What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.
You may be holding out hope that authorities back home will never find out about your out-of-state speeding ticket. And you're probably worried about what it will do to your car insurance rates, too.
The bad news: The state that issued your driver's license will almost certainly hear about your indiscretion. So will your insurer.
The good news: Not all states treat out-of-state tickets the same way. And your car insurance company might not find out for years. (See laws specific to your area in our state car insurance rates guide.)
How a ticket follows you home
Most states have interstate reciprocal agreements that require them to share information on convictions for moving violations. The most common is the Driver License Compact (DLC), signed by 45 states plus the District of Columbia.
DLC-member states agree to report out-of-state convictions to each other. In addition, when a state suspends the license of an out-of-state driver, that driver's home state is encouraged to do the same. So if you receive a DUI while on spring break in Florida and your driver's license is suspended in that state, your home state can also suspend your license.
Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin are not DLC members. However, receiving a ticket in one of these states does not guarantee that it will not be reported to your home state. Department of motor vehicle representatives in these five states said that they generally notify an out-of-state driver's home state, even though they are not required to, and are generally notified if their own drivers received violations in other states as well.
What if you decide not to pay? States that are part of the Non-Resident Violator Compact and Driver License Agreement (virtually all of them) agree to suspend your driver's license on the other state's behalf.
How states treat out-of-state convictions
Most states record any out-of-state violation on your driving record and assign points on your driver's license.
A few states, such as Colorado and Pennsylvania, do not record the violation if it is considered a minor offense, like a speeding ticket. Other states, like Maryland and Nevada, record the violation but do not assign points for out-of-state tickets. Florida and Texas place both the violation and points on your driving record for all out-of-state convictions - which will likely increase your car insurance premium.
Then there are a few states that have unique laws. If you're a New York resident who received a minor traffic ticket in Quebec or Ontario, Canada, New York will record it and assess you points. But if you receive the ticket within the country, it will not go on your record. New Jersey adds two points for all out-of-state traffic convictions, even if your points for the violation would have been different in-state.
You can be certain of two things: A conviction for a serious offense such as DUI will go on your driving record. And any violation - serious or minor - that appears on your DMV record will be seen by your car insurance company.
Convictions and car insurance companies
Auto insurance companies don't care where you received a traffic ticket. To them, a conviction in any state makes you a riskier driver. However, how traffic offenses are rated varies by insurer and state.
In some states, car insurance companies are not allowed to raise your rates after just one moving violation conviction. If this is the case in your state, and an out-of-state ticket is the only violation on your driving record, it may not affect your car insurance premium. In other states, your car insurance company will increase your premium for one speeding violation. Also, some insurers may not increase your rates but take away your good driver discount.
But your insurer also rates you based on the type of violation you receive. For example, a ticket for traveling 10 mph over the speed limit may not make a difference. But driving more than 30 mph over-the-limit may be seen as a major violation. The more serious the offense, the more your premium is likely to increase.
Another factor that will affect your rates is how often your car insurer checks your DMV record. Some insurers check every time you renew your policy, while others check only once every one or two years. If your insurer pulls your driving record at every renewal period, you are more likely to see your premiums increase.