your address and license number. Sometimes, driving records are referred to as motor vehicle reports.   

How do I access my driving record in D.C.?

You can obtain your Washington, D.C. driving record in three ways.
  • Online: Go to the DC DMV Driver Records web page and request the option for either an Uncertified or Certified Driver Record (which has the official DC DMV stamp).
  • By mail: Enclose documentation with your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, photocopy of proof of identity, and cash or a check payable to the D.C. Treasurer.
  • Mail to DC DMV
Attn: Driver Records
PO Box 90120
Washington, D.C. 20090
The fee for a three- or five-year history is $7, while a 10-year or full history costs $13

Requesting a driving record for someone else

The DC DMV only permits the following individuals to obtain a driving record for someone other than themselves:
  • A representative of the driver, such as a child or spouse, who has written permission from the driver and a copy of their proof of identification including the driver’s signature
  • Members of law enforcement who have proof that the driver is involved in an investigation
  • Government representatives who are conducting established activities where records are necessary (e.g., security measures or recruitment)
  • Attorneys representing the driver who have the driver’s written authorization
  • Representatives from an insurance company who have written authorization
In each case, you must furnish the driver’s name, birth date, and driver’s license or Social Security number.
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Where else can I find my driving record in DC?

The DC DMV is the best place to get an official, accurate driving record. That said:

Car insurance agents

Since insurance companies take a look at your driving record when deciding what rates to charge you, your agent will have a copy on file and can likely give you one.

Online third-party vendors

You can use a third-party site to obtain a driving record quickly, but it may be less accurate and more expensive than just going through the DMV. 
Beware of giving out personal information like your Social Security number to vendors unless you’re sure they are legitimate.

What is on my record?

Your driving record includes basic information about you and extensive information about your driving history, including:
  • Your address and license number
  • Past infractions, violations, and accidents
  • Points accrued for infractions
  • Tickets and fees paid and unpaid
  • License suspensions
  • Driving courses completed
In general, points accumulated due to violations will stay on your record for two years after you receive the ticket. 
If necessary, you can petition to have points removed immediately if you do the following:
  • Plead guilty to any charges
  • Pay any required fines
  • Ask for approval from a DC DMV hearing examiner
  • If approved, take a D.C.-approved defensive driving course within 30 days

DMV point system in D.C.

Like most states and jurisdictions, the District of Columbia operates on a points system. The more serious your offense, the more points are added to your record.
For example, low point violations (under five points) include following too closely behind another vehicle, not wearing a seatbelt, or speeding by less than 20 mph over the speed limit.
Moderate point violations (five to eight points) include speeding by more than 20 mph, failing to yield to pedestrians, and reckless driving. 
Finally, high point violations (over 12 points) include eluding the police, driving with a suspended license, and driving under the influence (DUI/DWI). 
If you accrue 10 or 11 points, your license will be suspended for 90 days. If you have 12 or more points, your license will be revoked and cannot be reinstated for at least six months. 

How can my driving record affect me?

Your driving record is an important indicator of your overall responsibility and trustworthiness. For that reason, insurance companies, recruiters, and other parties will consult your driving record when making decisions about you.

Your insurance premium

Keeping a clean driving record is an important step towards enjoying low insurance rates. If you have a history of infractions, you can expect your premiums to rise—sometimes by up to 300%. 
Furthermore, if you have a major offense like a DUI on your record, some companies may deny you coverage altogether.

Your ability to drive

As mentioned above, once you have a certain number of points on your record, your license will be suspended or revoked. 

Your credit rating

While your record doesn’t directly correlate with your credit rating, a failure to pay fines assigned to you will. 
Most areas will give you a grace period and then charge late fees once the period is over. If the fine remains unpaid, it will be turned over to a collection agency. 

Your job prospects

Many employers will take a glance at your driving record as part of a general background check, but your driving record is a very important consideration if you want to be employed in firefighting, police work, delivery services, or other vocations heavily reliant on driving.
Key Takeaway Your driving record is more than just a document. It can have a significant impact on other areas of your life—so it’s in your best interest to keep it as clean as possible.

What is the difference between driving records in each state?

The fact that your driving record is explicitly in the name of your state doesn’t mean that you won’t be held accountable for infractions that happen outside your state.
Most states have entered into an agreement to share driver information across state lines called the Driver’s License Compact (DLC). 
So if you get caught speeding in another state, your state can still find out and both states can take appropriate action.
Only five states are not part of the DLC:
  • Georgia
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin
These states still may have other arrangements that enable them to receive and share your driving record.
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