"But Officer... I'm Not from Here"

It always seems to happen. We are cruisin' along on a fun road trip or heading off on vacation, and we get pulled over by the police in a state we aren't familiar with. If this is something you can relate to, then you may need to pay close attention to what you're about to read. Some people don't take out-of-state tickets very seriously, thinking that the ticket won't follow them back into their home state. Unfortunately for them, the ticket pretty much always finds a way to haunt them and will make it to the driver's local DMV and their insurance company without the person even knowing. Let's make sure you're not one of those people.

The Chances of Getting an Out-of-State Ticket

A police officer will pull over an out-of-state driver more than they will an in-state driver, even if traveling at the same speed. After being stopped, statistics indicate the out-of-state driver has a 20% higher chance of getting a ticket than an in-state driver. The following are the reasons for the 20% discrepancy:

  • One of the main reasons for ticketing an out-of-state driver is that it brings money into the state that they don't get from in-state drivers.
  • Local residents have the power to elect local government officials into office. Therefore, keeping local tickets down while handing the tickets over to the out-of-state drivers is a win-win situation.
  • There are quotas that each officer needs to meet per month. It looks better for them when they have assigned tickets to some out-of-state drivers.
  • One last reason is that they know an out-of-state driver isn't very likely to come back to the state to fight the ticket, which means they will get the full amount of the ticket in most cases.

How an Out-of-State Ticket Affects You

A common misconception with out-of-state tickets is that a lot of people think that these tickets can be brushed aside with no penalty. Unfortunately, they are sadly mistaken. That ticket will follow your behind wherever you go.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that technology allows states to connect with each other and share information. Therefore, it's silly to think that a ticket won't show up in the system just because it was in a different state. Here's what can happen to you when you get an out-of-state ticket:

  • Some states may tack on their own fines for somebody who gets a ticket in a different state.
  • In a small amount of cases, a minor traffic ticket won't be shared by a state. The problem is that you never really know. It could be following you all along.
  • The most commonly shared traffic offenses from state to state include reckless riving, speeding 20+ mph over the limit, and DUIs.

At some point, your insurance company will find out about your violations, which may cause them to hike up your insurance rates. Whether or not this happens will depend on the severity of your violation and your specific insurance policy.

What to Do When Ticketed Out-of-State

When ticketed out-of-state, a popular option for people is to pay for an attorney. If this sounds like an option for you, the attorney you hire should be from the state you were ticketed in. Since each state has a different set of laws, your attorney will help you decide what your best course of action may be. A good lawyer may even be able to work his or her magic to get your ticket completely dropped or have the penalties greatly reduced.

Though it can be a real drag to get a ticket while traveling, there are some steps you can take to ensure it doesn't happen again. Of course, becoming a safer driver is going to help you drive better everywhere. Enrolling in a comedy traffic school is one of the best ways to learn how to drive safely, and if you have a ticket outstanding right now, you may be able to use a defensive driving course to have the ticket penalties significantly reduced. In any event, you have a range of options at your disposal to both handle a current out-of-state ticket and prevent one in the future, so take advantage! Might as well have fun while at it!