Do Missouri Drivers Have to Pay NY Traffic Tickets?

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The Rosenblum Law Firm

Bloomfield, NJ

New York State is a great place for Missourians to visit, be it for work or pleasure. Missourians visiting Manhattan can easily get around without a car, but to check out any other part of the state will require driving. Missouri drivers in New York should be careful: NY has some of the toughest traffic laws in the nation. But should that matter to drivers from the Show Me State? Does a New York traffic ticket affect a Missouri driver’s license?

The answer to both questions is, “Yes!” The fines, points and other penalties can and do affect drivers from Missouri and other states. Not only are Missourians obligated to pay a NY traffic ticket, but those who chose to ignore one (or who forget to pay it) can find themselves in serious trouble.

How Would MO Find Out About a NY Traffic Ticket?

Both Missouri and New York participate in an interstate agreement knowns as the Driver’s License Compact. This agreement ensures the two states will share information about each other’s drivers. It also means each will inform the other should a driver from one state be convicted of a traffic violation in the other. In other words, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will tell the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) if a Missouri driver pays, is convicted in court, or fails to respond to a New York traffic ticket. Missouri also agrees to include that conviction on the driver’s record and may impose additional penalties, including points and potentially suspended the license.

Ignoring or forgetting about a New York traffic ticket can result in two very serious consequences:

  1. NY driving suspension. The New York DMV will suspend the right to drive in the state. This does not necessarily affect the right to drive in Missouri or elsewhere. Unless…
  2. MO DOR suspension. Missouri’s participation in the Compact means it could choose to suspend the full license in response to a suspension issued in NY.

Will Missouri Drivers Get Points for NY Tickets?

When a Missouri driver is convicted of a traffic violation while out of state, the DOR can assess a point value on the driver’s license for the equivalent offense. Thus, a speeding conviction in New York can mean an additional three points on one’s MO license. Remember: it only takes eight points before the DOR suspends a license.

New York also uses a point system for traffic violations. While those points won’t appear on a Missouri license, there are still consequences for accruing points in New York. For example, New York can assess additional fees for drivers who are convicted of six points worth of violations or more. Drivers convicted of 11 points or more worth of violations can have their right to drive in NY suspended.

What Fine Will Missouri Drivers Pay?

The state where a traffic violation takes places is the one that sets the fine. Thus, a Missouri driver ticketed in New York will pay the New York rate for the offense. Not only is a Missouri driver obligated to pay a New York traffic ticket, but those tickets tend to be more expensive than the same offense would be at home. For example, speeding in Missouri can cost between $73 and $400, depending on the speed. In New York, speeding tickets can run from $150 to $600. Likewise, a red light ticket costs just $97 in Missouri, but New York can charge $225 or even $450 depending on what part of the state it happened in.

On top of the fine, every ticket in NY also includes a mandatory state surcharge. This typically costs $88 or $93 per violation. Taking that into account, two tickets for running a red light and speeding 21 mph over the limit could cost $711 ($225 fine for running a red + $93 surcharge + $300 fine for speeding + $93 surcharge).

In addition to the surcharge, New York can also impose a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRA) when drivers commit an offense or offenses worth six points or more. A DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. The DRA for the above-mentioned tickets, which are worth a combined total of nine points (six for speeding and three for a red light violation) would cost $525, bringing the total amount a driver could pay to $1,236.

Should Missouri Drivers Just Pay a NY Traffic Ticket?

Missouri drivers hit with atraffic ticket in New York may feel trapped. Ignoring the ticket could mean a possible suspended license. However, paying the ticket means shelling out hundreds of dollars and suffering the consequences of points from both states. Thankfully, there is a third option: Hiring a NY traffic ticket attorney to fight the underlying charges. A qualified NY attorney can develop a strategy to get the charges dismissed or, if possible, reduced to lesser point/no point offenses (like a parking ticket). In addition, the attorney can do this while the driver stays home in Missouri.

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