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 Oklahoma and New York.
- New York has an aggressive point system that can lead to heavier fines and a serious risk of having one’s driving privileges suspended in NY (and at home).
- Convictions received in New York will appear on an Oklahoma driving record and can affect Oklahoma auto insurance rates.
- Paying a New York traffic ticket is the worst way to handle it—only negotiating it down or winning a dismissal can avoid the consequences of an out-of-state ticket, something best done with the aid of an attorney.
Oklahoma embodies the concept of “middle America” on many levels. State culture aside, the Sooner capital, Oklahoma City, lies equidistant between New York City and Los Angeles (500 miles from each). Moreover, the state consistently ranks in the middle for states with the strictest traffic enforcement.
New York does not take any kind of “middle of the road” approach to traffic tickets. Sooners who visit the Empire State would be well advised to avoid anything that could result in a traffic ticket. New York’s aggressive point system, heavy fines and propensity for suspending licenses could seem quite extreme to Oklahoma drivers.
Those who think a ticket from outside their licensing state will not affect them should think again. Oklahoma and New York are both members of what is known as the Driver’s License Compact, an interstate agreement whereby states share information about their respective drivers. The Compact ensures the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be notified of any convictions for offenses that take place in New York. Drivers who plead guilty to a New York traffic ticket, are convicted in a New York court, or refuse to pay the ticket will see the offense listed on their driving record.
Oklahoma drivers who are charged with a traffic violation while in New York would be well advised to fight the ticket—or better yet, hire an attorney to do so (for the reasons explained below).
Oklahoma Drivers Cannot Ignore a NY Ticket
New York will suspend driving privileges in the state for drivers that fail to respond a ticket issued there. That may sound like no big deal to a Sooner who doesn’t plan to ever return to New York. They would be wrong, however. Firstly, the Oklahoma DPS will be notified of the suspension, which will be recorded on one’s driving record and ultimately impact one’s auto insurance premiums (see below). Secondly, part of the Compact agreement establishes that Oklahoma could opt to reciprocate the suspension in Oklahoma as well.
NY Points Affect Oklahoma Drivers
Compared to many states, Oklahoma’s point system is neither lenient nor harsh. Most moving violations are worth one, two or three points, with a few being worth four points. Drivers who accrue 10 points could have their license suspended. However, points come off an OK license at a rate of two per year. Drivers who go three years with no convictions will have all points removed automatically.
New York’s point system is far more aggressive. Most moving violations are worth two or three points, but there are plenty worth four or more. A speeding ticket can easily be worth 6, 8 or even 11 points. While New York cannot apply points to an Oklahoma license, the point value still matters. New York will assess additional fees to drivers who are convicted of one or more violations worth six points. The state will also suspend driving privileges for anyone convicted of 11 points or more worth of traffic infractions.
NY Tickets Can Result in Suspension of an OK License
As already mentioned, New York will suspend driving privileges within its borders for out-of-state drivers who commit one or more infractions worth 11 points or more—and a suspension in New York is likely to mean a suspension at home too. This is shockingly easy to do. For example, a single ticket for either texting while driving or passing a school bus is worth five points in NY (for comparison, texting is a no-point violation in OK and passing a school bus is a four-point violation). A ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit is worth six points in New York (two points in OK). One of the five-point violations combined with the speeding ticket and a driver is already facing a suspension.
Points aren’t the only reason NY could suspend driving privileges. It may also do so for drivers convicted of DWI/DUI, racing, or committing a hit-and-run. Again, any suspension issued in NY could mean a suspension of the driver’s license by the OK DPS.
NY Tickets Can Increase Oklahoma Auto Insurance
Oklahoma’s participation in the Compact means it records out-of-state convictions. As such Sooners can expect their auto insurer to jack up their rates whenever they pay a NY ticket. One study found that a single speeding ticket can cause an almost 15 percent increase in premiums.
Oklahoma Drivers Face Steep Fines for NY Tickets
Unfortunately, Oklahoma drivers ticketed in New York will have to pay the New York rate for the offense. At a quick glance, those offenses may seem on par with each other. For example, a ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit in Oklahoma costs $281.50, which is just shy of the New York rate of $300.
But the fine is not the final cost of a speeding ticket in New York. Drivers are also responsible for a mandatory state surcharge. This typically costs either $88 or $93 per violation. When combined with the fine a ticket for texting while and speeding 21 mph over the limit can cost $636 ($150 for texting + $93 surcharge + $300 for speeding + $93 surcharge).
That’s not the final cost, however. New York also imposes a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) when drivers commit offenses worth six points or more. The DRA is an annual fine that a driver must pay each year for three years after reaching six points. The cost is $100 plus an additional $25 for each point over six. The above-two tickets are worth 11 points total (compared to just two points in OK), which could result in a DRA of $675, putting the final cost at $1,311. Plus, the driver would be at risk of a suspension.
Sooners May Not Have to Return to NY to Fight a Ticket if They Hire a NY Attorney
In most cases, Oklahoma drivers who hire a qualified NY traffic ticket attorney will not have to make the return trip to fight the ticket. Attorneys in New York are allowed to represent a driver in traffic court and make plea deals on his/her behalf. That means in addition to potentially dodging the fines, points, and auto insurance rate increases, hiring an attorney can also beat the cost of airfare back to NY.
Should Oklahoma Drivers Hire a NY Traffic Ticket Attorney?
New York traffic tickets come with serious penalties. Paying the ticket does not eliminate those penalties—in fact, it’s what brings them on. Ignoring the ticket comes with its own pitfalls. Oklahoma drivers who want to avoid the worst of a New York traffic ticket should hire a skilled NY traffic ticket attorney. An attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the fines and/or points associated with the ticket. The right attorney can also use his knowledge and experience to avoid a possible suspension of driving privileges. Finally, an attorney can appear in lieu of the driver in most cases, ensuring he/she does not have to traverse the 500 miles needed to make a return trip.
Who Should You Contact?
If you recently received a New York traffic ticket, contact Rosenblum Law today at 888-883-5529.