Market Trends

Beware of Expunged MVR Records

March 11, 2011

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Can violations, such as speeding tickets and DUIs, be expunged from an MVR? The answer is yes, and it is occurring with greater frequency – more so in some jurisdictions than others.

For instance, one fleet manager reports, “The most notorious jurisdiction is Puerto Rico.” He cites employees in Puerto Rico who successfully expunged not one, but a series of moving violations from their MVRs. Illinois and Pennsylvania are two states where expungement of driving violation records is also occurring with greater frequency.

“We had one employee with a DUI in Illinois who was successful in having it expunged. This was a two-year-old DUI,” said the fleet manager. Another example cited by a fleet manager is: “The prior MVR showed a driver with four speeding tickets, but these violations were expunged from the driver’s record when I ordered a new MVR.”

What is Expungement?

In terms of MVRs, expungement is a legal procedure to remove from view part of an individual’s driving record. In some jurisdictions, expunged records can still be considered by courts in future cases or used by law enforcement and government agencies for limited purposes. This should be of concern to fleet managers.

The legal question is whether the prior MVR with the speeding violations or DUI is “discoverable” if there is a future lawsuit. What is your company’s liability exposure by allowing an employee to continue driving for company business after knowing a record was expunged? Legal opinions go both ways. However, if you are a defendant, guess which position the plaintiff’s attorney will argue. The critical question, explains negligent entrustment defense attorney Rick Alaniz, is to make sure you can demonstrate your “due diligence” in vetting your drivers. “This is one of the areas of the law where the process you use is as important as the actual result,” said Alaniz.

Expungement cases are more frequent with employees who require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers with prior infractions often hire attorneys to seal or expunge records so they do not appear on an MVR. For instance, the State of Illinois allows, under certain circumstances, the sealing or expungement of parts of the records of a conviction. Sealing a conviction prevents the public, including employers, from gaining access to that record. One CDL driver wrote online: “I had to have a lawyer expunge all my tickets off of my driving record because no company would take me in their CDL training program.”

Although a CDL driver may succeed in expunging his or her records, this violates Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. “The FMCSA has a regulation that requires states to process violations as written, and not allow expunging, masking, deferred judgment, or diversion of violations when it comes to CDL licensed drivers,” said Thomas Bray, transportation editor for J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. “However, many local courts are not familiar with this rule and still allow the practices of masking, deferring, diverting, and expunging.”

States keep motor vehicle records on all drivers, but the duration of these records vary by state. In general, most states allow convictions of ticketed moving violations to remain on a driver’s history for three, five, seven, or 10 years. “Don’t forget about older MVR records,” said Alaniz. “Expunged records mean that going forward, a driver will have his record clear, but his previous MVR, which you should retain, will show the original violation.”

In most cases, the only way to remove violations from a driving record is by the passage of time. However, each state has a different policy that allows someone to expunge violations from a driving record. Laws and conditions that specify when a record can be sealed or expunged vary by case and by state.

In most states, to have a record expunged, it must be a first-time offense, but not always. Most often there is a period before a petition can be made to the courts to have an expungement. To be eligible to dismiss a criminal conviction, probation must be completed, or if no probation was given, all fines and restitution must be resolved. The expungement procedure generally involves a petition to the court, which includes an affidavit and motion seeking the relief, which is reviewed by a judge.

After expungement, the record will not show up on an MVR. The law varies state by state, but generally a prospective employee does not have to disclose an expunged conviction when applying for a job. A person with an expunged criminal conviction can honestly answer “no” when asked if they have any previous convictions. From a legal standpoint, if a record has been expunged, it doesn’t exist.

“However, in most states, nothing prohibits you from asking about expunged records, except California and several other states,” said Alaniz. “If your state allows it, be sure to ask on the employment application if a driver has had anything expunged and, if so, what. Either the driver will admit to the expunged violations, in which case, you now know about it and can deny employment on that basis; or the driver will deny it, which is evidence that he or she lied on the employment application and you can perform due diligence in deciding whether to terminate.”

Let me know what you think.

[email protected]


  1. 1. Karen [ March 13, 2011 @ 11:35AM ]

    In Florida, you cannot expunge your driver's license record. Even if you are successful at sealing a DUI court and arrest record, for example, you still cannot <a href="">expunge record</a> of the DUI on your license. I think the suggestion at the end of the article solves the problem in other states though, that do allow record expungement of driver records - just ask the question directly so the candidate is either forced to reveal or will lie - either of which can screen the candidate for employment.

  2. 2. Mike B. [ March 18, 2011 @ 05:16PM ]

    One other type of court situation to look out for is "Defered Judgement", this is were the state gives a driver a probationary period, typically one year. If the driver meets the requirements set forth in the Deferred Judgement there is no conviction. If they are a CDL driver, the state must show any suspension of driving privledges. Idaho and Wyoming are two states that judges have this dicression.

  3. 3. Russell [ February 15, 2012 @ 10:55AM ]

    I live in wa. state and anythingthat goes on your mvr can stay on it for 49 years as i was told by dol. My problem is I got a dui almost 7 years ago and I went deferred pros. but everything shows on my mvr, i've got a class a cdl and i've had it for 19 years and it just doesn't seem right , even though i did everything the courts asked of me that it keeps me from getting a job. What do i do, i'll be 45 this year and i've been driving since 1990, i've been unemployed since the end of oct. and starting to lose hope of getting another driving job. tell me who will hire me if i can't get it sealed, its almost 7 years old and it happened in my personal car not a truck.

  4. 4. Shaj [ November 18, 2013 @ 02:56AM ]

    Hey Russell, any luck on a new gig? I am sorta in the same situation as you.

  5. 5. wally [ February 15, 2014 @ 03:02PM ]

    It takes 10 yrs in PA,used to be seven but it was extended to 10 two years ago.

  6. 6. Eddie [ June 10, 2014 @ 02:36PM ]

    I got a dui in may 24 2010 in s.c I want 2 know how can I get it expunged off my driver record I can't get back in truck business with it or less it 5 years old

  7. 7. Willie [ February 11, 2015 @ 10:12AM ]

    I have had my cdls for 8 years got a dui in October of 2010 I live in Louisiana have no other tickets of been in any other trouble what is my chances of getting a trucking job again

  8. 8. kyle [ April 09, 2015 @ 02:10PM ]

    I got a speeding ticket in ga November for 25 over but a month after I got it the city raised the speed limit on the road to where it would have been only 14 over I was in the middle of getting my cdls can I get that expunged?

  9. 9. Tyrone Lindsey [ July 06, 2015 @ 12:54PM ]

    How can I get a refusal off

  10. 10. Tyrone Lindsey [ July 06, 2015 @ 12:55PM ]

    How can I get it clear

  11. 11. James brown [ July 21, 2015 @ 01:47PM ]

    I got a reckless driving on my mvr but it's two years old .how can I get it clear from my mvr.please help me someone😊

  12. 12. James brown [ July 21, 2015 @ 01:48PM ]

    Also iam a 9 year CDL holder

  13. 13. Paul [ August 24, 2015 @ 01:54PM ]

    My license has been suspended for a month now ,12 points in a year and put me on sr22, can I expunge and make my record clear again ?

  14. 14. George Grant [ October 20, 2015 @ 07:06PM ]

    I have 4 paid speeding tickets on my MVR, but need at least 2 expunged so I can keep my job. What do I need to do

  15. 15. R.J. Reynolds [ November 10, 2015 @ 03:39PM ]

    I got a Reckless Driving conviction in Virginia in 2013. I'm a Maryland Resident. I'm going to apply to have it removed from my driving record because I now drive for courier outfits and want to get my CDL, Drive a dump truck or maybe drive for Uber. I was going merely 81 in a 70mph zone on I-81 but VA has some of the toughest driving laws in the country. Essentially any speed rate over 80mph qualifies as Reckless and it will ruin your driving career and its a class 1 misdemeanor making it hard for you to get regular jobs. I hope MVA in MD can help me out given that I received the offense out of state.

  16. 16. jos3 [ February 02, 2016 @ 07:01PM ]

    How to get rid of a dwi that is not yours ?

  17. 17. Fred Morgan [ February 12, 2016 @ 10:26AM ]

    I have a class A.license im trying to get my job back have moving violations on my mvr need to have some things removed

  18. 18. ruben [ March 04, 2016 @ 02:34PM ]

    I got my cdl back but can't get a job because I have citations in my MVR wat can I do

  19. 19. Michael [ March 07, 2016 @ 04:06PM ]

    Currently have a CDL running into a lot of problems with getting hired due to speeding tickets on my MVR also huge problems with employers distinguishing what violations are personal vehicle and CDL

  20. 20. david wisdom [ June 28, 2016 @ 07:32PM ]

    i have a tn cdl and had 3 accidents in last yr 1 in my car on ice other 2 in commercial truck 1 rearend at red light the other side swiped a abanded car stickin out in lane of travel know im having trouble leasing on to a co is there anything i can do to have them removed

  21. 21. Nick fisher [ August 07, 2016 @ 06:29PM ]

    I was wonder if i can get a car accidents removed from my mvr i have had 2 totaled accident in the last 2 years but nether were my fault one a animal jumped out in front of me the other was due to weather conditions and hydroplaned but my insurance has skyrocketed to almost 300 dollars for 1 vehicle what can i do

  22. 22. Mark Ramirez [ September 01, 2016 @ 04:47PM ]

    I had a careless driving ticket in 2011bumbed a car at stop sign I'm getting charged outrageous insurance what can I do

  23. 23. Mark Ramirez [ September 01, 2016 @ 04:53PM ]

    I have a careless Driving ticket from2011i bumped into a car at a stop sign how can I clear this off my record insurance company's are sky high can get hired any where what can I do

  24. 24. SHELDON KING [ September 27, 2016 @ 11:32AM ]

    cdl and got speeding ticket now cannot get a job

  25. 25. Mr. Teach [ October 05, 2016 @ 06:59AM ]

    I revived a DUI lasy august on a ATV. I need to get this removed from my MVR for work purposes. i already paid all my fines and did my probation as well and restitution was paid for. this was my first offense and how would i be able to get this removed from my record

  26. 26. Rod free [ October 28, 2016 @ 06:58AM ]

    What do I have to do to start the process of having a citation removed from my MVR and what are the steps

  27. 27. Derrick Johnson [ November 01, 2016 @ 08:41AM ]

    helllo, Pa cdl .. have a carless driving from NJ 8/13 (non commercial veh) and speeding 15 over in MD 8/12 (commerical veh). any way to get one or the other expunged since there old and out of state?

  28. 28. Chris watts jr [ November 09, 2016 @ 02:42PM ]

    I need help getting sum tickets off my mvr. I having a hard time finding a job. And my family is suffering. I'M the only one n my house hold is working and they r depending on me to keep a roof over there heads. Please help me

  29. 29. andrew [ December 02, 2016 @ 01:23PM ]

    Got some tickets blocking me to get hired by some company am cdl driver want to expunged some ticket off my license .

  30. 30. Jerrod. Moorer [ January 27, 2017 @ 11:11AM ]


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Author Bio

Mike Antich

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Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.


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