- Wisconsin is not a member of the Driver’s License Compact but will still record New York traffic convictions on Wisconsin driving records.
- Wisconsin drivers can see their insurance premiums rise by hundreds of dollars each year for five years following a NY traffic conviction.
- A driver who hires a NY attorney will likely not have to appear in traffic court.
Wisconsin comes in at No. 7 for the state with the most annual snowfall. One would think with all those icy conditions that Wisconsin drivers have a handle on how to navigate wintry roads. It would seem that police officers disagree, as they tend to hand out about 7,500 tickets for imprudent speed each year. In fact, one study ranked the state No. 8 overall for obeying traffic laws overall.
Wisconsin drivers who apply those driving habits while in New York could find themselves in hot water! New York traffic tickets can be quite expensive and can lead to many serious consequences, including having one’s driving privileges suspended in NY and at home. While paying a NY ticket (which means pleading guilty to the charge) can invite serious penalties, ignoring one could be just as bad. A Wisconsin driver charged with a traffic violation while in New York should hire a NY attorney to fight the ticket for the reasons explained below.
Wisconsin Records Out-of-State Traffic Convictions – Including Ones from NY
Having a Wisconsin driver’s license does not mean that a New York traffic ticket doesn’t count. Many states participate in an information-sharing agreement known as the Driver’s License Compact. Wisconsin does not participate in this agreement. However, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) website clearly states that it will record out-of-state convictions on Wisconsin driving records. Any violation that appears on one’s driving record can raise auto insurance rates and result in additional penalties down the road.
Wisconsin Drivers Should Never Ignore a NY Ticket
As mentioned, New York will communicate details of a traffic convictions to the Wisconsin DOT. But what if a driver just ignored the NY ticket? Unfortunately, this can have serious consequences. Firstly, some New York courts convict drivers by default if they fail to respond to a ticket. Secondly, NY can suspend driving privileges in the state for any driver that fails to respond to or pay a traffic ticket issued there. Thirdly, while this NY suspension might – but does not necessarily – affect the person’s right to drive in Wisconsin, the notification of the suspension will appear on one’s WI driving record and can affect auto insurance rates.
WI Drivers Can Lose Their License Over a NY Ticket
There are certain traffic violations that, even if committed outside of Wisconsin, can still result in a suspension of one’s WI license. These include:
- Drunk driving
- Fleeing police
- Reckless driving
- Failure to stop and render aid after an accident resulting in death or serious injury
Impact of NY Traffic Ticket Points on a Wisconsin Driver
While Wisconsin assigns a point value to each driving infraction, it does not assess points for out-of-state convictions. However, Wisconsinites still need to be cognizant of NY’s own point system. Getting convicted of offenses worth six points or more in New York can result in paying additional fines. Worse, convictions for violations totaling 11 points or more could mean losing the right to drive in NY. This is easier than it may seem. For example, one ticket for speeding 41 mph over the limit in New York is 11 points! Speeding 31 mph over the limit is worth eight points in NY. Combine that with any three-point violation, such as running a red light, failure to yield to a pedestrian, or child safety restraint violations, and one has already reached the 11-point threshold.
WI Drivers Could Pay More for Auto Insurance over NY Tickets
Given that Wisconsin driving records will show New York traffic convictions, a New York ticket can impact auto insurance rates. Insurers periodically pull up the driving records of their customers specifically to look for new violations and can adjust one’s rate accordingly. One study of Wisconsin auto insurers estimated a typical ticket could cause an average premium increase of $351 per year. Since Wisconsin keeps violations on one’s record for five years, that’s an average of $1,755! Wisconsinites who end up with their driving privileges suspended in another state will likely pay much more.
Wisconsin Drivers Will Face Large Fines in NY
Wisconsin traffic ticket violations vary widely. For example, red light tickets can cost between $20 and $40, but speeding tickets cost between $200 and $800 depending on the county in which the ticket was issued. New York tickets are more consistent in cost and don’t often vary by location. One exception is NY red light tickets, which can cost up to $225 when ticketed outside a city with a population of more than one million, or up to $450 when ticketed within a city with a population of over one million. Regardless of location, a ticket for speeding 31 mph over the limit in New York costs $300.
Wisconsin drivers should be familiar with having additional fines and fees slapped on each ticket. The WI DOT charges a $68 court supportive services fee, $25 in court costs, and a jail assessment fee of 1% of the base ticket cost with a minimum of $10—just to name a few. New York does something similar in that it adds a mandatory surcharge of $88 or $93 to each ticket. For example, a driver hit with two tickets for speeding 31 mph over the limit and running a red light inside a city of more than one million can face a combined fine and surcharge cost of $936 ($300 for texting + $93 surcharge + $450 for speeding + $93 surcharge).
Surcharges aren’t the only hidden cost drivers face in New York. The state also imposes additional fines on drivers who commit one or more offenses totaling six points or more within 18 months. The fine is called a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) and costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. As with any traffic fine from New York, Wisconsinites who don’t pay could see their driving privileges in New York suspended.
The two above-mentioned tickets are worth 11 points in total, which would put the cost of the DRA at $675 ($300 for the first six points plus $375 for the remaining five points). That makes the final amount paid to New York State $1,611! This would be in addition to a likely hike in insurance premiums. And since the two tickets are worth 11 points in total, it means potentially losing the right to drive in NY.
Wisconsin Drivers Can Beat a NY Traffic Ticket Without Returning to NYS
Paying an out-of-state traffic ticket may seem easier than making a return trip to fight it in court. When it comes to New York traffic tickets, however, the return trip may not be necessary. In most cases, NY traffic court allows an attorney to present arguments and make plea deals in lieu of the client (where applicable). In addition to saving the cost of a flight, it means a Wisconsin driver will not have to take time off from work or arrange for care of pets or dependents (or both).
Why Wisconsin Drivers Should Hire a NY Attorney to Fight a Traffic Ticket
Drivers from Wisconsin who are ticketed while in New York would be well advised not to give in and just pay the ticket. Paying a ticket means admitting guilt and accepting the fines, points, and the risk of a suspension of driving privileges. Instead, drivers should hire a qualified New York traffic ticket attorney to fight the underlying charges. A skilled attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor and/or the judge to minimize or eliminate the fines. A New York traffic ticket attorney will also know how best to reduce or negate the impact of points. Moreover, an attorney can advise a driver if the infraction(s) carry a risk of suspension and can use his/her knowledge to help avoid it. And, as mentioned above, an attorney can likely handle all this without requiring the driver to return to New York.
If you recently received a traffic ticket in New York and are licensed to drive in Wisconsin or any other state, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm right away. Our team of experienced NY traffic ticket attorneys can help you avoid the insurance hikes, suspension risk and other consequences that come with a conviction.
Contact us today at 888-883-5529.