Out-of-State traffic Tickets Can Haunt You
The Driver License Compact is an interstate agreement used by the District of Columbia and 44 states to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and forward them to the state where they are licensed known as the home state. It is not supposed to include non-moving violations like parking tickets, tinted windows, loud exhaust, etc.
Under the Driver License Compact, in order for a driver’s state to penalize him/her for an out-of-state offense, the driver’s state must have the equivalent statute. If the driver’s state does not have the statute, no action can be taken. The home state would treat the offense as if it had been committed at home, applying home state laws to the out-of-state offense. Eventually, your car insurance company will get this information too. Even the non-participating states of the contract conform to these guidelines.
Traffic tickets that you receive out-of-state are not less offensive when you are back in your home state, in fact your home state may also penalize you if you disregard the out-of-state traffic ticket. Your insurance company will find out about it and it may increase your premium the same way that a home state violation might cost you. Driving records are easily accessible for auto insurance companies and you’ll really be doing yourself a favor in the long-run if you’re honest and upfront about any violations that occurred with the car.
You should know that points against you on your driver’s license are different than insurance points. Your carrier may increase your premium with a surcharge for an out-of-state violation, even if you were able to get away with a traffic violation without receiving points on your driver’s license. Auto Insurance rates are calculated by how risky of a driver you are, with more traffic violations, the insurance company sees you as a dangerous driver.
Even if you move to a new state and you get a new state driver’s license, your previous driving record is still accessible to your new insurance carrier. Your insurance company gets the information from the Department of Motor Vehicles and so can your new state of residence. Don’t withhold your driving record from any auto insurance application as it will come back to bite you.
You can always try to contest your out-of-state ticket, with a lawyer from the state you received the violation in, on the grounds of being a tourist and not knowing the traffic laws of the state. It’s not guaranteed to be forgiven, but some tickets may be worth it to enter a plea bargain to reduce or avoid points on your driving record. Some traffic violation attorneys suggest that you pay the fine because the cost of smaller cases will outweigh the actual cost of the ticket.
Out-of-state ticket violations affecting your insurance premiums really depend on your home state driving laws and the insurance company itself. Some may give you a freebie for the first violation or you may see an immediate increase in your premium.
What do you think about reporting all this agreement? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.