What Happens If a Washington State Resident Receives A Traffic Ticket in NY?
My friend Adam H. Rosenblum, a fantastic and helpful attorney admitted in New York and New Jersey, is guest-blogging on the Washington Traffic Law Blog on the effect of an out of state ticket, such as one in New York, on a Washington driver's license. If you drive, you should read this post.
New York is a hot vacation spot for many people traveling from the West Coast. Some even take cross-country trips with their cars or RVs and cruise all over the U.S. before getting to NY.
However, what many of us do not know is that receiving a traffic ticket in another state can actually affect our driving status at home.
Believe it or not, if you receive a NY traffic ticket and are licensed to drive in Washington State, your driving record can be affected.
Washington and New York are both members of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. Under this agreement, WA and NY freely share traffic convictions and suspended-license information.
Consequently, if you receive a NY traffic ticket and are a WA resident, WA will be notified about the ticket you received. The same idea works for NY drivers who get ticketed in WA.
Although WA currently does not use an official point system, tickets affect insurance premiums and multiple moving violations can lead to the suspension or even revocation of your license.
In WA, if you commit four moving violations in a one-year period of time or five in a two-year period of time, it is likely that your license will be suspended for 30 days.
It is important to understand that, in most circumstances, an out of state traffic ticket will count toward your total number of moving violations.
For example, if a WA driver has three WA speeding tickets in one year and subsequently receives a NY speeding ticket, that NY speeding ticket might well be the one that leads to your WA license being suspended.
Remember, out of state tickets cannot be brushed under a metaphorical rug; they will come back to haunt you.
If you receive an out of state traffic ticket that has a fine associated with it, the court that is handling the ticket with which you were charged will required you to pay the ticket.
However, you cannot be required to pay two fines for the same ticket. Accordingly, if you received a NY ticket, you will only have to pay the fine in NY (not WA).
In addition, NY has something called the Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) – this is a separate fine that is paid to NY DMV (in addition to the court fine) if a driver accumulates 6 points or more in NY within 18 months. A WA driver is required to pay the DRA just as a NY resident is.
What If I Ignore It, or Fail to Pay a Fine or Surcharge?
Failure to respond to a ticket, failure to pay a court fine, or failure to pay a DRA will result in suspension of a Washington driver’s NY driving privileges. Such suspension by New York may be transferred to WA, which can honor it and suspend your WA license as well. Driving while suspended is a crime in both NY and WA.
What If the Offense is Not Recognized in Washington?
If the offense that you are ticketed for is not recognized in WA, then you will not usually have to worry about it counting against your Washington driver license (unless you ignore or fail to pay a fine or surcharge).
Nevertheless, you will still have to pay the appropriate fine to NY if convicted.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
One of the hidden costs associated with traffic tickets that many forget about is the increase in their car insurance, and for a number of people, their life insurance.
When you receive a ticket either in your home state or outside of it, your car insurance carrier will eventually find out which can lead to increased auto insurance premiums.
However, a skilled traffic attorney will be able to fight to have your ticket changed to something that will not cause an increase in your insurance or the attorney may be able to have the ticket dismissed outright.
Remember, more often than not, having an attorney will get you the results you want and save you the headache of trying to fight the ticket on your own.
Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm is a traffic ticket lawyer licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey. He also handles complex NY & NJ driver’s license matters and criminal offenses.