By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:
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 New Mexico and New York.
- New York and New Mexico share driving information, so any convictions received in New York will be recorded on a New Mexico driving record.
- Ignoring or forgetting to pay a New York traffic ticket could result in a suspension of driving privileges in New York as well as at home.
- New York traffic tickets are significantly more expensive than New Mexico tickets.
Even outside Manhattan, most parts of New York would seem like a true “concrete jungle” to most visiting New Mexicans. By contrast, around 75 percent of the roads in New Mexico aren’t paved. Despite these differences, New Mexico and New York share a lot in common when it comes to tough enforcement of driving laws. In many cases, the fines in New York are steeper and there are numerous hidden costs. New Mexicans who are ticketed for an infraction while visiting New York may also have to deal with the consequence of points, as well as the risk of a suspended license.
Drivers from the Land of Enchantment should not make the mistake of assuming an out-of-state ticket won’t affect them back home. Refusing to pay a New York traffic ticket can have serious consequences—but so can giving up and paying it! New Mexico drivers who wish to avoid the points, fines, and suspension risk that comes with a New York traffic ticket should hire an attorney to fight the charges.
New York and New Mexico Share Driver Information
Thanks to the Driver’s License Compact, drivers from New Mexico may still have to face the fines and other consequences of a ticket from New York or other states. The Compact is an interstate agreement among states to share information about their drivers. That means New York will notify the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of any convictions for offenses that take place in the Empire State. Pleading guilty (which happens when a NY ticket is paid), getting convicted in court, or refusing to pay the ticket means having the infraction appear on one’s driving record.
New Mexico Drivers Who Don’t Pay Can Lose Their License
Drivers ticketed in New Mexico have the option of and paying a ticket or choosing “court appearance” during the traffic stop. New York does not allow for that; drivers must respond with a guilty or not guilty plea by mail or online within the designated time frame. Drivers who don’t respond—either because they forgot, lost the ticket, or simply thought it didn’t matter—will be found guilty by default. More importantly, the NY DMV can suspend their right to drive in New York. The Compact agreement establishes that New Mexico reserves the right to suspend a NM license in response to a suspension issued out of state. What that boils down to is this: New Mexico drivers who choose not to or forget to respond to a NY ticket can lose their New Mexico license as well as their New York driving privileges.
New Mexicans Must Deal with Points for NY Tickets
New York has a point system not terribly unlike New Mexico’s. While New York cannot impose points on a New Mexico license, the point value of an infraction still matters. The number of points associated with any infractions a driver is convicted of can lead to additional fines and even a suspension of driving privileges in the state.
NY Ticket Can Result in a Suspension of a New Mexico License
The New Mexico MVD can suspend a license when drivers are convicted of one or more violations worth seven points or more in 12 months. New York is similar. Drivers can easily lose their right to drive in NY if they commit as little as two infractions that are worth 11 or more points in 18 months. A single ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit is worth six points. A driver who is convicted for this twice, or who is convicted of similar high-point infraction (e.g. reckless driving, cell phone violations, and failing to stop for a school bus are worth five points each) will already find themselves at risk of a suspension.
Worse, New Mexico’s participation in the Compact means it may choose to reciprocate a suspension of privileges issued by another state. In addition to committing 11 points worth of offenses, NY can suspend or revoke driving privileges for racing, drunk driving, or two convictions for speeding in a work zone.
A NY Ticket Can Increase New Mexico Auto Insurance
Given that New Mexico records out-of-state convictions, any tickets received in NY can cause a hike in insurances rates. Although points from a NY conviction only count for 18 months, the convictions never come off one’s NM driving record, which means a single speeding ticket could affect rates forever.
New Mexico Drivers Face Heavy Fines in NY
New Mexico does not have fixed fines for traffic violations. While the state establishes certain fines, cities and villages often set their own rates. A ticket for speeding 7 mph over the limit can range from $20 to $100 depending on where it was issued. New York, on the other hand, has a fixed range for traffic fines and they tend to be significantly more expensive. For example, driving 7 mph over the limit in NY can cost $150. A red light ticket in New York can cost up to $450 (VTL 1111(d)1), compared to just $10 in some parts of New Mexico.
New Mexico drivers know to expect court fees on top of each ticket, adding costs ranging from $28 to $75 depending on the jurisdiction in which the ticket of issued. New York does not charge court fees but does add a state surcharge to every ticket. This typically costs $88 or $93 depending on the court. Taking that into account, two tickets for speeding and running a red can cost $786 ($450 fine for running a red + $93 surcharge + $150 fine for speeding + $93 surcharge).
In addition to surcharges, New York also imposes a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) when drivers commit an offense or offenses worth six points or more. The DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. New Mexico drivers who fail to pay a DRA (or any fine from New York) can see their driving privileges in New York suspended. Adding the DRA for the above-mentioned tickets (which are worth a combined total of six points) would bring the total amount a driver could pay to $1,086.
New Mexico Drivers Can Fight a Ticket Without Returning to NY
A driver who wishes to challenge a New York traffic ticket—even one from out of state—can most likely do so without appearing in court themselves by hiring a qualified NY traffic ticket attorney. New York allows an attorney to appear in lieu of a driver in traffic court in most cases and make plea deals on his/her behalf. For out of state drivers, this is a huge relief as it provides an option to fight the ticket without springing for airfare back to the East Coast. It also offers logistical relief regardless of which state one lives in, since the driver does not need to take time off from work or find a care situation for dependents.
Why Should New Mexico Drivers Hire a NY Traffic Ticket Attorney?
Paying a ticket means accepting a conviction and dealing with fines, points, and the risk of a suspension. But ignoring the ticket also means a conviction and a possible suspension. Thus, the only way New Mexico drivers can fully avoid the consequences of an out-of-state traffic ticket is to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney to fight the ticket for them. Drivers who hire an attorney are more likely to see the points and fines associated with the ticket reduced or eliminated. A skilled attorney can offer advice on the penalties a NY ticket can bring and develop a strategy to avoid them. The right attorney will also know the best way to mitigate the risk of a license suspension. In addition, as mentioned above, hiring an attorney most likely means a person can stay home while the attorney handles it all for them.
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