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Dealing With Out-of-State Traffic Tickets

Date posted: 07/26/2012

by Kathy Teel on
in Tickets & Violations

3171 Dealing With Out of State Traffic Tickets

Many people believe that out-of-state traffic tickets don’t follow them home.

That’s not true. Not only do most states share information about traffic violations, but your home state might penalize you.

And it’s only a matter of time before your auto insurance company finds out, as well.

Traffic Violations Across the Country

Various compacts and registers help states keep up with driver offenses.

The Driver License Compact

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia subscribe to the Driver License Compact (DLC), an interstate agreement used to exchange information on license suspensions and traffic violations by out-of-state drivers. Even non-participating states conform to the rules of the DLC, and there are similar compacts and agreements binding those states.

All of this makes it virtually impossible to receive a ticket out-of-state and not have your home state notified.

The Nonresident Violator Compact

The Nonresident Violator Compact is another interstate agreement. Under this arrangement, the state in which you’ve received a traffic ticket can notify your own state of non-payment, so they may begin license suspension proceedings against you.

The National Driver Register

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps track of all drivers with serious traffic violations, as well as those who have had their licenses suspended, revoked, cancelled, or denied.

When you apply for a driver’s license, or seek to renew an old one, your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will check the national database, and then use the information they find to deny you driving privileges.

States Differ On Reporting Traffic Tickets

States do differ, however, on the violations they report to your home state. One state will report a violation for driving 10 mph over the speed limit, while others will only report for 20.

States also differ in how they utilize the point system and whether an out-of-state violation of the vehicle code affects your record.

Some states, like New Jersey, will add points to your driving record for an out-of-state violation. Other states, like New York, do not. Be aware, though, that states tend to be as hard on an out-of-state DWI as a similar offense made in-state.

Hiring Traffic Ticket Attorneys

A driver might decide to contest an out-of-state ticket. Some lawyers specialize in cases involving traffic violations, and can sometimes arrange a plea bargain or have the charges reduced, so no points are added to your driving record.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, a traffic ticket attorney may advise you to simply pay the ticket, since the cost of the case will outweigh the cost of the fine.

NOTE: Try to hire a lawyer in the state you were ticketed. He or she will be more familiar with that state’s vehicle code.

Out-of-State Tickets and Car Insurance

The impact of an out-of-state ticket on your car insurance premium differs based on:

  • Where the infraction occurred.
  • The insurance laws in your home state.
  • Your own insurer’s practices.

In general, the more often your car insurance company checks your driving record, the more likely you’ll see an increase in your premiums.

Have you ever gotten an out-of-state ticket? How’d it affect your driver’s license or driver record?

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About Kathy Teel

Kathy Teel is a freelance writer and editor, a sometime college instructor, and a perpetual student. She has written extensively in the areas of local law, business, politics, addiction and recovery, marriage and sexuality, parenting, education, and religion and spirituality. She is a founding member of her town’s community theatre and works with learning disabled children in her local school. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband, another writer/ editor/ student/ actor, and her three incredibly talented children. Kathy has been writing for a living since 2006, and would love to consider new projects. Contact her at teelwriting@gmail.com. More articles by Kathy Teel

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