Travel between the major cities on the East Coast has become so commonplace that it is easy to forget that ticketing practices vary greatly from state-to-state, as well as state-to-district. The following is information you should familiarize yourself with before hitting the road from the Capital to the Big Apple, or the opposite direction.
One Driver, One License, One Record
New York and Washington D.C. are both parties to the Driver’s License Compact, an agreement between states to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of out-of-state residents and forward such information to the driver’s home state where he or she is licensed. In other words, if you are a D.C.-licensed driver ticketed in New York, D.C. will be notified of your moving violation, and vice versa.As a result, drivers should be aware of the impact that an out-of-state ticket given in either New York or D.C. can have on their home state driving record.
According to the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles, “[f]or moving violations received out-of-state, the D.C. DMV assesses points according to the point system for the same or similar violation in the District.”
For instance, if you receive a ticket for reckless driving in New York, a ticket carrying 5 points in New York State, you will nevertheless receive 6 points on your D.C. driving record because this is the amount D.C. accords such a violation. The points will stay on your D.C. driving record for two years. However, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles explains that “[i]f you are a DC license holder and have received a pointable moving violation in another state or jurisdiction, then you may be eligible to attend traffic school or complete an online defensive driving course to have the points removed from your driving record,” if such a program exists in the other state, and pending approval from the out-of-state court and the D.C. DMV.
You cannot attend traffic school or complete a defensive driving course to prevent out-of-state convictions which transfer to the D.C. DMV as mandatory suspensions or revocations from being applied however.D.C. drivers cannot use the D.C. DMV online defensive driving course to have points for out-of-state moving violations removed from their licenses. But the good news for D.C. drivers ticketed in New York is that New York State does offer defensive driving courses which can add a credit to their driving record, meaning that NY DMV will not count those points toward driving privilege revocation or suspension. D.C. drivers who complete a New York defensive driver’s course can receive credit for up to four points from violations received within eighteen months before completion of the course.
Despite the credit of up to 4 points, the violations themselves remain on the record and driver must still pay all fines and fees associated with the ticket (see below for more information).
New York Drivers
New York handles out-of-state traffic tickets much differently. If you have a New York driver’s license and receive a D.C. traffic ticket, New York will not typically add points onto your driver’s license. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, “The NYS DMV does not record out-of-state violations committed by NYS drivers in other jurisdictions.”
Nonetheless, NY makes exceptions for alcohol-related violations, drug-related violations, and moving violations committed in Quebec or Ontario. Consequently, if you are caught speeding in D.C., not a single point will be added onto your New York driver’s license. However, your insurance carrier may raise your insurance rates due to the type of violation you committed. This point about insurance is also applicable if you are a D.C. license holder ticketed in NY.
Loss of Your Driving Privileges
If you are an out-of-state driver and accrue 11 points or more, you will lose your New York driving privileges, even though you do not hold a NY license. This accumulation of 11 points will be determined based on the NY point system, not your home state’s point system. Therefore, if you are caught speeding 41 miles over the posted speed limit or get cited twice for speeding 21-30 miles over the limit, you will no longer be allowed to drive in the State of New York for a specified period of time. Remember, your driver’s license will not be suspended by your home state and NY does not have the authority to suspend an out-of-state driver’s license. However, since D.C. and NY are both members of the Driver’s License Compact, D.C. will likely honor the “suspension” of your New York driving privileges and may end up suspending your D.C. license as well.
The Costs of a NY Ticket
If you have received a NY traffic ticket, you must pay the State of New York a fine that is set by the court. Drivers ticketed in New York, whether they be New Yorkers or out-of-staters, should be aware that additional costs may accompany their ticket, should they choose to simply pay and plead guilty.
Regardless of whether you are a D.C. driver or licensed in NY, if you are convicted of a NY traffic ticket for a set of offenses that amount to 6 or more points under New York’s point system or of certain types of driving offenses, you will be required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA), or an annual fee for three years, in addition to your ticket. If you get convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related driving offense or you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will have to pay a DRA of $250 per year for 3 years. If you receive 6 points in 18 months, the DRA amounts to $100 per year for 3 years. If you receive more than 6 points in 18 months, an additional $25 per year will be charged for each additional point you receive. This means 1 extra point will cost you $75 more (since the assessment lasts for 3 years).
The DRA, in addition to your traffic ticket, means that a traffic violation in NY can end up being quite costly. For example, a driver caught driving 21 miles over the speed limit in NY will have to pay a $393 fine plus a $300 DRA for a total of nearly $700 (assuming he or she does not have any other NY tickets which could increase the amount owed). Once the DRA penalty has been assessed, there is no way to get out of paying it; there are no exemptions and completion of an online defensive driving course will not affect either your fine or DRA penalty. The only way to actually avoid such costs is to plead not guilty and fight your ticket or have an attorney fight it for you.
Although it might be tempting to simply plead guilty and pay the fine, doing so will not make these negative consequences go away. In fact, the conviction is the very thing that brings most of them on.
(Additional Sources: http://dmv.ny.gov/tickets-received-another-state; http://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/looking-traffic-ticket-information)
Who Should You Contact?
If you recently received a New York traffic ticket, contact Rosenblum Law today at 888-883-5529.
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