What to do if You Get an Out-of-State Traffic Ticket

Officer giving an out of state driver a ticket

You’re on a road trip in another state. You’re trying to figure out what the GPS on your phone is telling you. Should you turn right at this traffic light, or should you wait and turn onto the next street? And then you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute! Was that a red light?”

A minute later you hear the sirens. Oh no! Yep—you got a traffic ticket—and you were far from home.

What should you do when you get an out-of-state traffic ticket?

What you need to know about out-of-state tickets

It may be tempting to just ignore the ticket—after all, those officials don’t care what happened in another state, right? Well, it turns out they do.

So, whether you get a ticket in your home state or while traveling through another state, you are responsible for it. This is not one of those problems that just disappears on its own!

How tickets get reported

Most states have an agreement called the Driver License Compact (DLC). Under that agreement, each state shares information about traffic violations with other states. A traffic violation in another state may be treated as if it happened in your home state.

Traffic tickets are not all the same

Traffic tickets can be given for many reasons, including the following actions:

- Moving violations

- Alcohol or drug-related driving violations

- Negligence or assault

Each of these will have different consequences depending on the state. For instance, if you live in New York State and don’t respond to a ticket for a moving violation you received in another state, your license might be suspended.

Will you get points on your license?

That depends on the state you live in and the state in which you got the ticket.

An out-of-state ticket could add points on your driving record. As mentioned above, if you don’t respond to an out-of-state ticket, your license could even get suspended. However, some states will not apply points to your license. Others will reduce points if you take an online traffic school course.

And will your car insurance rates go up?

When you receive an out-of-state ticket, it may show up on your driving record. Because of that, your insurance company could raise your insurance rates.

What should you do if you get an out-of-state traffic ticket?

As you can see, out of state tickets are just as serious as ones in your state. And you should deal with it in the same way. Show up for the court date or pay the fine by mail on time to avoid complications.

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