New York and Kentucky don’t have very much in common. But what the two states lack in cultural accord they make up for in cooperation regarding traffic tickets. Kentucky and New York are both part of the Driver’s License Compact. This means that they share information about drivers from their state and traffic violations committed within their state.
If you are licensed to drive in Kentucky but get hit with a ticket for speeding or any other traffic violation while in New York, Kentucky’s Transportation Cabinet will find out about it and you will face a number of harsh consequences. This includes points, insurance increases, and possibly even a suspension of driving privileges in one or both states!
NY Tickets Can Result in Points for KY Drivers
Kentucky assesses points for most moving violations that take place in their state. If a person accrues 12 points (or seven points for drivers under the age of 18), their license will be suspended. Thankfully, a traffic ticket from another state will not add points to a Kentucky driver’s license.
However, one should not assume he is in the clear. First, the NY infraction will still show up on the KY driving record, which can affect auto insurance rates (see below). Second, New York will assess points on the driver’s NY record using its own point system, which can lead to the following consequences.
If a person accrues 11 points in 18 months in New York, their driving privileges will be suspended in NY. Unfortunately, it’s shockingly easy to reach 11 points - that can be accomplished with two or even one ticket. For example, one ticket for texting while driving (five points) and another speeding 21 mph over the limit (six points) carry enough points for a suspension. A single speeding ticket of more than 40 miles per hour over the speed limit is 11 points!
Can my Kentucky Insurance Rates Go Up as the Result of a New York Traffic Ticket?
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet isn’t the only organization that will find out about an out-of-state traffic violation; your insurance carrier will as well. All auto insurers have access to customer driving records. Insurers periodically request updated driving records, especially around renewal time. Once they do, any out-of-state traffic convictions will show up and your premiums can be impacted as though the violation occurred in Kentucky.
Even though NY points don’t count toward your total as long as Kentucky points do—18 months from the date of the violation, versus two years from the date of the conviction—the violation will stay on your record for the five years just like any other violation that takes place at home. That means the ticket will continue to keep your insurance rates high for five years, even if you never drive in NY again.
New York Fines & Surcharges Are Steep
The agreement between Kentucky and New York means the latter sets the fine for the violation. New York is an expensive state for almost any traffic ticket. For example, blowing through a stop sign costs $150 in New York, compared to $100 in Kentucky. Likewise, the fine for speeding 15 mph over the limit in NY is $300, which is 10 times higher than the $30 fine set by the Bluegrass State.
Of course, Kentuckians should be aware that the fine is not the final cost of a traffic ticket. Kentucky drivers have to shell out $143 in court costs per ticket for offenses at home. New York does not require drivers to pay court costs, but it does apply a mandatory state surcharge, which typically costs $88 to $93 per violation.
Even worse, if the ticket (or tickets) carry six points or more, a driver will face what NY calls aDriver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). The DRA starts at $100 per year for three years. Each point over six adds another $25 per year. Kentucky drivers who are charged a DRA will have to pay every year regardless of whether they or not they ever visit NY again. If they refuse to pay, their driving privileges will be suspended in NY—and Kentucky may choose to reciprocate the suspension at home.
Kentuckians Face a Suspension of New York Driving Privileges
As already mentioned, if you are licensed to drive in Kentucky and commit an offense or multiple offenses that result in 11 or more points under New York’s point system, you will be barred from driving in the state. In addition to texting while driving, some very common violations can result in five points, such as cell phone tickets and failing to stop for a school.
Moreover, any violation that results in a suspension from New York will result in a Transportation Cabinet hearing to determine if your license should be suspended at home as well. Other offenses that carry a high risk of suspension or revocation in New York include drunk driving (or any other drug- or alcohol-related traffic offense), participating in a speed contest, and fleeing the scene of an accident.
How Can Kentucky Beat an NY Traffic Ticket?
The best way to successfully avoid the negative consequences of an out-of-state traffic ticket is to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney to fight the ticket for you. The good news is that most courts in New York allow an attorney to present the case on your behalf, meaning you won’t have to fly all the way back to NY for the hearing.