- South Dakota will assess points for New York traffic tickets.
- New York traffic tickets will appear on South Dakota driving records and can increase South Dakota auto insurance premiums.
- Hiring an attorney means most South Dakotans won’t have to return to New York to fight a traffic ticket.
South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the U.S. New York State has its own share of famous attractions and historical landmarks. South Dakotans who visit the Empire State, whether for business or pleasure, should drive carefully. Getting a traffic ticket while in New York can be a serious issue for anyone, but the consequences can be particularly high for many out-of-state drivers, including those from South Dakota.
South Dakota drivers hit with a traffic ticket in New York are facing a Catch 22: Ignoring the ticket can lead to serious penalties, yet at the same time, paying the ticket could bring on just as many. There is only one way to avoid the penalties associated with a New York: Hire a NY attorney to fight the charges!
New York and South Dakota Share Driver Information
South Dakota and New York both participate in the Driver’s License Compact. States in the Compact share information about their drivers with each other. That means when a South Dakota driver is convicted of a traffic ticket in New York, South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be notified. If a driver fails to respond, pleads guilty, or is convicted in court the infraction will appear on his/her South Dakota driving record.
South Dakota Drivers Should Not Ignore a NY Ticket
Ignoring a ticket issued in another state can have serious consequences. New York can suspend driving privileges in the state for any driver that fails to respond to or pay a traffic ticket issued there. Since both states participate in the Compact, South Dakota could choose to suspend a South Dakota license in response.
NY Tickets Can Lead to Points on South Dakota Licenses
South Dakota DPS will assess points for violations that occur out of state, including New York. When New York informs South Dakota of the conviction, the DPS will assign a number of points as though the violation had occurred at home (i.e. not the point value New York uses). Remember that accruing 15 points in 12 months or 22 points in 24 months can result in a suspended license. Thankfully, the t of violations are worth only two to four points in South Dakota, meaning it can take quite a few (four or more) convictions to be suspended.
Unfortunately, while New York does not assess points on out-of-state licenses, the affiliated point value still matters to South Dakota drivers. Those who are convicted of offenses worth 11 points or more in under 18 months based on NY’s point system could find their right to drive in NY suspended. Unfortunately, it is way too easy to reach 11 points in NY. For example, just one ticket for texting while driving (five points) combined with another for speeding 21 mph over the limit (six points) adds enough points for a suspension.
Texting While Driving is a Primary Offense in NY
It should be noted that texting while driving is a primary offense in New York. In South Dakota, police cannot conduct a traffic stop for texting alone–another primary reason is needed for the traffic stop, at which point a ticket for texting while driving can also be issued. However, in NY police can and will conduct a traffic stop for not using a hands-free device or texting while driving. NY considers texting while driving to be a serious offense worth five points plus a fine of up to $150.
It’s also worth noting that talking on a cell phone while driving is fully legal in SD, but drivers in NY must have hands-free device to avoid a ticket. Like texting, a cell phone violation costs up $150 plus five points.
South Dakota Drivers Can Lose Their License Over a NY Ticket
The South Dakota DPS may choose to reciprocate any suspension issued in New York. South Dakota will take into account a variety of factors, including the reason for the NY suspension and any other convictions that are on the driver’s record (regardless of the state in which they were committed).
There are myriad ways to lose driving privileges in New York. In addition to not paying a ticket and committing infractions worth 11 or more points based on NY’s point system, South Dakota drivers could find themselves facing a suspension or revocation for driving without auto insurance, DUI/DWI, or leaving the scene of an accident.
A NY Ticket Can Increase South Dakotans’ Auto Insurance
Thanks to the Compact, New York traffic offenses will show up on South Dakota driving records. That means these convictions can impact auto insurance rates. Insurers tend to pull driving records of their customers periodically to see if new convictions show up. While the exact amount will vary from carrier to carrier, studies have shown that a single ticket can increase rates by about 15 percent. Drivers who end up with a suspended license can see their rates go up even more—or get dropped by their insurer altogether.
South Dakota Drivers Will Face Heavy Fines in NY
Unfortunately for South Dakota drivers, New York traffic violations tend to be more expensive than equivalent offenses back home. For example, stop sign violations in New York can cost $150, which is slightly higher than the South Dakota fine of $120. As mentioned, texting while driving can cost $150 in NY, but only $100 in the Mount Rushmore State. Likewise, SD drivers caught speeding 21 mph over the limit in NY can end up paying $300, rather than the $165 charged at home.
In addition to the fine, New York slaps a mandatory state surcharge on every ticket. This typically costs $88 or $93. Thus, a driver that has been ticketed for a cell phone violation and speeding 21 mph over the limit can face a combined cost of $636 ($150 for talking on the cell phone + $93 surcharge + $300 for speeding + $93 surcharge).
Surcharges aren’t the only hidden cost drivers face in New York. The state also imposes a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee (DRA) on those who are convicted of violations worth six or more points. Drivers hit with a DRA can expect to pay $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. Refuse to pay a DRA (or any fine from New York) and one’s driving privileges in New York can be suspended.
The above-mentioned two tickets would cost only $165 and carry no points in South Dakota (speeding is a no-point violation in SD and cell phone use is legal). However, in NY they add up to 11 points. As such, the DRA for both tickets would cost $675 ($300 for the first six points plus $375 for the five points over six). That means the final cost paid to New York State could be $1,311! And since the two tickets alone are worth 11 points, it means a possible suspension of driving privileges.
South Dakota Drivers May Not Need to Return to NY to Beat a Ticket
South Dakotans who get a traffic ticket while in New York might be tempted to pay the ticket rather than fly all the way back to NY just to fight it. Consequences of a conviction aside, this is a mistake because, in most cases, it may not be necessary. New York allows a lawyer to present an argument and make plea deals on a driver’s behalf. Thus, a SD driver who hires a NY traffic attorney can stay at home and let the lawyer fight the ticket for them.
How Can South Dakota Drivers Beat a NY Traffic Ticket?
If paying a New York ticket means a conviction and all the resulting consequences, and not paying has the same result plus a possible suspension of driving privileges, what should South Dakota drivers do? The best possible solution is to hire a skilled NY traffic attorney to fight the underlying charges. An attorney can use his/her knowledge to negotiate down the fine and minimize or reduce the associated points. Experienced attorneys will also be able to assess the risk of a suspension and come up with a strategy to avoid it.
Contact us today at 888-883-5529.
NY Drivers That Receive Traffic Tickets in South Dakota
If you are a New York driver and you received a traffic ticket in South Dakota we suggest that you contact one of the law firms listed below: