Consequences of an Out-of-State Traffic Ticket

It seems like it is easier to get a ticket for speeding or another traffic violation when you are driving in another state. You might think that, knowing that you are in an unfamiliar location where the rules are strange to you, law enforcement might give you a break, issuing only a warning instead of a citation.

Unfortunately, however, the opposite is more often true. Out-of-state citations are more difficult to contest, and authorities know that. Therefore, they may be more likely to issue you a ticket rather than less.

If you get a speeding ticket while traveling in another state, the worst thing you can possibly do is ignore it. The consequences can follow you back home, affecting your car insurance and possibly even your driving privileges themselves.


It is not a foregone conclusion that your insurance rates will go up after an out-of-state traffic ticket, but it is a likely outcome. It depends partly on the laws of the state where your driver’s license was issued. Some of these laws prohibit rate raises for a single moving violation. It also depends on the severity of the offense and whether or not your state chooses to record a violation that occurred outside of its jurisdiction.

License Points

Most states are part of a compact that allows the governments of each to share information with one another about traffic violations committed within their borders. Therefore, if you get a ticket in another jurisdiction, the government of your home state will probably hear about it sooner or later.

However, not all states handle the information they receive about out-of-state traffic violations in the same way. The laws of some states allow them to record the violation but prevent them from assigning any points. Other states only assign points for major offenses, but do not concern themselves with speeding and other minor traffic violations. Then there are some states that take a hardline approach and assign points for every out-of-state traffic violation regardless of its seriousness.


State governments have the right to assess fines for traffic violations that occur within their jurisdiction, even if you do not live there. If you choose not to contest the out-of-state traffic ticket, you then have to pay the fine. If you fail to do so, your home state will probably find out about it through the compact. The consequence can be the suspension of your license.

Contesting an out-of-state license is tricky due to the distance, but it can be done. The first step is to contact a lawyer who practices in the jurisdiction where you received the ticket. If you received a traffic ticket in our state, we can explain your legal options to you. Contact an attorney, like Criminal Lawyer Civic Center, San Francisco, CA, today for more information.

Thank you to the Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law cases.

Close Menu