What are Louisiana Public Traffic Records?
Louisiana public traffic records refer to records that pertain to the driving/traffic history of an individual residing within the state. These records bear a driver's personal and license information, as well as a list of their traffic offenses, accidents, convictions, and license suspensions.
Usually, Louisiana public traffic records are created by the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) or state courts when someone with a Louisiana driver's license commits or is convicted of a traffic offense. The records are maintained by the same agencies and disseminated to interested persons upon request.
Are Traffic Records Public in Louisiana?
Yes, traffic records in Louisiana are open to members of the public under the state's Public Records Law. However, some information in these records may be kept from public disclosure per the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). For example, a driver's name, image, residential address, social security number, and medical or disability data. Before release, confidential information is redacted from a driver's public traffic record.
What do Louisiana Traffic Records Contain?
Louisiana public traffic records contain the following data:
- A driver's license number
- The status of a motorist's driving privileges
- Traffic offenses
- Traffic accidents
- Driver's license suspensions and revocations
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Louisiana?
Yes, citations (also called "traffic tickets") issued in Louisiana are reported on an individual's driving record upon their plea of guilt or conviction. However, state law (the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Laws, Articles 892.1 and 894) allows non-commercial drivers to keep certain tickets (typically misdemeanors) off their records by participating in a driver's education, training, or improvement course in person or online.
Not everyone is eligible to take such a course in Louisiana; hence, it is important to check one's eligibility with the presiding court (the court with jurisdiction over a case). Information about the program can also be obtained from a city court's or marshal's official website. For example, persons cited in the City of Baton Rouge can find detailed information and forms on the city's website. Meanwhile, persons who receive a Ruston City Court ticket can check the city marshal's website.
Types of Traffic Citations in Louisiana
Anyone who breaks a traffic statute or local ordinance in Louisiana can receive a "payable offense" or "court appearance" traffic citation.
A "payable offense" ticket is released for low-level traffic offenses. The state does not consider such offenses as crimes. Therefore, offenders are not required to show up in court, and they can usually resolve their tickets by paying a fine to the state. Examples of payable offenses in Louisiana include failure to yield, speeding, red light violation, following emergency vehicles, careless driving, improper lane usage, expired license plate, etc.
On the other hand, a "court appearance" ticket is issued for major traffic offenses like reckless driving and driving while intoxicated. These offenses are usually classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Unlike payable offense tickets, cited parties will be expected to appear in court to face their charges — which can lead to sizable fines, lengthy imprisonment, and driver's license revocation — and failing to appear as ordered can lead to severe consequences. For instance, the court may release a bench warrant for the offender's arrest.
Louisiana Traffic Citation Lookup
Citations issued by law enforcement officers in Louisiana are handled by the city courts, parish courts, or district courts. The general rule is that if the city police issued a ticket within municipal or city boundaries, the court with jurisdiction would be a city court. However, if the state police, a parish sheriff's office, or police department is responsible for the ticket, the presiding court will be a district or parish court.
Therefore, the first step for an individual who wishes to look up a traffic citation in Louisiana is to determine the court with jurisdiction over a case (if having access to the citation, the court will be indicated on it). Afterward, the interested party can visit or contact the court to request citation information. Another option is to check the court's website for a Citation Search or Payment tool. (Some courts provide this service.)
The district courts' street addresses, contact information, and business hours can be obtained from the Louisiana government's official website. If seeking the contact number, address, or hours of a city or parish court, it is best to conduct a general search online or check the citation.
How to Lookup my Louisiana Traffic Records
Individuals may look up their Louisiana traffic records by requesting their official driving records through the online service provided by the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). To facilitate record searches, a requester will need to input the following information where indicated, as it appears on their driver's license:
- Driver's license number
- Date of birth
- Class of license
- Audit number
The following should be noted:
- The online service is unavailable from 11:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
- Only Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher can be used for a successful transaction.
- Each record costs $16 plus an additional $2 internet processing fee.
- A requester is advised to print their record immediately or within 30 days of their purchase. Once this period passes, the individual will need to purchase the record again.
- The accepted payment method is a valid credit card or debit card.
Louisiana traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record
Louisiana Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in Louisiana is a moving violation that occurs when a driver breaks the state's traffic laws. These violations can range from minor offenses like speeding to more serious offenses, such as vehicular homicide resulting from a DUI. Depending on the severity of the crime, a traffic violation can result in points being added to a driver's license, a fine, or even jail time.
Some of the most common traffic violations in Louisiana include:
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light
- Driving without insurance
- Driving with a suspended license
If apprehended for a traffic violation in Louisiana, offenders may be required to pay a fine, have points added to their license, or even face jail time. Depending on the severity of the offense, they may also be required to attend traffic school. If convicted of multiple traffic violations, the offender's license may be suspended or revoked.
Louisiana License Plate Lookup
Louisiana license plates are an essential part of Louisiana traffic records. License plate numbers can be used to look up a vehicle's registration and owner information, and by law, all vehicles registered in the state are required to display license plates.
To look up Louisiana license plates, use the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) tool. The DMV website allows interested parties to search for license plates by plate number or name. They can also view the vehicle's registration information, including the name and address of the registered owner. The Louisiana Crime Information Center (LCIC) is a good resource to look up a license plate for law enforcement purposes. The LCIC maintains a database of license plates that can be used to look up vehicle information. The database also features a list of stolen vehicles and vehicle parts.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Louisiana
Louisiana traffic case records are maintained within the state court system. Therefore, anyone interested in inspecting such records must either visit/contact the court that handled a particular case or check its clerk's website for a Case Search/Retrieval tool. However, free access is mostly available when one goes to a courthouse during working hours to ask for a physical or electronic copy of a record. Although some court clerks (for example, the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court) offer remote access to traffic case records, requesters may usually have to pay money to search for or print those records.
How Long Do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a traffic offense's severity influences its reporting period on a person's public record. For instance, the crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OUI) remains one's driving record for ten years following a guilty verdict. Hit and run convictions may also stay on a record for up to ten years. Furthermore, while an individual's first traffic infraction or minor accident may not end up on their record, subsequent offenses may remain public information for three years. Likewise, speeding tickets may remain on a record for three to five years.
However, the length of time that an offense stays on a driver's record may differ from the duration that it will impact the individual's car insurance rates.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Louisiana
Like other public records maintained by government institutions, Louisiana traffic records can be viewed and obtained by the general public. This includes private citizens, government agencies, and even institutions that run websites like data broker sites.
To remove a record from a public website in Louisiana, the record owner can petition the court to expunge the record. However, it should be noted that an expungement in Louisiana does not involve the destruction of records and can only be applied to misdemeanor or felony traffic offenses listed on a person's criminal record. The public can find more information about the procedure (including eligibility criteria) in the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure (CCRP), Articles 971 through 996.
Alternatively, record owners can check for opt-out tools on public websites. An opt-out tool allows the subject of a record to delete their information from a specific site. However, the procedure may require repetition as a record may reappear later.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Louisiana?
Motoring offenses can affect a person's criminal record in Louisiana. Typically, Louisiana classifies traffic offenses as civil and criminal offenses. Civil traffic violations are considered minor or fine-only offenses. Hence, they are not featured in the offender's criminal record.
However, criminal traffic violations are regarded as serious offenses and are added to a person's criminal record, given that they frequently lead to the destruction of lives and property. Offenses in this category include operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, hit and run, and any traffic offense that causes property damage or another person's severe injury or death.