What Happens if I Get a Traffic Ticket Out of State?

Fran Majidi
February 28, 2020

Getting pulled over is a nightmare, and you are not exempt from paying a ticket if you got it in another state. Some people wrongly believe that an out-of-state ticket will somehow “go away” once they return home. However, everything is computerized these days so you will most likely be tracked down. You can get points on your license for a ticket issued out of state. If you don’t pay outstanding tickets, you may have your license suspended. You can even find yourself in legal trouble if you don’t pay the ticket. Contesting a ticket in another state is difficult so it’s often easier to pay for it. Below we have some important information and options regarding out-of-state traffic violations.

Do I Get Points on My License for an Out-of-State Ticket?

You will most likely receive points on your license if you get an out-of-state ticket. Each state handles these cases differently. For instance, in New Jersey all violations that happened in another state incur two points. In Colorado and Pennsylvania, however, a minor violation won’t show up on your record at all. Maryland and Nevada are also forgiving but they do record the violation. The rules are different in every state so it’s best to look into the particulars of where you got ticketed.

What if I Get a DUI in Another State?

DUIs are a serious violation and will always show up on your record. The Department of Motor Vehicles in each state handles DUI charges differently. However, across the board, you may get your license suspended if your blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit or if you refused a breathalyzer test. Your license will be suspended until the court date. You will then have to participate in a DUI safety program and fulfill requirements set by the state you were ticketed in..

It’s important to find out what requirements you need to fulfill for the state you got the DUI in. For instance, if you get a DUI in California, the California DMV will not accept completion of an alcohol safety program from another state. If you are a California resident and get an out-of-state DUI, you must hire a DUI defense attorney in the state where you got the DUI. You will most likely be allowed to complete your required classes in California, which has strict requirements. You will also have to complete the requirements of California, not the state you got your DUI in.

Rules differ from state to state so ask lots of questions if this scenario pertains to you but you do not live in California. It can be a hassle dealing with DUI charges out-of-state. That is why you should be extremely careful when you drink before driving while you’re on vacation.

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What if I Want to Contest an Out-of-State Ticket?

Contesting a ticket can sometimes work in your favor, especially if the police officer who issued the ticket does not show up to court. If you win, you can have the ticket removed from your record and the points removed from your license. However, there are no guarantees. You may go out of your way and travel back to the state in which you got ticketed only to lose the case.

Will My Insurance Rate Go Up from a Ticket I Got Out of State?

Whether or not your insurance rates go up after you receive an out-of-state ticket depends on a number of factors. For instance, as mentioned above, some states do not record these tickets while others do. It also depends on the driving offense. Remember too that each state has its own rules regarding insurance. Your rate increases after a single moving violation in some states but not in others.

In some cases, you’ll get points on your license in both the state in which you got ticketed and your home state. In other cases you only get points in one state. It all depends on where you live and where you got ticketed. A California driver with a speeding ticket in New York will get points on their license from California and New York. However, a New York driver who gets a ticket in California will only get points from California.

However, if you do get points on your license, you can attend traffic school to get your points erased.

You have to pick your battles. Sometimes, it’s best to fight a ticket or negotiate the ticket down to a no-point violation. Other times, you have to just pay the fine and take a class to get the point(s) expunged.

Hidden Costs of an Out-of-State Ticket: How Much Is It?

The average ticket for a violation costs about $150. Some states add a mandatory state surcharge. New York, for instance, tacks on about $90 to your ticket. Some states also have what’s called a Driver Responsibility Assessment, which means that if you get six points or more in a state you will have to pay a base penalty (up to $25 per point!).

What’s the Driver’s License Compact?

This agreement was made in the 1960s among several states, to allow states to share driver information with one another. Today 45 of the 50 states, including District of Columbia, are in the compact. If you are ticketed in a compact state and you live in a compact state, your local DMV will be notified about the violation. The DMV from the state where you were ticketed may then contact you to pay the fine or else suspend your driving privileges. You can even be suspended in both states in some circumstances, especially if you’ve accumulated many points. The suspension will likely come with fines, possibly from both states!

Don’t assume that states who don’t participate in the Driver’s License Compact do not share information. Massachusetts, for example, has its own sharing system.

Which States Do Not Exchange Information Regarding Suspensions and Traffic Violations?






Do Non-moving Violations Affect Insurance?

Usually, non-moving violations, like parking tickets or expired plates, will not raise your insurance rates. However, too many unpaid parking tickets can cause insurance companies to raise your rate. So, remember to pay any and all parking tickets, because they don’t disappear, not even after you leave the state.

How Can I Keep Points Off My License After Getting a Ticket?

1. Get a Deferral. If you are found guilty or plead guilty, the ticket will be deferred for a certain amount of time, usually a year. If you get through the deferral period without any new tickets, your case will be dismissed without it affecting your driving record. However, if you do not pass the deferral period and get another ticket, your rate will go up dramatically.

2. Delay with a Continuance. No, we’re not suggesting you ignore the ticket. However, most traffic tickets come with a court date a few months away. Ask for a continuance, which would push the date forward almost a year. When your time finally comes, if the officer who issued the ticket is transferred or if he is fired, retires or quits his job, you can ask to have your ticket dismissed.

3. Ask for Mitigation. Mitigation may not get rid of the ticket, but it may lower the fine substantially. You can ask for mitigation if it’s been years since you last got a ticket. Basically, in mitigation you plead guilty but explain the circumstances surrounding the ticket. You can also ask the judge for leniency. Although this method does not always work, it often does.

4. Contact the Court Clerk. Depending on the jurisdiction where the violation occurred, a clerk may have the authority to lower the ticket down to a non-moving violation, which would not add points to your license. The clerk may also be able to defer your ticket or recommend you take a defensive driving course to keep the points off your record. Usually, you still have to pay a fine but it may be a lesser one.

Are You Paying Too Much for Insurance?

If you’ve had a ticket in the past but your record’s been clear for three or more years, that ticket should no longer affect your rate. However, you’ll rarely get an offer from an insurance company to pay less than you’re currently paying. This is why millions of people are shopping insurance rates online every day. To see who will offer you the lowest rate on car insurance enter your zip code below.

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