Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do Points Transfer? Out-of-state tickets are not that simple ...

If you have a ticket in New York, please check out our New York Traffic Lawyer page.
This is one of the most common questions we get: Do points transfer? Or: "Will the points transfer to my home state?"

The short and misleading answer is No. The points themselves do not transfer to other states.

So what does happen? In most situations, the state where you got the ticket will report any conviction to your home state. Your home state might then assign points to the violation according to its own rules.

Example: You are an Ontario driver and you get a speeding ticket in New York State, for going 85 mph in a 65 mph zone.

If you plead guilty or are convicted at trial of the 85/65, it will count for 4 points against you in NY. NY will report to Ontario. Ontario will count it against you per the Ontario system. 20 mph over the limit is about 32 km over the limit. In Ontario, 31-45 km over is 4 points.

If it had been 80/65, then it would still be 4 points in NY, but only 3 points in Ontario.

If your lawyer (yes, that's a hint) gets the ticket reduced to something less, there's a good chance it won't count for points against you in Ontario. A speed of 15 km (9 mph) or less in Ontario is no points, even though it would be 3 points in NY.

Different states handle tickets from other places differently. Quebec and Ontario recognize NY tickets and maybe tickets from a couple other states. Most other Canadian provinces do not recognize NY tickets. Maybe BC recognizes WA tickets?

New Jersey recognizes out-of-state tickets, and they generally count for 2 points there, no matter how many points they are in the state where you got the ticket. Could be a 3-point or 11-point speed in NY? Either way, 2 points in NJ. Your lawyer (again, a hint) may be able to get you a deal to something that doesn't count for points in NJ.

NY generally does not recognize out-of-state speeding tickets. I've been told it does recognize tickets from Quebec and Ontario. We have seen a Quebec speeding ticket on a NY driving record and we have seen out-of-state DUIs as well.

Florida recognizes out-of-state tickets. One common deal NY lawyers get for drivers is actually more points in FL than a low speed. So make sure you ask the lawyer you call what deal they think they can get for you in NY and how it will affect you in FL.

North Carolina is one of the trickiest. A speeding ticket that might be considered minor in NY could get you suspended in NC. Watch out! Virginia can also be difficult.

Every state is different and there can be many complications. So you might want to discuss this with a lawyer in the state where you got the ticket, and maybe with a lawyer in your home state as well.

And don't ask: "Do the points transfer?" It's not the right question. You should ask: "How will this affect me in my home state?"

Update: See new post on Out of state tickets for Maine drivers.
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