No, you’re not just being paranoid. Cops do love to target out-of-state drivers when handing out tickets. When you ticket someone from out of state, the sheriff doesn’t lose any votes, and you bring in money from outside your hometown. So sooner or later, it might happen to you. So, can you reap the benefits of comedy traffic school when your ticket was issued out in Ohio or Florida or somewhere?
Here’s the short answer…
You collect on the major benefits to a NY defensive driving course when it comes time to pay your insurance provider, so it’s going to vary on a case by case basis.
It will also vary depending on the state in which you were pulled over. In New York, insurers are required to give some discounts for those who take defensive driving courses, but not all states play by these rules, so you’ll want to check the laws and call your insurer to find out if taking a course is going to help you save some money or have some points taken off your record.
Luckily, there are some states, like Colorado and Pennsylvania, that won’t even put the incident on your license if it was a minor violation. Being pulled over out of state might wind up being a lucky break depending on where the incident takes place.
Even if your current provider isn’t going to cut you a break on your out of state ticket, another provider might, so it’s not a bad idea to take a defensive driving course anyways. In any event, it will earn you the NY state discount even if your insurance provider insists on holding the ticket against you.
Should You Fight It?
You might feel like you were unfairly targeted just for being out of state, but here’s our advice: Unless there was a clear, easy-to-prove error on the officer’s part, don’t waste your time and money fighting the ticket.
If it’s a local case, sure, you might as well give it a shot. If you were pulled over somewhere other than where you live, then you’re looking at a lot of expenses that will more than outweigh the cost of just paying the ticket (two or three times over).
When you’re fighting an out of state ticket, you must fight it in an out of state court. This means looking up a lawyer in that area and it means covering the travel and lodging expenses. If you’ve got all the money in the world and you’re willing to spend it to take a stand on principle, go ahead and do what you like. But if you must work for a living, the wisest, most pragmatic move is to simply pay the ticket and put it behind you.
Avoiding Tickets While Out of State
Here are a few tips if you want to avoid tickets when traveling out of state:
- Take local transportation. You can’t get a ticket if you’re not even driving.
- Borrow a friend’s car. It’s the out of state plates that make you a target.
- If you rent a car, rent something modest. Not the red two-door, but the white station wagon.
Beyond that, just follow the same common-sense principles you always do: Avoid speeding, keep an eye out for cops and drive safely. That might not be a guarantee that you’ll never get a ticket, but it will decrease the odds.