How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record in DC?

Getting involved in an auto accident that you were found at fault for might have unexpected effects in the months and years to come. Unfortunately, those long-term effects usually stick around for a while after your wreck, impacting both the annual rates you have to pay for car insurance coverage and potentially the status of your driver’s license in the District of Columbia.

Figuring out how long an accident will stay on your record in DC can be a somewhat complicated process, since many factors could affect the length of time those records are kept. Guidance from a knowledgeable car accident attorney can be vital in determining what your driving record will look like after a crash and taking proactive action to protect your best interests with that information in mind.

The Impact of an At-Fault Crash on Insurance Rates

Every state keeps track of the insurance information of every person involved in any motor vehicle accident in that state. It is possible to pay a fee and look up insurance records for any vehicle licensed in the District by using DC’s online record search, requesting them in person at a DMV service center, or requesting them by mail directly from the DC DMV. However, it is essential to note that this does not include the vehicle owner’s personal information.

The DC DMV also provides this data to insurance companies, usually for a maximum of seven years after an accident occurs. In turn, insurance companies will almost always increase the insurance rates of anyone involved in a crash they were found to be at fault for. Depending on the provider, this is usually for anywhere from three to five years after the incident. Even a single impact could raise your premium by 42 percent on average, with even steeper increases likely after successive accidents.

How Long Do Moving Violation “Points” Last in DC?

Another thing that can impact your life is the “points” systems that the DC DMV uses to track moving violations in the District. Different types of traffic offenses—including violations in DC and those in other states—are assigned values of anywhere from two to twelve points by the DMV. Acquiring more than eight points inside a continuous two-year period puts you at risk of having your driver’s license suspended or, in extreme situations, revoked.

It is possible to have these points reduced as points for moving violations over two years old are generally removed from your record. Also, completing a defensive driving course online or attending in-person traffic school could get points removed earlier.

Contact a DC Attorney Today to Learn More About the Effect an Accident Has on Your Driving Record

A qualified attorney could give you more information about how long an accident will stay on your record in DC and guidance about possibly mitigating the effects of that crash during a private consultation. Call today to learn more.