Paying Tickets Doesn't Keep Your Record Clean

I talk to people quite often who tell me that their driving record should be clean. They say things like “I’ve received tickets, but I paid them.”

Paying a fine doesn’t keep your record clean.

Nope. In fact, if you have to pay a fine, that most likely means you were found guilty of the charge. Whatever you were ticketed for will go on your driving record.

That’s the whole point of driving records. They keep track of your past infractions and criminal traffic offenses. If paying the ticket kept your record clean, most people would have spotless records.

You basically have two options if you get a Virginia traffic ticket:

1. Pay the ticket. Prepaying the ticket is pleading guilty. If you don’t show up to court, you’ll be convicted in your absence and required to pay within 15 days. Either way, the conviction will go on your driving record.

2. Contest the charge by going to court. If you the judge finds you guilty anyway, the charge will still hit your record. Yes, even if you pay.

There are really only two ways that I know of to not have a ticket go on your driving record:

1. Beat it. If you are found not guilty, nothing goes on your record. You don’t pay anything to the court. You’re free and clear.

2. Have it dismissed with driving school or other court-ordered requirements. Sometimes we can get the judge to give you the option to earn your way out of ticket. In these cases, there is enough evidence to convict you. However, the judge sets requirements for you to meet to have the ticket dismissed. If that happens, your record stays clear.

What’s the moral of the story? If you want to keep your record clean, don’t just pay the ticket.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

What's Next?

Get Free Answers

Andrew wrote the book on reckless driving. It’s the most-reviewed Virginia reckless driving resource on

Get Your Free Copy

Andrew wrote the book on DWI. It’s jam-packed full of answers for your case.

Get Your Free Copy

Our special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

Get Your Free Copy


We provide free consultations for cases in our area. If we can't help, we'll do our best to connect you with someone who can.


Contact Andrew & Fitz