Every year, nearly twenty thousand Canadian drivers receive traffic tickets in New York State. Despite being issued in another country, a New York traffic ticket can have a serious impact on your license. Thankfully, the worst consequences can be avoided by hiring a New York traffic ticket attorney to fight the underlying charges.
It’s tempting for Canadian motorists to simply plead guilty and mail in their payment. It may seem impossible to fight a ticket while living outside the country where the hearing is to be held. But paying a New York speeding ticket without fighting is a big mistake whether you are a resident of Ontario, Quebec, or Brooklyn, New York.
SHARED DRIVER INFORMATION
The U.S. and Canadian legal systems are very different. However, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have agreements in place to share driver information with New York State, and vice versa. This shared information includes the name of the driver who was ticketed, where the ticket was issued, and when the incident happened. Once this information is communicated, the respective motor vehicle authority will be able to assess points against your driving record.
That means you cannot ignore a New York traffic ticket just because you live in Canada!
QUEBEC AND ONTARIO DRIVERS WITH NEW YORK TICKETS
When the Société de l’assurance automobile du Quebec (the SAAQ) or Ontario Ministry of Transportation (the OMT) receives information about a New York traffic ticket, it treats the offense as though it happened in Quebec. For example, a Quebecois who is convicted of texting while driving will receive five demerit points on his/her license. Similarly, an Ontario driver who pays a speeding ticket for going twenty miles per hour over the limit, which is equivalent to thirty-two kilometers per hour, will end up with four points on the license.
It’s important to know that it only takes 15 demerit points on your license before you lose your driving privileges in Quebec or Ontario. In addition, because the offense will appear on your Canadian driving record, it almost certainly will increase your auto insurance rates, just as points on a New York or New Jersey driver’s license will likely increase auto insurance costs.
NEW YORK POINTS STILL COUNT AGAINST CANADIANS
Canadian drivers should also be aware that New York’s point system, while different from Ontario and Quebec’s, also counts against drivers. Each time a driver is convicted of a New York ticket, regardless of where they are from, the state keeps a record for that driver and assesses points using its own point system. At six points, a driver will be charged a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee, which costs one hundred dollars per year for three years. This is in addition to the fine for the ticket or tickets. Even worse, when a driver reaches 11 points worth of offenses under the New York system, their right to drive in New York State will be suspended!
LOSING YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES IN NEW YORK
New York does not have the authority to suspend a license in Canada, but it can suspend the right to drive within the state regardless of where a license was issued. However, since Quebec and Ontario have reciprocity with New York, the suspension will still appear on the driving record and affect your insurance rates.
There are several ways to have a license suspended in New York. The first is if you accrue eleven points for more within eighteen months based on the New York point system. This can happen if you are found guilty of speeding forty-one miles over the limit or get convicted twice for speeding twenty-five miles over the limit. A second way is if you fail to pay a New York traffic ticket. Third, you can have a license suspended if convicted of a serious driving offense, such as a hit-and-run, drunk driving, or driving without auto insurance.
HIRING A NEW YORK ATTORNEY
A Canadian driver may feel helpless to fight a New York traffic ticket. Not only is the legal system very different, but it’s far from convenient to cross an international border just to appear in court.
If you are a Canadian who has been ticketed for a driving offense in New York, call our offices of Rosenblum Law today. You may not have to return to the state at all because New York allows attorneys to appear in lieu of the driver. We can also fight to have the ticket dismissed, or negotiate it down to a lesser offense with lesser penalties, and less of a chance of impacting your Canadian license.