What Happens if I Ignore a Speeding Ticket Issued Out of State?

If you are travelling through a state where you do not live, and where you do not have a valid registration or driver’s license, you may wonder what will happen if you receive a speeding ticket while passing through this state and simply ignore it.  The answer to this question is complex and will depend largely on your state law, but in general, there are some things you should know about if you have received an out of state speeding ticket and are planning to ignore it rather than pay it.  Make sure that you completely understand the laws in the state that you are in, as well as your home state’s laws, regarding how speeding tickets are reported.

What if You Don't Pay an Out of State Speeding Ticket?

The main question to consider when you are contemplating the idea of ignoring an out of state speeding ticket is whether or not the state you receive the ticket in will report the ticket to your home state. 

  • Many states report the results of speeding tickets issued in their states to the DMVs of other states.  
  • However, not all states report, and so you may be safe in ignoring an out of state speeding ticket in a state that does not report this information. 
  •  For example, states that do not report speeding tickets to other states include Pennsylvania, New York, and Colorado.  Many other states do report these tickets though, so be careful.

Another issue that may arise from not paying an out of state speeding ticket is the possibility that you will have a warrant issued for your arrest in that state after the speeding ticket’s payment due date passes and is ignored.  This may not be a concern if you are not planning on returning to that state in the future, but if it is close by to your home state or if you travel to or through that state regularly on business, you could be arrested the next time you are seen travelling through that state by a police officer who checks tags for outstanding warrants.  Therefore, you will seriously want to consider paying the speeding ticket as it is certainly less costly than an arrest.

If you do not pay a speeding ticket in another state, you may also have other issues including problems with renewing your automobile insurance if the unpaid ticket is reported to your insurance company by the police in the state where your ticket was issued.  This could cause problems in your home state as well if you cannot renew your insurance to stay legal there.

Getting Help

Instead of simply ignoring an out of state speeding ticket, you should consult with a lawyer in the state that issued the ticket to find out your best course of action. You may be able to defend yourself or file a plea, and your lawyer can usually appear on your behalf if you do not want to return to the state to handle the ticket in court.

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