Utah Drivers with New York Traffic Tickets

Summary

  • New York traffic tickets can impact Utah drivers in a number of ways.
  • Traffic tickets in New York tend to be more expensive than in Utah.
  • Utah drivers can see their insurance premiums increase by as much as 20 percent for a single traffic ticket, even one issued out of state.

Among the many things Utah is known for is its incredible scenic drives, including the 120-mile stretch of State Route 12 that runs from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon. New York State has plenty of its own scenic routes, such as Route 30 in the Catskills. Utahns could find many parts of New York enjoyable to drive—provided they don’t end up getting a traffic ticket while in town.

Despite being more than 2,000 miles apart, a New York traffic ticket can and will follow a Utah driver home. Drivers licensed in Utah cannot ignore a New York traffic ticket without facing harsh consequences. At the same time, paying a NY ticket means admitting guilt and accepting a host of penalties, including heavy fines, points, and the risk of a suspended license. The best way for Utah drivers to avoid these penalties is to hire a qualified attorney to fight the underlying charges.

New York and Utah Share Driver Information

Utah and New York both participate in the Driver’s License Compact. This interstate agreement allows the states to share information about their respective drivers. As such the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified of any offenses that take place in New York. Utah driving records will show whether a person pled guilty, was convicted in court, or refused to pay an out-of-state ticket.

Can Utah Drivers Just Ignore a NY Ticket?

No. Any driver, regardless of the state in which they are licensed, that fails to respond to a New York traffic ticket can have their right to drive in NY suspended. This suspension will be communicated to Utah and will appear on one’s driving record and potentially affect their auto insurance premiums. It’s quite common for out of state drivers to fail to respond to a NY ticket (either intentionally or unintentionally) and then many years later end up getting caught driving in NY with a suspended driving privilege which can lead to a criminal offense for driving while suspended called Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.

Will Utah Drivers Get Points for NY Tickets?

Utah’s point system is rather generous compared to many other states. Drivers who receive 200 points or more on their license in three years risk a suspended license. However, each year that a driver goes without receiving a moving violation reduces the number of points by half. In addition, most moving violations are worth about 50 points, meaning it typically takes four or more violations before a driver is truly at risk.

New York’s point system is considerably harsher. Drivers who are convicted of 11 points or more worth of tickets in 18 months can have their right to drive in New York suspended. This point threshold can be reached with only one or two tickets. For example, a ticket for speeding 41 mph over the limit is worth 11 points alone. Likewise, a ticket for texting while driving or passing a school bus are worth five points each. Even if a driver does not end up getting suspended, New York can still assess additional penalties for drivers who are convicted of violations totaling six points or more.

Can a NY Ticket Result in a Suspension of a Utah License?

There are a lot of ways that a NY traffic ticket can result in the suspension of a Utah driver’s license. Remember that although NY cannot suspend a Utah license, it can suspend a Utah driver’s right to drive in New York. As per the Compact, the Utah DMV could respond to such action with a full suspension of the driver’s UT driver’s license.

It’s already been mentioned that not paying a NY ticket or and conviction for 11 points worth of NY infractions can both result in a suspension of driving privileges in NY (and thus at home). New York can also suspend driving privileges for three speeding convictions in 18 months or two for speeding in a work zone. Similarly, a conviction for offenses such as drunk driving, racing, or driving without auto insurance can result in a suspension as well.

Will a NY Ticket Increase Utah Auto Insurance?

Because Utah records out-of-state convictions, drivers are likely to see their insurance premiums go up in response to a traffic conviction in New York. A recent study of auto insurance carriers found that a single ticket for speeding, failing to signal a turn or lane change, or tailgating can increase rates by 19 to 21 percent. Given that Utah premiums average about $1,200 per year and a conviction will stay on Utah driving records for three years, that means even a single New York traffic conviction can cost around $360 in additional premiums—that’s on top of the fines and other costs associated with the ticket.

Do NY Speeding Tickets Carry a Presumption of Guilt?

Utah handles speeding tickets differently than most states. Exceeding the speed limit in Utah results in a presumption of a violation, not a determination. That means Utah drivers can claim innocence if they can prove their driving was still safe given the conditions present or was in compliance with the spirit of the Basic Speed Law.

In New York (and most other states), the limit is the limit and there are no acceptable excuses. New York has strict liability speed limits, which means any evidence that demonstrates the driver was going above the posted limit is proof enough for a conviction—even if the roads were clear of other vehicles and the driver can prove he/she was otherwise driving safely.

What Fines Will Utah Drivers Face?

New York traffic fines are often higher than the equivalent fine in Utah. For example, following too closely (tailgating) is a $120 fine in Utah, but costs $150 in New York. Texting while driving in New York costs $150, compared to just $100 in Utah. Likewise, a ticket for speeding 15 mph over the limit costs $300, which is twice the rate in Utah ($150).

In addition to the fine for a given offense, drivers are also responsible for a mandatory New York State surcharge. This typically costs $88 or $93 per violation. That means the combined cost of fines and surcharges for two tickets such as tailgating and speeding 15 mph over the limit would be $636 ($150 for tailgating + $93 surcharge + $300 for speeding + $93 surcharge).

Hidden fees don’t end with surcharges in NY. The state also imposes a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) when drivers are convicted of six points or more worth of violations. The DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. Failing to pay a DRA, like any fine from New York, can result in a suspension of driving privileges in New York.

The two tickets mentioned above would result in eight points (four for speeding and four for tailgating), making the final cost $1,086! Not to mention the likely increase in insurance premiums.

Must Utah Drivers Return to NY to Fight a Ticket?

Utah drivers who are ticketed while in New York are in for one bit of good luck: There is a high possibility that the driver will not have to return to NY to fight the ticket. That is, provided he/she hires a qualified New York traffic ticket attorney. New York State, in most cases, allows an attorney to negotiate plea deals and appear in court in lieu of the driver. That’s a good thing, as there’s nothing scenic about a New York courtroom.

How Can Utah Drivers Get Out of NY Traffic Tickets?

The most effective way to avoid the consequences of a NY traffic ticket is to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney to fight the charges. An experienced attorney will know how to negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the fines and/or points associated with the ticket (where applicable). The right attorney can also use his/her knowledge to assess the risk of a suspension and apply a strategy to mitigate that risk. Finally, as mentioned, an attorney can appear in lieu of the driver in most cases, ensuring he/she does not have to travel more than 2,000 miles just to appear in court.

If you are licensed to drive in Utah and recently received a traffic ticket in New York or New Jersey, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm right away. Our team of experienced NY traffic ticket attorneys will be able to help you avoid the most serious consequences.

Contact us today at 888-883-5529.