What Connecticut Drivers Need to Know About New York Speeding Tickets
By Adam H. Rosenblum, Esq.
New York and Connecticut are close neighbors with a lot in common. The two states have similar socio-economic spectrums and political leanings. They even share workers, with many drivers who make the trek to neighboring NY counties or even New York City, and vice versa. Unfortunately, the two states also share speeding ticket information. Both New York and Connecticut are part of the Driver’s License Compact, an interstate agreement that ensures drivers cannot ignore tickets issued while out of state.
That means Connecticut drivers who get hit with a citation for speeding or any other infraction while in New York will have to deal with it. This can be tricky, as New York tickets do not work the same way as CT-issued tickets, including the fines, points, and other penalties. Here’s what drivers from Connecticut need to know about being issued a ticket in New York.No “Nolo” in NY
Many drivers from Connecticut are familiar with the concept of pleading nolo contendere (“No Contest”) for tickets. A nolo plea means the driver agrees to pay the ticket but does not admit guilt. In many cases, this can help drivers avoid points for some infractions.
However, New York does not allow for nolo pleas; drivers must choose “guilty” or “not guilty.” The closest a driver can do is negotiate the ticket down to a lesser charge, something that can be difficult without a skilled attorney in one’s corner. Worse, in the five boroughs of NYC (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens) drivers cannot even negotiate tickets; either plead guilty and pay or hope to win a dismissal at trial.Paying a NY Ticket Always Means Points and Points = Suspension
When it comes to speeding in Connecticut, drivers who pay a regular speeding ticket (i.e. less than 20 mph over the limit) do not incur points if they plead guilty and pay the ticket without going to trial. However, in New York, regardless of how fast a driver is going, paying a ticket means suffering the consequences of points.
The point system in New York is very aggressive. Speeding tickets start at three points and increase with the amount the driver exceeded the limit, all the way up to 11 points. Any driver (including from out of state) who commits infractions worth 11 points or more in 18 months in NY will have his/her driving privileges in the state suspended.Three Speeding Tickets and You’re Out
New York also has a three-strikes rule for speeding tickets, meaning any driver who is convicted of three speeding infractions received within an 18-month period could lose driving privileges in the state. There are ways a driver could lose those privileges with even less tickets. For example, two convictions for speeding in a work zone in 18 months could have that same consequence. Likewise, a ticket for speeding 21 mph over the limit is worth six points in New York, so only two such tickets are needed for a suspension. New York can also suspend driving privileges for anyone convicted of a speed contest.NY Tickets Have Hidden Fees
Speeding tickets and other traffic fines in Connecticut are often compounded with additional surcharges and court fees. However, some of these costs can are waived for drivers who pay the ticket and don’t take it to trial. New York has similar hidden costs but offers no escape from them. Each NY speeding ticket comes with a mandatory state surcharge of $88 to $93. In addition, drivers who commit infractions worth six points or more will be hit with an additional fine called a Driver Responsibility Assessment. This costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six. So to illustrate, a 6 point speeding ticket can carry a fine of $300 + a $93 NYS surcharge + a $300 DRA for a grand total of $693! And fines aren’t where it ends...NY Tickets Can Affect CT Insurance Rates
Remember, both Connecticut and New York share driver information. That means any speeding ticket conviction in New York will show up on a Connecticut driving record. Auto insurance providers often check their customer’s driving records to see if new infractions pop up. Once this happens, a Connecticut driver is likely to see his/her rates increase.Hiring a Lawyer Can Prevent the Need to Come Back to NY
Drivers who don’t want to trek across state lines just to fight a ticket, or who have logistical challenges (work, kids, pets, etc.) that make appearing in court difficult in general, should definitely hire a New York traffic ticket attorney. In most New York courts, an attorney is allowed to appear on behalf of a client, meaning the driver does not have to show up in person. This is in addition to the fact that hiring a lawyer significantly increases the odds of being able to plea down a ticket or get it dismissed altogether.Author Bio
Adam H. Rosenblum, Esq. is the founder of TrafficTickets.com, a traffic ticket law firm that handled cases statewide in both New York and New Jersey.