Criminal Law

Do Your Speeding Tickets Travel With You?

By John McCurley, Attorney
How a speeding ticket can follow you from one state to another.

Whether it’s for a cross-country road trip or business, lots of motorists drive across state lines. And changing residence from one state to another is also fairly common these days. So if a person gets a speeding ticket in one state, will other states find out about it?

States don’t all operate the same way, so it depends.

Out-of-State Speeding Tickets

The answer, however, is more straightforward with out-of-state moving violations: If you’re licensed in one state and get a speeding ticket in another state, chances are your home state will find out about it.

Almost all states are members of one or more interstate traffic violation compacts. Basically, these compacts are agreements among the member states to share information about and follow agreed-upon procedures for out-of-state traffic offenders.

One of these agreements is the “Driver’s License Compact” (DLC). Generally, the DLC requires all member states to report out-of-state traffic convictions to the driver’s home state. The DLC then requires the home state licensing authority to treat the violation as if it had been committed in the home state. All but five states—Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin—are members of the DLC.

Most states—all except Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin—are also members of the “Nonresident Violator Compact” (NVC). The NVC is essentially an enforcement mechanism for dealing with out-of-state traffic offenders. When an out-of-state motorist doesn’t pay a traffic ticket, the NVC requires the issuing state to report the unpaid ticket to the motorist’s home state. The motorist’s home state is then supposed to suspend the driver’s license until the ticket is taken care of.

(Read more about dealing with Out-of-State Traffic Violations.)

Moving From One State to Another

Each state has its own system for tracking driving histories. So speeding tickets from a state where you used to live might or might not show up on your driving record in the new state.

However, out-of-state license suspensions and more serious traffic offenses like DUIs will almost certainly appear on your driving history. The licensing authority (Department of Motor Vehicles or similar agency) of every state sends notice of all suspensions, revocations, license denials, and serious traffic convictions to the National Driver Register (NDR). The NDR maintains a nationwide database of all the reported information. And the licensing authority of each state has access to the database. So when you move to a new state, the licensing authority there will likely know if you had any of these more serious problems in your former state.

Whether your insurance company knows about a speeding ticket from another state is a related but different question. Typically, insurers can access information about traffic convictions from your former home state. So moving to a new state won’t likely wipe your driving record clean—at least not as far as your insurance company is concerned.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • If I get an out-of-state speeding ticket, can I do traffic school to get it off my record?
  • Do the DLC and NVC apply to parking violations?
  • Will my driving record be affected if I get a speeding ticket in another country?
  • Will a prior out-state-state DUI conviction count against me if I get convicted for driving under the influence in a different state?
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