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Do I Need an Attorney for Out-of-State Traffic Violations?

If you are an out-of-state driver but have been charged with a traffic violation in New York, you might be wondering what the consequences are going to be on your license in your home state and whether you might be affected at all in your home state by an out-of-state violation. In this blog, we will discuss the penalties on your driving privileges in the state where you were charged with the offense, as well as in your state of residence.

Firstly, keep in mind that any out-of-state driver can lose their driving privileges in New York in at least four situations:

  • Failure to answer a NY-issued ticket;
  • Accumulation of 3 speeding convictions or 11 points in an 18-month period;
  • Failure to pay a DRA; and
  • Failure to pay a fine set by the court.

The legal processes to address such violations, however, are a bit more nuanced.

What Happens When I am Charged with an Out-of-State Traffic Violation?

Once you receive a traffic ticket in New York, the ticket will have a specific date by which you must notify the court of a guilty or not guilty plea (also known as answering a summons). If you do nothing and the date passes, the court will then notify the state DMV, who in turn will notify you by mail that if you do not answer the ticket by a certain date, your driving privileges will be suspended in the state of New York, and you will consequently have to pay a non-refundable $70.00 fee per ticket to have the suspension lifted. Note that most states now share information about their drivers through the Interstate Driver's License Compact, so there may also be additional sanctions or potential for suspension in your home state.

Further, you should be aware that even though you are not a New York resident, following a traffic violation there you will have a traffic record created in the state. In other words, once a ticket is issued and there is action with regard to the ticket, either in the form of a conviction for a specific offense or a failure to answer a summons as mentioned earlier, a record is created in New York with regard to your name, address and/or date of birth. The points or convictions on this record may affect the New York DMV’s future decisions to suspend or revoke your driving privileges in the state.

Be aware that drivers from any state can have their driver’s licenses suspended in their own state if they fail to answer a moving violation in New York State. However, there is an exception for those from Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, or Wisconsin.

Do I Need an Attorney?

No matter where an out-of-state driver is licensed, anyone receiving a ticket in New York will be subject to the same sanctions as a New York resident with regard to the potential for the suspension of their driving privileges in the state and imposition of New York DMV's driver responsibility assessment ("DRA"). So, it will be in your best interest to seek legal counsel from a local attorney who is more familiar with the laws than an out-of-state resident might be.

With all this in mind, you should seek an attorney for the following reasons:

  • Save time, money, and hassle. If you seek to dispute your ticket, or if a court appearance is mandatory, it can be expensive and quite the commute to return to where you were ticketed in New York. In most cases, an attorney can appear in court for you.
  • Prevent your government agency from being notified. As discussed above, your home state will be notified of a conviction or an unanswered summons in New York or New Jersey if you do not take appropriate action. Quebec and many states in the U.S. have agreements where information about traffic violations is shared, so an attorney can help clear up any of this confusion about your home state you might have.
  • Avoid consequences in your home state. The information shared between agencies can be used to place points and/or suspensions on your driver's license. Your home state may also use convictions elsewhere to enhance offenses if you get pulled over at home.

Whether you are passing through the state or visiting over the holidays, you will be subject to New York traffic laws as an out-of-state resident. The quickest and most efficient way to resolve a traffic violation as an out-of-state resident is to abide by the consequences and seek local legal counsel. An experienced traffic lawyer who is familiar with the state traffic laws can help you navigate the penalties of your conviction in-state and out-of-state.

Contact our team at Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. with questions and concerns about your traffic violation.

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