Generaly speaking, most citations and or accidents stay in the driver's record for Three years, with the exception of major incidents such as DUI, besides the huge bad impact it can have on you and others, a DUI stays in the record for ten years (Never drink and drive!).
The best thing you can to yourself after you have had an accident or a citation is know where you stand, figuratively speaking, and then act accordingly.
If you had an accident, you can NOT do traffic school, all you can do is find out when that accident will hit your record and right before it does, go secure a new 12 months auto policy, your premium will be based on that accident not showing in your record and you keep your low premium going for a full year.
When it comes to citations/Tickets, you can be eligible to do traffic school, if you haven't done it within the last 18 months and if you don't have too many citations, MAKE SURE you ask for traffic school when paying your ticket, I hear people always saying "Well, they didn't offer it to me so I figured I'm not eligible for it" WRONG!. Most of the times, they will not mention it to you, you will have to ask for it!. Nowadays, you don't even have to go to the courthouse anymore, you can do all of that online, including the traffic school, you don't have to go to an actual physical class anymore. After you pay for your ticket and traffic school. And MAKE SURE you actually do the traffic school, some people think that just by paying that extra fee to the court for traffic school that it's all they have to do.
Most courts charge around $50 extra for traffic school, they'll give you a list of the eligible school, go to Groupon and you can purchase an online traffic school sometimes as low as $6. Once completed and you pass, the school automatically notifies the court and the DMV, BUT it is your responsibility to double check with the court and the DMV to make sure they received it.
By doing the traffic school, that citation won't show in your driving record and your insurance premium won't be affected.
In the case that you can't do traffic school, as mentioned with accidents, make sure you secure a new 12 months auto policy right before the citation hits your record.
At least this way if you are going to pay extra for insurance because of an accident or citation and you can't do traffic school, instead of paying for 3 years, secure your low premium for the first year and just deal with the last two...
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