For Arizonans, New York State can seem like a world away. Don’t be intimidated, though--it’s a great place to visit! Those who do plan a trip to the Empire State and who plan to stay or travel outside of the major metro areas may find it necessary to rent a car. The good news is that an Arizona driver’s license is valid in New York State. The bad news is that an Arizona driver who gets hit with an NY traffic ticket could find himself or herself in hot water.
For Arizona drivers who get traffic tickets in New York, be warned: do not make the mistake of paying the ticket without first seeking the advice of a New York attorney! While it may seem easier to just pony up the money and “make the ticket go away,” the truth is this could be a costly mistake.
One key reason: New York and Arizona are members of the Driver’s License Compact. This means they share driver information with each other. As a result, if you receive a NY traffic ticket but have an Arizona driver’s license, Arizona will be notified about the ticket you received. Pleading guilty to a NY traffic ticket can result in many negative consequences, as outlined below.
The information below will help you better understand the role that out-of-state traffic ticket play in Arizona and New York.
Fines & Surcharges
When Arizona drivers receive a traffic ticket in New York State, it is New York that sets the amount for that violation (and New York receives the payment). Unfortunately, as an out-of-state driver, New York police are most likely going to issue the maximum possible fine for the violation—that means you could end up paying up to $300 (plus $93 in state surcharges) for going just 11 mph over the limit. As such, out-of-state drivers who plead guilty to or are convicted of traffic violations in NY usually face the most severe fines.
Driver Responsibility Assessment
In New York State, once you accrue up to six points under NY’s point system (or a combination of tickets that amount to six or more points), you are obligated to pay what is called a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). The DRA applies even to out-of-state drivers and regardless of whether points transfer to the driver’s home state.
The assessment starts at $100 per year for three years ($300 total). Each point over six adds another $25 per year ($75 total). Also, a conviction for any drug- or alcohol-related offense (e.g. drunk driving) results in an automatic assessment of $750 ($250 per year for three years). This also applies if you refuse a chemical or breathalyzer test. Each assessment is cumulative and it takes 18 months for the points that caused them to come off your driving record.
Not only does Arizona share and receive driving data from other states like New York, but it also records every out-of-state traffic conviction you receive on your driving record (including if you plead guilty through the mail). Insurance carriers frequently check the driving records of their policy holders and can update your rate accordingly. Therefore, if an out-of-state traffic violation appears on your Arizona driver’s license your auto insurance can skyrocket! What most people don’t realize is that driver’s license points are not the factor that insurance companies look at in determining auto insurance rates. They look at the violation the person was convicted of. For example, in many states, including New York, DWI carries no points. Yet DWI tops the list in terms of violations that can raise auto insurance rates. Hence, whether or not points end up on your Arizona driving record as a result of a New York conviction are irrelevant to the issue of increased auto insurance. Your rates can still increase substantially even if no driver’s license points result
Suspension of NY Driving Privileges
If you are an Arizona driver and commit NY traffic offenses that total 11 points or more under New York’s point system, you will lose your driving privileges in New York.
Eleven points sounds like a lot, but it can add up fast. For example, cell phone tickets, texting-while-driving tickets, and failing to stop for a school bus are all five-point tickets. Combine just one of these with a ticket for driving 21 mph over the speed limit (a six-point ticket) and you have already reached the 11-point threshold.
Moreover, according to Article IV Section 28-1872 of Arizona’s Revised Statutes:
“On receipt of a report of a failure to comply from the licensing authority of the issuing jurisdiction, the licensing authority of the home jurisdiction shall notify the motorist and initiate a suspension action in accordance with the home jurisdiction's procedures to suspend the motorist’s driver’s license until satisfactory evidence of compliance with the terms of the traffic citation has been furnished to the home jurisdiction licensing authority. Due process safeguards will be accorded.”
In other words, if an AZ driver fails to respond to a NY traffic ticket, his or her AZ driver’s license will be suspended.
Additionally, if New York (or any other state) takes away your driving privileges, they will notify the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicle and your license could be suspended.
Although this is wholly within the discretion of the AZDMV, many drivers who lose their right to drive in NY have also had their AZ driver’s license suspended, especially for offenses like DUI/DWI and serious cases of reckless driving.
Who Should You Contact?
If you recently received a New York traffic ticket, contact Rosenblum Law today at 888-883-5529.
NY Drivers That Recieve Traffic Tickets in Arizona
If you are a New York driver and you received a traffic ticket in Arizona we suggest that you contact one of the law firms listed below: