Will an Out-of-State Ticket Follow You Home?

published by Andrew Flusche on April 12, 2011

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You’ve gotta love legal questions. No matter what the question is, the answer is usually “it depends.” This is one of those scenarios.

Clients who have a driver’s license from another state usually ask me how a Virginia conviction will affect their driving record. If I could accurately predict that, I’d be rich. I could do nothing but answer that question all day long for drivers all over the country.

This question is complicated because each state controls their own driver’s licenses. However, most of the states are members of the Driver’s License Compact. That’s an agreement among the states that they will share conviction and suspension information with each other. The Compact aims to have a single, complete record for each license holder.

For any situation where a driver gets a ticket away from their home state, we have to consider a series of questions to figure out what will happen to their driving record.

1. Are both states members of the Driver’s License Compact? If so, the convicting state should report the conviction information to your home state. If not, the inquiry usually ends; your out-of-state conviction probably won’t hit your record.

2. Will your home state record the conviction on your record? Just because a state is a Compact member, that doesn’t mean they put every out-of-state conviction on the driving record. For example, New York typically doesn’t record minor traffic infractions that were committed in another state (I’m only licensed in Virginia, so double check that with the NY DMV or a NY attorney). Also, DMVs aren’t exactly famous for keeping perfect records. Even though a state may have a policy of recording convictions, things get lost.

3. If the conviction hits your record, how will that affect your points? Convictions and points are two separate things. Many people don’t understand that. A conviction could go on your driving record without incurring any points. According to my understanding of Maryland’s rules, the judges assess points; if you get an out-of-state conviction, no points will be put on your MD driving record (again, check with a MD attorney to be sure).

Now you may be wondering how this analysis applies for a Virginia driver. The answer probably won’t shock you: no one can hide from the Virginia DMV!

Virginia is a member of the Compact. Out-of-state convictions will go on your record. And you’ll get demerit points as if the offense occurred within the Commonwealth.

Ok, so it’s a complicated question unless you’re a Virginia driver.

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