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What Are DMV Records?
Have you ever wondered what was on your driving record? If you haven't checked your records recently, you may be in for a surprise, and it may not be a pleasant one. For example, you may have information on your record that you were not aware of, and it's caused your auto insurance premiums to increase. There are several other reasons to check out your driving record. So how can you do this, why is it so important, and what exactly are DMV records? Let's take an in-depth look at the subject and find the answers.
What is a DMV Record?
DMV means Department (or Division) of Motor Vehicles. Since each state handles driver's licenses and registrations, you have to go through your state office. Most states have a department of motor vehicles, but they may have different names. For example, in Georgia, it's known as the Department of Drivers Services. In Maryland, it's the Motor Vehicle Administration. If you live in Maine, you'll need to contact the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles).
For many states, the DMV is part of the Department of Transportation, but in some states, it's part of the Department of Revenue. As you can see, there are differences between states so you'll need to make sure you go to the right government department.

What's On My Record?

The DMV keeps track of your complete driving record, and they may have information such as:
  • Traffic tickets issued to you - can include speeding tickets and more serious violations.
  • Driver license status - tells you if your license is current or expired. It will also show if you have a suspended or revoked license.
  • Points - many states use a point system, and each traffic violation is worth so many points. When you reach the maximum allowed points in a year, you are subject to suspension.
  • Violations - if you have been convicted of traffic violations, it will be in your report. It may also include fines you paid.
  • DUI records - may show DUI convictions and other details.

Vehicle Information

Your state keeps track of information about the vehicles you own too. This info is available from the DMV, and it's usually called a title report or registration record. It may show:
  • The status of vehicles you currently own.
  • List of vehicles
  • Registration status of your vehicles
  • Your current titles
  • Vehicle title history

Are There Options?

Many states give you the option of ordering certified records. They are a little more expensive than standard records but can be used as legal proof. Some records cover a five-year period, and some may contain your entire history, depending on the state in which you live.

How to Get Your DMV Records

If you want a copy of your records, you can go through two different sources:
  • Official State Agency
  • Records Service

Ordering Records from Your State

Once you have the information on your state agency, you may contact them by phone, email, or visit the official website. Although the rules and fees vary from state to state, here is some general information about ordering your records.

How to Order

You can order records in most states in three different ways:
  • Visit the office
  • Mail
  • Online

Visiting Your Local DMV Office

Check with your local DMV website to find the nearest office location. Visit the office during business hours and the staff there will show you exactly what you need to do. You may also call them for more details and information on fees.

Mail Service

Most states offer mail service, and you'll need to fill out a specific form. They can usually be downloaded online and printed out. Instructions, mailing addresses, and fee details are included on the forms.

Internet

Getting your DMV records online varies a great deal, depending on where you live. Some states have websites that require you to sign up for an online service, and there may be an annual fee, especially if you are a business that needs frequent records for background checks. However, most states have affordable online fees and offer Internet records services.

Do I Really Need a Copy of My DMV Records?

It's important to view your driving records from time to time, just like it's important to check out your credit report. There could be things on there that are causing you problems or may cause issues in the future. For example, suppose you attended traffic school to remove a ticket, but it's still on your record. This could affect your auto insurance premiums or even worse, could put points on your driving record. If you already have points, it could lead to a suspension that wasn't your fault.
Do you drive for a living? If you have a CDL, your employer may routinely check your driving record, and if you apply for a job, potential employers will view your records. Any wrong info may keep you from getting the job.

Correcting Mistakes

If you find errors in your reports, you can get them corrected. However, you'll need to contact your local DMV to find out what to do. In some cases, you may need to present evidence to remove the error. Keeping your records current is the best way to avoid many problems.

Who Can Access My Records?

Can anyone ask for your records and view them without your permission? In some states, the answer is "yes" because driving records are public information that everyone can see. However, anyone cannot view your private information and contact details. This information is protected by federal privacy laws. Your records can be accessed (in most states) by the following sources:
  • Government agencies
  • Potential employers
  • Law enforcement
  • Federal, state, and local court systems
  • Auto insurance companies

Help is Available

It's not always easy to find the right information when you search online. In fact, it can be confusing. However, online record services make the process easy, and they can help you get the records you need.
 
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