What are North Dakota Public Traffic Records?
A North Dakota traffic record is a document that shows an individual's traffic or driving history within a given period. In North Dakota, the Department of Transportation (NDDOT) manages all traffic records (also called driver abstracts) for all licensed drivers operating in the state, while the state courts are in charge of traffic records generated because of a traffic court proceeding (also called traffic case records).
Generally, traffic records serve various interests and purposes to the owner, the state, and other interested parties. For instance, reviewing traffic records can help insurance agents to ascertain auto insurance rates over time. The records can also assist employers in deciding which candidate is eligible for the vacant position, especially when the position requires a clean driving record. Similarly, the documents can help law enforcement keep track of habitual offenders or dangerous motorists.
Are Traffic Records Public in North Dakota?
Yes, North Dakota's public record laws allow any interested party to view and inspect any record created and maintained by public agencies in the state. However, certain records and information may be exempt from public disclosure.
For example, the law prohibits the Department of Transportation from disclosing the identifying information of a record owner to the public under NDCC § 44.04.18.7. As such, details such as a driver's license number, date of birth, home address, and insurance information are not provided to the public. Persons or organizations interested in such information will need to obtain written consent from the record owner before the DOL can grant access. This condition is also supported by the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).
What do North Dakota Traffic Records Contain?
North Dakota traffic records contain the following information:
- Personal details about the record owner (name, gender, address, physical description)
- Driver's license status and endorsements.
- Accident reports
- Traffic violations and convictions
- Total demerit points
- License restrictions (suspensions, revocations, cancellations)
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in North Dakota?
Yes, it does. The Department of Transportation (NDDOT) reports traffic citations on traffic/driving records to identify offenders and dangerous motorists. Each citation also attracts demerit points that appear on a person's traffic record and are assessed based on the severity of an offense.
Types of Traffic Citations in North Dakota
North Dakota identifies two main types of traffic violations that can lead to a citation or ticket in the state: non-moving or moving violations. Moving violations are offenses that occur while a vehicle is in motion. In contrast, non-moving violations occur with stationary vehicles—although some could still occur with a moving vehicle, e.g., driving with expired registration. North Dakota further categorizes moving violations into criminal and non-criminal violations.
An individual can be cited for a non-criminal traffic violation in North Dakota when they commit minor offenses or civil infractions. Since these offenses are slight, motorists need not worry about imprisonment, only monetary sanctions, community service, defensive driving courses, and license suspensions. Some examples include speeding, failure to yield right of way, making unlawful turns, and texting while driving.
Any motorists issued a non-criminal traffic citation in North Dakota is not required to appear in court before paying their fine unless they wish to contest the ticket.
Criminal traffic violations have more severe consequences as they endanger life and property. These offenses are deemed either misdemeanors or felonies and attract penalties such as incarceration, substantial fines, and license revocation. Anyone who receives a citation for a criminal traffic offense in North Dakota must appear in court and enter a plea.
Examples of criminal traffic offenses that lead to a citation include:
- Drag racing
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Vehicular homicide
- Fleeing from a law enforcement officer
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
North Dakota Traffic Citation Lookup
The District and Municipal Courts in North Dakota handle traffic citations/tickets issued by law enforcement. As such, persons interested in looking up such citations can visit a local court or the court where a case was heard.
Another option available to individuals is the North Dakota Court Records Inquiry System (NDCRIS). The inquiry system is hosted on the state judiciary's website and is available to the public. Information about a citation can be retrieved using the name of the ticketed individual and the county where they received the ticket.
How to Lookup my North Dakota Traffic Records
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) manages and distributes traffic/driving records within the state. The DOT offers two main types of records: limited and complete driving records. A limited driving record only reflects information from the past three years, while a complete driving record shows an individual's entire traffic history. Generally, the NDDOT provides ways to look up these records: online, in-person, via mail, or fax.
North Dakota driver license holders can request limited driving records online via the NDDOT Drivers License Record Request System. A name, date of birth, address, and driver's license number, among others, are required to access the system. Before obtaining a record, the requester will also need to pay $3 via credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover). Only limited driving/traffic records are available online in North Dakota.
Individuals who wish to request a copy of their complete traffic records in person must visit the DOT's office in Bismarck.
To receive a North Dakota traffic record by mail, an individual must complete the Request for Driver Abstract Form (or Form SFN 51386), enclose the $3 record fee (payable in check or money order), and mail the form and payment to the following address:
Drivers License Division
608 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505
Motorists should complete the Request for Driver Abstract Form (or Form SFN 51386), including their credit card details (number, expiration date, and CVV number), and fax the form to (701) 328-2435
Individuals can request both limited and complete driving/traffic records via mail and fax. The DOT will send the record via mail when an individual faxes their request.
North Dakota Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in North Dakota are offenses that occur when a driver breaks the state's traffic laws. These violations can result in points being added to the driver's license, fines, and in some cases, jail time. Some of the most common traffic violations in North Dakota include speeding, running a red light, and failing to yield.
Drivers who accumulate too many points on their license may have it suspended or revoked. Additionally, drivers convicted of certain serious traffic offenses may be required to complete a defensive driving course.
If cited for a traffic violation in North Dakota, offenders will generally have the option to pay the fine or contest the ticket in court. If they choose to pay the fine, this will be considered a guilty plea, and they will be subject to the penalties associated with the violation. If they opt to contest the ticket, they will need to appear in court on the date specified on their citation. At their court hearing, they will have the opportunity to present their defense and argue why they should not be found guilty of the violation.
North Dakota License Plate Lookup
To conduct a North Dakota license plate lookup, visit the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The department has a searchable database of all registered vehicles in the state. You can also contact the county sheriff's office or local police department to run a search.
If a user has a license plate number and needs to find out who it belongs, they can do a reverse lookup. This can be useful for accident victims or those contacted by the police who need to verify the vehicle's registration. There are a few different websites that offer reverse lookup services. Alternatively, the requesting party can contact your local law enforcement agency.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in North Dakota
The North Dakota courts maintain all traffic case records. Hence, persons interested in viewing these records for free can visit the local courthouses during working hours.
Alternatively, an individual can utilize the 24-hour Court Records Inquiry System located on the North Dakota judiciary's website to view traffic records at no cost. To retrieve records from the system, a requester only needs to enter their name (or the name of a third party) into the provided boxes.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in North Dakota
Ordinarily, the North Dakota Department of Transportation does not remove traffic violations from a person's public driving record, as the agency maintains complete driving records indefinitely. However, offenses that are more than three years old will not be displayed on a person's limited driving record. (A limited driving record can be purchased from the DOT for $3.)
Unlike traffic violations or citations recorded in North Dakota, demerit points that appear on a person's public record can gradually be removed. The state allows a reduction of points when offenders take defensive driving courses. Motorists can take such courses every 12 months to remove three points from their records.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in North Dakota
Traffic records are open to the public in North Dakota; as such, they may not be easily removed from public review. Nevertheless, the state allows offenders to apply for an expungement or sealing order as a means of taking such records off public websites, provided the record relates to a criminal traffic offense.
Generally, an expungement (the destruction of records) is only available in limited circumstances, e.g., for juvenile and non-conviction records. However, many traffic offenders, except people with DUI criminal records, may be able to seal their records in North Dakota. Typically, when the court seals a traffic record, no person or entity can access or disseminate it without authorization.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in North Dakota?
Yes, motoring or traffic offenses committed in North Dakota can affect an individual's criminal record. This usually happens when the state convicts a road user of a criminal traffic offense. For example, vehicular homicide, hit and run, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and evading law enforcement. The individual's conviction will be listed on their criminal record in such cases.
People with criminal records resulting from traffic offenses/convictions often have to grapple with long-term consequences, such as an increase in insurance premiums, loss of driving privileges, and limited job opportunities, among others.