Every time a driver is convicted of a traffic violation in New York – from speeding to drunk driving – it stays on the driving record for between three and 10 years. A person’s driving record is used by auto insurance companies to determine premiums, and the more violations one has on record, the more he/she can pay. Few realize, however, that a bad driving record can affect much more than insurance rates. Here are eight unexpected ways a bad driving record can hurt someone in New York.
- Life Insurance. Another premium a person can expect to pay more for with a bad driving record is life insurance. Insurance companies can and will look at one’s driving abstract and make a judgement about the kinds of risks the customer takes. Too many speeding tickets or a DUI and a person can expect to shell out a few hundred dollars more each year. In the mind of the insurer, each of those violations can have potentially lethal consequences, which means the driver is a riskier client.
- Credit Score. Unpaid debt makes up about 30 percent of one’s credit score. Unpaid traffic tickets count against a person’s credit score just like any other debt. The longer the tickets go unpaid and the greater the amount, the worse it will be. This, in turn, will make buying a home or a car increasingly difficult.
- Right to Vote. Offenses such as drunk driving, aggravated unlicensed operation, and fleeing a police officer can be charged as felonies. In New York State, felony convictions mean the loss of voting privileges.
- Job Opportunities. There are a lot of ways a bad driving record can affect one’s employment opportunities. Those who drive for a living – be it a bus, taxi, courier, or truck – can be terminated over traffic violations and make it difficult future employment in those fields. Even those who work in an office-based position can be affected by a bad driving record. Many employers conduct background checks on new hires, which will turn up convictions for drunk driving and other serious violations. Depending on how extensive the search, the employer could find evidence of a suspended license or unpaid traffic tickets. Any of those could be a deal-breaker for some companies. One’s driving record will also be taken into account when applying to for a job as a police officer or a professional pilot.
- Arrest. There are a lot of ways a person’s driving record can result in an arrest. For starters, most tickets carry two or more points on one’s license. Accrue 11 points or more in New York and the license can be suspended. Anyone found driving with a suspended license can be arrested on the spot. Other violations, such as fleeing a police officer or drunk driving can also result in an arrest.
- Driving Privileges. In New York, it is far too easy to lose one’s license. As mentioned, the DMV can suspend any license which has accrued 11 or more points. This can happen after just two traffic convictions, such as a cell phone violation (5 points) and speeding 21 mph over the limit (6 points). In addition, three or more convictions for speeding in 18 months can result in a suspension. Same thing with two or more convictions for speeding in a work zone. Refusing to respond to or pay any traffic ticket can also result in a suspension. In fact, it’s possible to have one’s license suspended two, five, 10, even 50 times simply by refusing to respond to tickets – and each one makes it harder to get the license reinstated.
- Adoption. While minor traffic violations aren’t likely to be counted against a couple looking to adopt, serious charges such a drunk driving or reckless driving will decrease the chances of being approved by an adoption agency.
- Future criminal sentencing. It may seem unfair but a judge and prosecutors can use a person’s driving record as evidence of character in sentencing for other criminal matters. Don’t get the wrong idea: a couple of speeding tickets won’t necessarily mean a longer sentence for littering. However, a drunk driving and/or reckless driving conviction could be presented as evidence in a case of assault, showing a history of disregard for the safety of others.
If you or a loved one has a bad driving history or are worried about the impact a traffic ticket will have on your life, you need expert legal advice. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Our office handles all types of traffic violations for clients in a wide variety of situations. Email or Call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation about your case.