A traffic ticket can affect the cost of your car insurance, no matter whether the violation occurred in or outside your state. Although some years ago many people even left out-of-state tickets unpaid without any consequences, today this is impossible because information is put into national databases. However in some cases there are ways to avoid adding demerit points to your driving record, and chances are that your insurance premiums won’t go up.
DLC is short for Driver License Compact - database recognized in 44 states and the District of Columbia (exceptions: Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan). If you are issued a ticket while driving in some other state, information about this traffic violation is sent to your own state. Even those states that haven’t subscribed to this interstate agreement still have to follow its rules (and in addition they have their own similar agreements and compacts). This means that it’s hardly possible to ignore a speeding ticket without any consequences.
- Nonresident Violator Compact
Despite existence of DLC some drivers still try to leave traffic tickets unpaid. If this happens, the state where the violation has occurred notifies your home state of non-payment. This is the main purpose of Nonresident Violator Compact. License suspension proceedings may be started shortly after your state receives information under this interstate agreement.
- National Driver Register
This is a national database containing information about major traffic violations. If you have had your license suspended, revoked, or denied, Department of Motor Vehicles will find it out from National Driver Register, and these facts can be used to deny you driving privileges. Typically, Department of Motor Vehicles consults this database when a person applies for a new license or wants to renew an old one.
- Driver License Agreement
The newest database will allow to exchange information not only between all U.S. states, but between Canada and Mexico as well. Although Driver License Agreement is still not recognized everywhere, it’s just a matter of time.
Taking into consideration all these databases, it’s virtually impossible that a ticket for speeding will not reach your state.
Now it’s time to find out, how it affects your insurance rates and whether there are ways to reduce this impact.
How is your state notified about your traffic violation?
Some specific details can vary from state to state. For instance, if you get speeding ticket for driving 10 mph over the speed limit, most states report it. However some states do this only in case you drive not less than 20 mph over limit.
Does your driving record always get damaged?
The impact on your driving record also depends on how states utilize point system. New Jersey, for instance, adds points for an out-of-state traffic ticket, while New York doesn’t. But it’s still important to remember that major violations like driving while intoxicated are considered equally significant in all states.
What to expect from your insurer?
The impact can vary depending on several factors:
- place where the moving violation occurred;
- insurance laws existing in your own state;
- insurance company’s methods (the more often your insurance provider checks your record, the sooner your premiums will go up).
What do I do with an out-of-state traffic ticket?
Pay your speeding ticket as soon as possible – this will guarantee that it doesn’t appear as unpaid. And this could even make things worse as you will probably need to appear in court. If you don’t appear in court you most certainly will get additional charges, and thus fines will go even higher.
Sometimes it’s possible to reduce the impact of the violations by taking a training course for drivers. You may benefit from it greatly and even nullify effects of a speeding ticket. Firstly, successful completion of driver courses can make the cost of the speeding ticket less, and besides, it may give you a chance to reduce the demerit points. Many drivers managed to erase their tickets from driving records due to successful completion of an online course. It is a good idea to check your state’s rules for details.
In case you for any reason decide to contest your out-of-state speeding ticket, you’ll have to appear in the local court of the state where you were ticketed. So you’ll need a lawyer. If possible, try to find an attorney in the state the violation occurred – he probably knows his local vehicle code inside out.
Whether fighting a traffic ticket is a good idea or not, depends on your specific situation. Chances are that your lawyer recommends you just paying the speeding ticket, but it is also possible that he or she arranges a plea bargain or do something else to avoid adding points to your driving record.