I Got a Traffic Ticket While Driving Someone Else’s Car – Am I Responsible?

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Recently, we have been getting a lot of inquiries from people who are getting NY speeding tickets while in zipcars, rental cars, and their friends’ cars.

Many of you have been asking if you, as drivers, are obligated to deal with these speeding tickets even though you are not the owners of the cars.

In short, yes.

Regardless of whether the car is yours or not, if you are issued a NY speeding ticket while driving it, you are the one responsible for handling it (i.e. fighting it in court, hiring an attorney, etc.).

The ticket is yours, not the rental company’s or your friend’s.

Additionally, when it comes to rental cars and zipcars, you need to be even more careful.

Most rental companies (including zipcar) require you to report any and all traffic tickets you receive while driving their vehicle. Failure to do so can constitute a breach of your rental agreement or the company’s terms of service.

The last thing you need to deal with is the fallout from breaching a contract in addition to a NY speeding ticket.

When it comes to driving a friend’s car, the law is the essentially same. If you drive your friend’s car and get a NY speeding ticket, you will be the one who has to deal with it.

Remember, traffic tickets are almost always driver-specific, not owner-specific.

Consequently, any conviction for the speeding ticket will go on the driver’s record, not the vehicle owner’s.

Therefore, points, fines, and suspensions are only at play for the driver, not the owner.

It is worth mentioning that police officers regularly run the car’s license plates when they pull it over.  However, this is usually to identify whether the vehicle was stolen or if there are any red flags that the officer should be aware of.

There is one exception to all of this: When the car’s insurance, registration, or inspection is expired, you can argue that since the car did not belong to you, you had no reason to know that this was the case.

In fact, the owner of the car can be mailed a ticket for these offenses because it is his responsibility to make sure these things are taken care of.

If you or a loved one recently received a New York speeding ticket while driving someone else’s car, make sure to contact an experienced NY traffic ticket attorney today.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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  • Jason Simons
    June 12, 2018

    I was issued a citation for an expired inspection sticker while driving my landlord’s car to pick up something at the store for her. So I really need to appeal this because I will lose my liscense if I am issued another surchargeable offense just for helping someone who was in need because she is disabled. So my question is will there be a chance the ticket can be appealed if I take it to court because I never appeal any tickets that I am at fault when driving in my own car.

    • Ronen Cohen
      June 20, 2018

      Jason – an ‘appeal’ is taken after a decision has been reached on a case. You may contest this violation by pleading not guilty, whereby you will be able to either negotiate this matter or bring your case to trial, depending on the jurisdiction.

  • Theresa Theresa
    January 31, 2017

    I borrowed someone’s car to drive to work and got a ticket for no registration and no insurance . Am I liable ? I have to go to court over this and need to know what to do . I can’t find the actual owner of the car now .

    • RLF Attorneys
      February 6, 2017

      In order to provide further assistance, I suggest you contact us for a free consultation.