New York Drivers License Abstract

Anyone can request their own driver abstract record or “lifetime abstract” in New York by submitting Form MV-15 to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, but for individuals seeking to obtain someone else’s record, there are privacy protections in place.

New York State driving records are protected by the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and by sections 87 and 89 of the NYS Public Officer’s Law. In short, records that pertain to a license or motor vehicle registration are protected, unless you must have a permissible purpose that applies for the record that you are requesting. If you have a permissible purpose, you will be provided with a driving abstract from the proceeding four years.

Although some records, such as alcohol related offenses, remain on the abstract for more than four years, in some cases, a lifetime abstract may be needed, which provides all information in the Department of Motor Vehicles possession, with some exceptions:

A “lifetime” driving record contains all the license information DMV has available about a driver. The “lifetime” driving record will display all information still in DMV’s possession regardless of the data retention requirements found in Vehicle and Traffic Law.

A “standard” driver license abstract only contains information that DMV is still required to keep. For example, most suspensions and revocations are only shown on the standard driving record abstract for 4 years from the date the suspension or revocation ended. A “lifetime” driving record will show suspensions and revocations that are older than 4 years.

In order to obtain a lifetime abstract for someone other than yourself, you will need to fill out form MV-15 in order to request the record and submit a notarized copy of form MV-15GC which gives the drivers permission to obtain the record. The fee is $10.

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4 replies
  1. Meridith
    Meridith says:

    David Childe mentioned a LinkedIn thread on banking information you started. Can you tell me where precisely I can find this. I’d love to read it.


  2. David Childe
    David Childe says:

    I am always interested in how the various states allow (or don’t allow) access to this information. With a permissible purpose, in my state, I can pay a set fee per year and $4.00 or so for each record. It is more convenient, apparently, than what NY makes you do. Yet I don’t pay for this information at the state level. I go to the local court’s traffic ticket clerk and he runs the license for me for free – as long as I have a permissible purpose, of course. It only picks up offenses in my county but that is usually all that I am looking for.

    By the way, I am glad you started that linkedin thread on banking information. A real obsession of mine, as you possibly have been able to tell. You got some good responses and I learned a lot. Thanks!

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      The intricacies of each state are always interesting David. Which is why it’s always good to know somebody local who can help explain things for you. I was just speaking with Eli Rosenblatt (http://elirosenblatt.com/) about the ins and outs of the court system in Oregon. It’s good to know people…

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