Driver glancing in rear view mirror

Out Of State Drivers With Suspensions in New York

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.


This is an article for motorists that are not licensed in New York State but have suspensions in New York. There are some urban legends and misconceptions out there that this article will hopefully clear up.

Out-of-State Motorist Ignoring a New York State Ticket

One thing that has to be made clear from the outset: If you are licensed in another state, you cannot just ignore tickets in New York. In all likelihood, ignoring the ticket will end up being more costly than just paying the ticket. In the vast majority of situations, if you get a ticket in New York and you ignore the ticket, then your home state will be notified and your home state will suspend your license. Whether the violation will appear on your record in your home state and whether it will impact your insurance rates is a different issue, but you generally cannot safely ignore any New York State ticket.

New York State Can Suspend an Out-of-State Motorist

Another important issue that must be made clear. New York State can suspend you from driving in New York even if your license is from another state. For example, if a New Jersey resident with a New Jersey driver’s license gets violations in New York that total 11 points, then New York can suspend the New York driving privileges of the New Jersey resident. New York cannot suspend a New Jersey license, but they can suspend the privileges of a New Jersey motorists from driving in New York. In this scenario, the New Jersey driver can drive anywhere in the United States, but not in New York State. If you drive in New York with suspended privileges in New York, you are subject to arrest and criminal prosecution in New York.

Out-of-State Motorists are Often Unaware they are Suspended in New York.

It happens often that an out-of-state driver does not know that their New York privileges are suspended. They get pulled over, a police officer runs their record, and they are arrested for driving with suspended privileges. Sometimes it is the motorist’s fault but often it is not the fault of the motorist.

Out-of-State Motorist Unaware of Driver Assessment Fee

Here is an example of a situation where a motorist can get arrested for no-fault of their own for driving with suspended New York privileges. Let us call our person Aaron. Mr. Aaron grew up in Long Island, New York, and receives his first driver’s license in New York when he is 17. When he is 27-years-old, he moves to New Jersey. Aaron switches his license from New York to New Jersey. After moving to New Jersey, he continues driving in New York. When Aaron is around 40 years old, he gets a couple of tickets in New York. In New York State, if you get 6 points or more in 18 months you have to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. This is a separate fee that gets billed in the mail from the DMV. It is not part of the fine that is paid if you plead guilty or part of the fine that the judge imposes if you are found guilty.

The Driver Assessment Fee Processing Center is a separate entity within the DMV, and for whatever reason they use outdated information. When they send Aaron his bill for the Driver Assessment Fee, they will not send it to his New Jersey address but will send it to his old New York address. This is because New York creates a “phantom” driver license number for anyone with a ticket in New York. If you previously had a New York license, then New York will utilize your old New York driver license number. Therefore, the Driver Assessment Fee Processing Center will send the bill to the address associated with the New York driver license number, which is the old New York address. It does not matter that Aaron has a proper New Jersey license with his correct address. It does not matter if the court was sending court dates to the new and proper New Jersey address. The Driver Assessment Fee Processing Center is a separate entity and will send the bill to the old New York Address. Aaron hasn’t lived at his New York address in more than ten years. His parents also moved out. The person living there now has no idea what this bill is and throws it in the trash. Aaron does not pay the Driver Assessment Fee and gets his New York driving privileges suspended. Aaron did nothing wrong here and he changed his address properly. Unfortunately, people like Aaron are arrested or charged criminally on an almost daily basis in New York State for driving with suspended privileges.

Out of State Motorist Getting Pulled Over Multiple Times While Suspended

Here is another twist: Out-of-state drivers with suspensions in New York often get pulled over multiple times without the police officer even realizing that they were in fact suspended in New York. The reason for this is as follows: someone has a New York license and gets pulled over. The first thing the officer does is run their New York driver license number to see if they are suspended. Someone with a New Jersey license gets pulled over and the first thing the police officer does is run their NJ license to see if they are suspended. Our Aaron has his driving privileges suspended in New York, but his New Jersey license is perfectly clean because New Jersey does not suspend for failing to pay a New York driver assessment fee. So if the police officer just runs Aaron’s New Jersey license then Aaron will not run into any trouble. If a police officer wants to find out if Aaron has his privileges suspended in New York he can’t run his New Jersey license. The officer has to check Aaron in the New York database using Aaron’s name and date of birth. Once the police officer does that, Aaron will come up as suspended in New York. Most police officers do not bother doing as much (for various reasons). This is why Aaron can get pulled over numerous times in New York while being suspended in New York and avoid getting arrested. However, years later he can get arrested because this police officer was more diligent and ran Aaron’s name and date of birth through the New York database. When the police officer tells Aaron about the suspension, Aaron is incredulous. “How is that possible? I paid the fines in full and never got anything in the mail!” Also, “I got pulled over a bunch of times and no one told me anything!” All this is true, but Aaron’s excuses will fall on deaf ears and Aaron will likely get arrested or at least issued criminal charges.

Conclusion: It is Important to Properly Handle Your New York Tickets

There are a few other scenarios that out-of-state drivers can get into trouble in New York, but the scenario described above is probably the most typical. The moral of the story is that if you have an out of state license and receive traffic tickets in New York State you may want to ensure that your New York privileges are okay. It is simple to get your own driving record from the state in which you are licensed. But it is not simple to get your New York record if you are not licensed in New York. The Benjamin Goldman Law Office can help. For a nominal fee we can run your New York record to ensure that you are in good standing in New York. If you are suspended, we can advise on how to clear up the suspension. Often clearing up a suspension does not require legal work.

Help with Suspensions in New York State

If you need help clearing a suspension, the Benjamin Goldman Law Office PC will be glad to help. We are a New York State traffic ticket defense firm that operates across the entire state. Our firm has helped many out-of-state motorists clear up their New York suspensions on an expedited basis. Our firm prioritizes suspension clearing because they are time sensitive. Our attorneys can also appear in court for you, which means you can get it all cleared up without leaving home. Feel free to get in touch with us. Consultations are free.