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 Oregon and New York.
- While Oregon does not use a point system for traffic offenses, New York does and those points can lead to heavier fines and a possible suspension of driving privileges in NY and at home.
- An Oregon driver can be classified as a habitual offender after three moving violations. NY traffic ticket convictions can count towards that total.
- Giving up and paying a New York exposes a driver to myriad consequences—only negotiating it down or winning a dismissal can avoid those consequences.
Despite being on opposite sides of the country, Oregon and New York have a lot in common, from progressive political ideals to tough enforcement of traffic laws. A person who is licensed to drive in Oregon should not assume he/she can just ignore a traffic ticket issued in New York. Nor should a driver just give up and pay the ticket. Either decision can result in numerous unexpected costs and other severe consequences—including losing the right to drive in one or both states.
New York and Oregon Share Driver Information
Both Oregon and New York are members of the Driver’s License Compact. Their participation in this interstate agreement means that each state will share information about their respective drivers. It also means that if an Oregon driver is convicted of a traffic violation while in New York, the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will contact Oregon’s Department of Transportation (DOT) with details of the infraction. Likewise, Oregon will record every conviction received in NY on a person’s driving record.
Do Not Ignore an NY Ticket
Oregonians who choose to ignore (or simply forget to respond to) a ticket can find themselves in hot water. Firstly, failing to respond to an NY ticket usually results in a default conviction of the charge. Secondly, it can result in a suspension of driving privileges in the New York. Thirdly, Oregon’s participation in the Compact means it could also choose to reciprocate the suspension at home.
New York’s Point System Applies to Oregon Drivers
Oregon does not have a point system associated with traffic violations. However, New York does. While New York cannot impose points on an Oregon license, the point value of any traffic convictions will still affect Oregon drivers. When a driver—even one from out of state—is convicted of six points or more worth of traffic infractions, New York imposes additional fines (see below). Those who accrue 11 points in 18 months will have their driving privileges suspended in NY.
Oregon Drivers Face Steep Fines in NY
When a driver with an Oregon license is ticketed in New York, it is the latter state which sets the fines. Oregon traffic fines range widely from as little as $60 to as much as $2,000 for a first offense. However, the presumptive fines range from $110 (for a Class D violation) to $435 (for a Class A violation). At first glance, New York traffic fines might seem similar. But New York has numerous hidden fees that can catch drivers by surprise and the final cost of one or two tickets can be very steep.
For example, a ticket for an illegal U-turn in Oregon carries a presumptive fine of $160, compared to $150 in New York. A ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit carries a presumptive fine of $260, compared to $300 in New York.
However, every driver convicted of a traffic infraction in NYS is required to pay a mandatory surcharge that costs either $88 or $93 per violation. That means an Oregon driver that has been ticketed for an illegal U-turn and speeding 21 mph over the limit could end up paying $636 in fines and surcharges ($150 for illegal U-turn + $93 surcharge + $300 for speeding + $93 surcharge).
But surcharges aren’t the only hidden cost in New York’s traffic fine system. The state also has a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA), which occurs when drivers are convicted of infractions 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. It costs $100 plus $25 for each point over six. Drivers who refuse to pay a DRA (or any fine from New York) will see their driving privileges in New York suspended.
The two above-mentioned tickets would be worth eight points total (two for illegal U-turn, six for speeding 21 mph over the limit), which would result in a DRA of $450 over three years, bringing the total cost to $1,086.
NY Tickets Can Cause Oregonians to Lose Their License
Oregon doesn’t use a point system, but the state does impose penalties for too many traffic convictions in a short period of time. Drivers who are convicted of three violations within 18 months will be placed on probationary status. Those who accumulate four convictions in 18 months or five convictions in two years can have their license suspended. Each subsequent violation carries additional harsher penalties. Since Oregon will record any convictions from New York on their driving records, a conviction for a NY ticket will count toward this total.
As mentioned, the Oregon DOT may also choose to reciprocate a suspension. There are myriad factors that will determine whether or not Oregon does this, including any current or past convictions from the home state. In addition to accruing 11 points based on NY’s point system or failing to pay the NY ticket, Oregon drivers could find their license suspended in NY (and thus at home) for violations such as drunk driving, racing, or driving without auto insurance.
Convictions in NY Will Increase Oregon Auto Insurance Rates
Because Oregon will record convictions from New York on driving records at home, Oregon auto insurance providers are very likely to learn of them. All insurance companies check the driving records of the drivers they insure. Whenever it notices new convictions, it will adjust the rate accordingly. According to autoinsurancesaving.org, a single ticket—even one from out of state—can cause a rate increase of about 18 percent. Two tickets in one year can cause a rate increase of about 34 percent. Having a suspension on one’s Oregon driving record can cause premiums to potentially skyrocket.
Oregon Drivers Can Fight a Ticket from Home
Knowing that ignoring the ticket is not an option, Oregon drivers may be tempted to just pay the ticket and be done with it, especially if the alternative is to fly five hours just to appear in court to fight the ticket. Thankfully, that may not be necessary. In most cases, drivers who hire a qualified New York attorney will not have to show up to court themselves. New York allows attorneys to appear in lieu of their client for negotiations with prosecutors or during a trial.
How Can Oregon Drivers Defeat an NY Traffic Ticket?
Remember: simply pleading guilty and paying the fine will not avoid the impact of a NY ticket. In fact, paying the ticket is one thing that causes it. 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. An attorney can advise a client on the penalties that an out-of-state ticket can bring and offer a strategy to help avoid them. Drivers who hire an attorney are more likely to see the points and fines associated with the ticket reduced or eliminated. The right attorney can also help a driver avoid the risk of a license suspension. In addition, as mentioned above, hiring an attorney most likely means a person will not have to fly back to New York to face the judge.