Why You Should Fight an Out-of-State Speeding Ticket

By Raj Dua, Virginia Traffic Defense Lawyer

It’s summer, and you and your family have packed up your RV for a road trip to Yellowstone. You hit the open road and have clear blue skies for the entire drive. Along the way you stop to see a few famous sights, including the Devil’s Tower — that mountain in Wyoming that many people may recognize from the Steven Spielberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It’s a little later than you had planned when you leave the Devil’s Tower, and you still have several hours of driving before you get to Yellowstone. You want to make it in time to get settled and have dinner at your campsite, so on a stretch of highway with no other cars around, you hit the gas pedal a little hard. The next thing you know, you’re being pulled over for speeding by a Wyoming trooper.

A speeding ticket may not seem like a big deal. Most people pay the fine and move on, and watch their speed a little more carefully in the future to avoid getting pulled over again. However, when you get a speeding ticket in another state, it can have consequences for you when you get home.

The Interstate Driver’s License Compact

Most states in the United States participate in an agreement called the Interstate Driver’s License Compact that means states trade information about traffic offenses committed within their borders. That speeding ticket in Wyoming doesn’t stay in Wyoming — it also shows up on your driving record back home unless you live in one of the few states that doesn’t participate in the compact. Those include Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Even worse, if the penalties for the traffic ticket are stiffer in your home state, you may face those additional penalties when you get home. For example, Wyoming doesn’t apply points to your driver’s license when you get a speeding ticket, but if you live in, say, Ohio, you may end up with points on your license, depending on how much your speed exceeded the posted speed limit. If you already have points on your license from previous traffic infractions, that out-of-state speeding ticket may put you over the limit that leads to a driver’s license suspension.

If, for some reason, you just don’t pay the ticket, the state where you got your ticket may ask your home state to suspend your driver’s license, or you may be prevented from renewing your license or getting a new license if you move to another state.

When to Fight a Speeding Ticket

When you pay a ticket, that’s an admission of guilt and you’ll end up not only paying a fine, but dealing with any other ripple effects as your infraction is reported to the National Driver Register and shows up on your driving record in your home state. Unexpected consequences of a speeding ticket could include points on your driving record in your home state and increased insurance premiums.

There are some scenarios when it may be worth thinking about fighting the ticket.

•   You already have points on your license and more points would lead to probation or suspension of your driving privileges
•   Your insurance rates would increase significantly
•   You have a commercial driver’s license that could be affected by a traffic infraction or points on your license
•   You employer periodically checks your driving record and an infraction could jeopardize your job

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

You could opt to fight the ticket on your own. You have the legal right to represent yourself. However, you should be aware that if you choose to represent yourself, you might have to travel back to the state where you got your ticket to appear in court. With the cost of gas or plane tickets these days, travel could be even more expensive than attorneys fees, especially if you have to make more than one trip. Many jurisdictions will allow a lawyer to appear in court on your behalf meaning you won’t have to spend the time and money on travel.

The other compelling reason to at least talk to a lawyer — and most lawyers will offer a free initial consultation about your case — is that how each state handles traffic infractions under the Interstate Driver’s License Compact varies. For example, some states don’t report very minor infractions but some states report everything. A lawyer can help you figure out how the state where you got your ticket and your home state may handle sharing information, and what consequences you might face at home if you plead guilty to speeding.

A lawyer who works in the state and city or county where you got your ticket also should have a good working knowledge of the courts and prosecuting attorneys, what defenses tend to work and which ones don’t, and how receptive prosecutors will be to negotiating for a lesser infraction or dismissing your charge if you take a driver education class or pay a small fine.

Raj Dua is a traffic violation defense lawyer located in Fairfax, Virginia. Raj spends a large portion of his practice helping people who’ve been cited with moving violations, including speeding tickets and reckless driving. Raj also practices general criminal defense and DUI representation in northern Virginia.

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11 Responses to “Why You Should Fight an Out-of-State Speeding Ticket”

  1. Brother John says:

    The State and its allies *will* have their pound of flesh. You will admit guilt to something that isn't an actual crime, and pay them; and then pay your insurers; and probably pay someone else, too. Or, you will maintain your innocence of a non-crime in the face of one officer's word against yours, and pay court costs to defend yourself, fuel and other outlays for travel, and in some cases post a bond.

    You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't even quit the game.

    A free society needs ordered liberty; that isn't what's going on here.

    • g says:

      like the econ balloon – the state squeezes for its corrupt practices the balloon only inflates at the opposite end, thus deflating it’s assumed windfall – in the end, the state always loses when it’s a corrupt tix – either by way of boycott or other… ‘invisible hand’ reckonings

  2. George says:

    I am not a commercial driver.
    I am engaging in my right to travel.
    There are no valid laws that preempt your rights, until you commit a tort or other crime.
    So this idea of applying a 'speed limit' to my right of mobility is unConstitutional, and will not partake in this systematic looting of the public.
    If there were no speed limit signs, how many people would exceed 100mph during the day, and 80mph during the night on highways?

    • Joe says:

      Yes we all have a right to travel but lets do so safely. Whether or not these summons’ are unconstitutional, consider the RIGHT of OTHERS to feel and BE safe while THEY are out “Traveling.” Exceeding speed limits in ANY zone is no major crime ( unless someone is injured by your carelessness ) obviously, but nowadays with all the distractions such as texting, talking or or just not paying attention while driving, such drivers are putting our lives and our loved one’s lives in danger the driver’s own life.

      In a perfect world where people were considerate, patient and caring of others, we’d not need such agencies as police/troopers to govern and keep us in check. And I DOUBT this will ever be so why not just drive sensibly and safely? And MAYBE…just MAYBE, leave for your destination a few minutes earlier so that you won’t have to rush. You might even find you feel less stress – more calm – while driving AND when you’ve reached your destination. Hopefully that destination will NOT be a courthouse or worse, the nearest hospital.

      Drive safely and considerately. Your loved ones will appreciate it as well as the other drivers, who also have the RIGHT to TRAVEL SAFELY. Are your loved one’s NOT precious to you? Do YOU wish them harm? Would YOU like it if YOUR kids or close relatives were put in danger by those who chose to NOT follow some simple “considerate rules of the road” because THEY felt such “rules” ( or enforcement of such rules ) were unconstitutional? It’s time to GROW UP AND SLOW UP for the safety of us ALL.

      By the way, I’m NOT a P.O. or any type of Lawman. BUT, I am a relative of a few family members killed in car accidents due to speed and non-attentiveness. AND I miss them each and every day.

  3. seenmuch says:

    you should never just pay a ticket! Always look into your options, In some states it is just a game you plead to this or that non moving violation, no license points or penalties if you play along within their system giving them their money….

    The other way around this is there is a program where you attend ~8 hours of DD driving school. Pass the course send in a paper saying so and all is forgiven. But the catch is the state still gets their money, so still a little of game….

    It would be nice if the posted limit was actually the speed that was the safe limit and maximum….,……….

    Instead of what we have today with this scam game that has not one thing to do with safety. The current system, that money collecting game that is built around the money they make off of having limits that in no way resemble what the safe and proper engineering based maximum…..I can dream can't I,,,,,,,,

  4. Res Ipsa says:

    I'm calling BS on your example. It's next to impossible to get pulled over in Crook County WY. There are all of 4 Troopers and maybe a dozen or so cops for the whole county. The speed limit on HWY 14 is 65 mph and its a twisty road in places. Interstate 90 has a speed limit of 80 mph. Crook County Sherriff's dept has a policy of a 10 mph over grace for outside of town. That means in your example someone in a RV was doing at least 76mph on a twisty back road or 91 mph on the interstate. I can't remember the last time I saw an RV doing 65 on the interstate. Maybe you could get this one wonder driver to teach the other RV's how to accelerate up to and maintain highway speed.

    Many Wyoming communities are dependent on tourism and give a good bit of grace to out of state folks. If you live here, or speed in town its another story.

    Incidentally in your example had the driver turned left instead of right coming out of Devils Tower, he would have found himself going 65 mph or better through Hulett WY, a town of about 500 with a 25 mph limit. I'm guessing that most places in the US you'll get pulled over for that offense, out of state plates or no.

  5. Anastasia says:

    I have a friend who got a speeding ticket in mo but has an Illinois license, Is there a penalty that IL will assess due to the mo ticket?
    It’s a speeding ticket 75 in a 25.

  6. Jalees Afzal says:

    I hold a NC drivers license. I got a speeding ticket while driving in Ohio (77 miles on a 55 mile zone). Do the Ohio points get transferred to NC?

    Jalees Afzal

    • ella lodge says:

      I received a speeding ticket 87 in 65mph zone in Va. My license in N.C. I paid the ticket not aware of outcomes. I would like to fight this. What can I do to recheck this. Court date set 9/13/17. I paid via mail. Can I have this cancel out and set another date for court. Who do I ?

  7. Lillian Schaeffer says:

    I personally experienced not being able to renew my license due to an out of state ticket. I received a speeding while driving through a very small town in another state, but misplaced the original ticket and could not remember what the town was called, so I didn’t pay it. I went to renew my license a few months later and discovered I couldn’t until the ticket was resolved. Thankfully this news also came with the information I needed to resolve it.