Depending on which state your license is from will determine whether you can have points added onto your driving record for an out-of-state traffic violation.
The information below will help you better understand the role that out-of-state traffic tickets play in Montana and New York.
What a New York Traffic Ticket Means to Montana Drivers
- Paying a NY ticket means facing fines, points, and possibly increased auto insurance rates, even for drivers licensed in Montana and other states.
- Refusing to pay or respond to a NY ticket means NY could suspend the right to drive there—and Montana MVD could suspend the driver’s Montana license as well.
- In most cases, a driver who hires a NY attorney is not required to appear in traffic court.
Montana is a large state. A trip via interstate from the far eastern town of Wibaux to the western border town of Mullan, Idaho is over 700 miles—an estimated 12-hour journey. Because Montanans must often drive long distances to get from one place to another, they generally love their cars, especially their SUVs and other four-wheel drive vehicles. Despite this love of driving, The Big Sky State ranked No. 1 for having the worst drivers in the country. It had the fourth-most drunk driving instances per capita and the sixth-most speeders.
Montana drivers who apply those driving habits while in New York could find themselves in a lot of trouble! New York traffic tickets are shockingly expensive and can lead to many serious consequences, including having one’s driving privileges suspended in NY and at home. While paying a NY ticket (which means pleading guilty to the charge) could incur serious penalties, ignoring one could be just as bad. A Montana driver charged with a traffic violation while in New York should hire a NY attorney to fight the ticket for the reasons explained below.
Montana and New York Share Driver Information
Just because a driver is from Montana does not mean that a New York traffic ticket will not affect them. While New York does not have authority over a Montana license, it does share information with Montana and other states that are part of the Driver’s License Compact. This interstate agreement ensures that when a Montana driver is convicted of a traffic ticket issued in New York or fails to respond to a NY ticket, Montana’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) will be notified. If the driver is convicted or fails to pay or respond to the ticket it will be recorded on his/her Montana driving record.
Montana Drivers Should Never Ignore a NY Ticket
As mentioned above, choosing to ignore to a ticket issued in another state can have serious consequences. Firstly, New York can suspend driving privileges in the state for any driver that fails to respond to or pay a traffic ticket issued there. Secondly, once New York issues a suspension of privileges against the driver, it will notify the Montana MVD. Participation in the Compact means Montana could choose to suspend a Montana license in response to the NY suspension.
Drivers Can Lose Their Montana License Over a NY Ticket
Ignoring a NY traffic ticket is not the only way a Montana driver can find their license suspended. There are a lot of ways in which a driver from out of state can find their right to drive in New York suspended—and any of those reasons can compel Montana to do the same. For example, drivers must also be careful not to commit 11 or more points worth of infractions based on NY’s point system (see below), which can lead a suspension. Montana drivers could find their privileges suspended in NY (and thus at home) for violations such as speeding in a work zone twice in 18 months, driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, or driving without auto insurance.
Montana Drivers Can Suffer the Consequences of NY’s Point System
Like many states, Montana assigns a point value to driving infractions. Drivers who accumulate six points within 18 months could be required to seek counseling or retake the license examination. Those that rack up 15 points in 36 months can have their Montana license suspended for six months. Drivers earning 30 or more points in three years can see their license revoked.
New York also has a point system and the penalties for accumulating points can affect drivers from out of state. Getting convicted of offenses worth six points or more can mean having to pay additional fines. Convictions for violations totaling 11 points or more could mean losing the right to drive in NY. This is easier than it may seem. For example, speeding 21 mph over the limit (and NY limits are much lower than in Montana) is worth six points. Two such speeding tickets, or one combined with a five-point violation such as texting while driving, cell phone violations, or failing to stop for a school bus adds enough points for a suspension.
Montanans Could Pay More for Auto Insurance (or Lose it) over NY Tickets
Remember that Montana driving records will show New York traffic convictions. As such, these convictions can impact auto insurance rates. Insurance carriers often update rates when they notice a new traffic violation. Insurers periodically pull up the driving record of their customers, especially around renewal time. So long as the infraction is on the record (five years), Montanans can expect to pay hundreds of dollars more in premiums. And if the ticket results in a suspended license drivers could even end up getting dropped by their insurer altogether.
Montana Drivers Will Face Exorbitant Fines in NY
Montana’s high speed limits—80 mph on many highways—combined with its sparsely populated roads and $40 speeding tickets make the state one of the best places for speeding. New York’s roadways and traffic fines draw a sharp contrast. Speeding tickets in New York State, for example, usually cost between $150 and $600, sometimes more. Red light or stop sign violations in Montana cost $100, compared to $150 in New York. Outside of major cities, Montana does not have any kind of ban on texting or talking on the phone while driving. New York, however, considers those serious offenses and applies a fine of $150 plus five points for either one.
Worse, New York’s fines are not the final cost of a ticket. The state slaps a surcharge on top of every ticket, typically between $88 to $93. A driver hit with two tickets while in New York for cell phone violations and speeding 21 mph over the limit can face a combined cost of $636 ($150 for texting + $93 surcharge + $300 for speeding + $93 surcharge).
Surcharges aren’t the only hidden cost drivers face in New York. As mentioned above, the state imposes additional fines on drivers who commit one or more offenses totaling six points or more in 18 months. The fine is called a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) and costs $300 ($100 per year for three years) plus an additional $75 ($25 per year) for each point over six. As with any traffic fine from New York, Montanans who don’t pay could see their driving privileges in New York suspended.
The two above-mentioned two tickets are worth 11 points in total, which would put the cost of the DRA at $675 over three years ($300 for the first six points plus $375 for the remaining five points). That makes the final amount paid to New York State $1,311! This would be in addition to a likely hike in insurance premiums. And since the two tickets are worth 11 points in total, it means a possible suspension of driving privileges.
Montana Drivers Could Beat a NY Ticket Without Returning to the State
Montanans may be tempted to pay an out-of-state traffic rather than return to the state just to fight it in court. In New York, however, that is likely necessary. In most cases, NY traffic court allows a lawyer to present arguments and make plea deals in lieu of the client (where applicable). This is especially beneficial to those that may have a hard time taking time off from work or arranging for care of pets or dependents (or both).
Why Montana Drivers Should Hire a NY Attorney to Fight a Traffic Ticket
If you recently received a traffic ticket in New York and are licensed to drive in Montana or any other state, contact Rosenblum Law right away. Our team of experienced NY traffic ticket attorneys can help you avoid the insurance hikes, suspension risk and other consequences that come with a conviction. Contact us today at 888-883-5529.