What Happens When an Arizona Driver Gets a Traffic Ticket in New York?
By Adam Rosenblum, Esq.
Despite being on the other side of the country, New York State is a great place for Arizonans to visit. However, it’s less than a great place for Arizona drivers (or drivers from anywhere) to get a traffic ticket. While the Grand Canyon State is known for its aggressive enforcement and expensive speeding tickets, New York is not far off and, in some cases, is worse.
Drivers who think that a ticket issued out of their home state won’t affect them are sadly mistaken. A paid or unpaid ticket from New York (or most other states) will affect one’s record, insurance rates and possibly even the right to drive in one or both states. If a driver wants to avoid the consequences of a ticket in NY, he/she must consider fighting the ticket.
Arizona and New York Share Traffic Ticket Info
Arizona and New York are among the 45 states that participate in the Driver’s License Compact. This is an interstate agreement whereby states share information about their respective drivers and their violations. States that participate will notify other member states of any offenses that take place there. If a driver pleads guilty, gets convicted in court, or refuses to pay the ticket, this will be noted on his/her driving record.
Ignoring a NY Ticket Can Lead to License Suspension
Just because a driver is from one state does not mean that they can ignore a ticket issued in another. As mentioned above, New York will inform Arizona that a Sand Cutter has committed an infraction while in town. New York will also let Arizona know if that ticket goes unpaid. Failing to respond to or pay a NY traffic fine can result in a suspension of driving privileges in the state. Once informed, Arizona could also choose to reciprocate that suspension. This means you could potentially lose your driving privileges in both New York and Arizona if you fail to respond to a New York traffic ticket or fail to pay a New York traffic ticket fine.
The NY DMV Point System is Severe
Both Arizona and New York use a point system, but the latter is notably more strict. For example, in Arizona, most violations are only worth two points, and speeding is three points regardless of how far over the limit. A driver that reaches eight points in a 12-month period can face a suspended a license.
In New York, points vary more widely. Speeding can be worth between three and 11 points depending on how much the driver exceeded the legal limit. In addition, there are a number of infractions worth five points, including cell phone violations, texting while driving, and failing to stop for a school bus. While NY requires more points before it will suspend driving privileges (11 points), those points count toward a driver’s total longer than in AZ (18 months). Even worse is that a driver can face a suspension after only two tickets (e.g. one ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit carries six points, which, combined with any of the above-mentioned five-point infractions hits the threshold).
Drivers can also face other consequences as a result of accruing NY points, such as the Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). The DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. Like the ticket itself, drivers who don’t pay can have their right to drive in NY suspended.
NY Assesses High Fines for Speeding…and Ranks Highly for # of Tickets Issued
While Arizona drivers often find themselves shelling out $250 or more for speeding tickets after all the surcharges are tacked on, they might still be shocked to find out how much a ticket can cost in the Empire State. For example, the fine for driving just 11 mph over the legal limit in New York is $300. Some speeding tickets can even go as high as $600, more for repeat offenders. And that’s only the fine! Unlike Arizona, which adds multiple small surcharges of $2 to $27 or more on top of each traffic ticket, New York hits drivers with a single mandatory state surcharge of $88 to $93 for each violation.
What makes NY truly one of the worst states isn’t just the cost—NY is also one of the top states for speeding tickets in the entire country. Depending on the criteria used, New York comes in at No. 3 for most speeding tickets issued each year, and No. 6 for strictest enforcement (Arizona is the second strictest state.)
AZ Drivers Should Put Down That Cell Phone While Driving in NY
For now, Arizona remains one of the last states in the country that does not consider texting while driving a traffic offense (though that could change). However, texting or cell phone use while driving in New York can be a costly mistake. A ticket for texting behind the wheel costs $150 in NY and, as mentioned above, a conviction is worth five points. This can bring a driver one point away from having to pay a DRA and almost halfway to suspension of New York driving privileges.
Adam Rosenblum, Esq. is the founder of TrafficTickets.com, a traffic ticket law firm that practices traffic ticket and criminal law in both New York and New Jersey.