Before paying or resolving a traffic citation, it is a great idea to consult with local counsel to determine the impact of a ticket on your driving history.
In the course of my practice this week, I have spoken to two different individuals in the same predicament. Both were driving through Virginia earlier this year and given a citation for speeding 81/70 mph zone. Under Virginia Law, speeding is considered CRIMINAL RECKLESS DRIVING if the speed is more than 20 miles over the posted limit, OR if the speed is more than 80 mph, no matter what the speed limit is.
In the case of these 2 individuals, both were only travelling 11 miles over the posted limit. They were instructed that if they could not make the court date, to call the number on the ticket, which they did. The court imposed a fine that was paid timely. Both thought the matters were resolved.
To the dismay of the drivers, Virginia then sent the notice of the criminal conviction to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. In Massachusetts, a conviction of Reckless Driving carries a penalty of a 60 license suspension. The Massachusetts Registry notified the drivers of the intent to suspend the license for 60 days for the criminal convictions under Virginia Law for Reckless driving.
At this point, both drivers are dealing with the fact that they unknowingly plead guilty to a criminal charge, and the fact that they now have to either serve a 60 day suspension or convince the Registry to overturn said suspension. Lack of knowledge of the impact of the ticket is no defense to the suspension!
It is always best to consult a local attorney when dealing with a traffic ticket, especially if it is an out of state ticket and you are unsure as to what the impact could be on your license. In the case of these drivers, a conversation with a local Virginia attorney who is familiar with the statute would have caused a lot less stress in the long run. A conversation with a Massachusetts attorney prior to resolving the ticket would have put the driver on notice of the potential implications of paying the out of state ticket.