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What Happens If You Get a Traffic Ticket Out of State?

What Happens If You Get a Traffic Ticket Out of State?

You’re driving in another state and see the blue and red lights flashing behind you. It’s a surefire way to put a damper on a vacation, but surely that ticket won’t follow you home, right? Many drivers believe that out of state tickets are like Las Vegas bachelorette parties — what happens in another state stays there. However, the reality is that states have developed integrated systems to help communicate about and enforce traffic laws. There are several compacts and registers that help states enforce traffic laws across borders. Here are some of those compacts.

The Driver License Compact

The Driver License Compact, or DLC, is an agreement between 44 states and the District of Columbia to share information regarding license suspensions, traffic violations, and other infractions committed or incurred by out of state drivers. Even if you drive in a non-participating state and get a ticket, you’re still out of luck, since every state either follows this compact unofficially or has signed a similar pact. This situation makes it almost impossible to get an out of state ticket without your home state being notified.

The Nonresident Violator Compact

The compact exists to enforce traffic laws upon those who don’t pay their out of state tickets. Under this agreement, if you don’t pay the fines associated with a ticket you received in another state, your home state will be notified in order that they can carry out a license suspension. Talk about a rude welcome home. In almost every state, not paying a ticket is reason for license suspension, so you’ll likely face that suspension once your home state finds out about the out of state citation. It’s always better to pay your fines when out of state just like you would in your own state.

The National Driver Register

You got your license suspended in Colorado, but now you’re moving to California, so that won’t hurt you, right? Wrong. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the National Driver Register to keep track of drivers with suspensions, cancellations, revocations, denials, or serious violations so that every state can be aware. In other words, what you do in one state can prevent you from obtain a license in another, or at least make it very difficult. Most states want to find out if they’re giving licenses to high-risk drivers or not, so they communicate with each other to ensure that those who pose a serious threat aren’t simply moving from state to state to get away from the law. If you only have one or two small incidents on your record, you may be able to negotiate a license, but you’ll probably have to show them a lot of paperwork before you can get one.

Unofficial Sharing

Finally, there’s a lot of sharing that happens between states that doesn’t fall under an official pact or agreement of any kind. There doesn’t have to be an agreement governing a state in order for them to share information, and many states will contact your home state as a matter of principle. Since the officer who pulls you over will obviously have access to your information, as well as the state you live in, it’s safe to assume that your home state will find out about the ticket. Ignoring your ticket is the worst thing you can do.

How Do You Fight an Out of State Ticket?

Most of the time, you’re not required to appear in court if you got a ticket outside of your home state. The courts understand that it’s a bit unreasonable to ask someone to travel all the way back to another state just to contest a traffic ticket. If your ticket was for something minor, find the county that has jurisdiction over your citation, Google the website for the county court or clerk, and ask them how to go about contesting the citation. Most of the time you can contest your ticket through a written affidavit, but it depends on the rules governing the county that you got the ticket in.

Choosing to fight your ticket might be a simple process, but the legal system is still complicated. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to help you fight your case so you can avoid increased insurance rates, points against your license, suspension, and other issues.

At Ticket Void, we’ve been working with drivers just like you for years. We’ll help you find an attorney who’s uniquely matched to your location and situation. With just a few pieces of information, we can help match you with a qualified traffic attorney best suited to your case. We’ll send you their information via email so you can get started right away. The initial consultation is free, so what do you have to lose? Get started today, and exercise your right to fight.


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