Each day, a significant number of Canadians cross the border into New York and a large number of New Yorkers travel into Canada. Many travelers find themselves on the New York State Thruway, where the police are notorious for giving out plenty of traffic tickets.
If you are a Canadian driver traveling into NY, you need to be extra careful and understand that you may be in more trouble than you originally thought if you receive a NY traffic ticket.
Canada Has Reciprocity With New York
Although the United States and Canada operate under different laws and legal systems, both countries share driver information with one another.
This information includes who receives a traffic ticket as well as when and where. In other words, Canada has reciprocity with New York (and vice versa).
This means New York State will transfer notices of conviction to Ontario and Quebec provinces. Once they have this information, they will assess demerit points against your Canadian driving record.
How Demerit Points Work in Quebec
The Société de l’assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) made it abundantly clear that an equivalent offense committed in another province or in an American state that Quebec has a reciprocal agreement with (e.g. NY) will result in demerit points being put on your driving record as if the offense occurred in Quebec itself.
Put simply, if you received a New York traffic ticket for an offense that is recognized in Quebec, then you will likely receive demerit points on your Canadian driver’s license. The points you receive will be set by the SAAQ point system based on the equivalent offense that you committed. Remember, you will only be allowed to receive a maximum of 15 demerit points on your license.
If you receive more than 15, you will lose your driving privileges for a set duration of time (usually 30 days) and your license could be taken away (depending on the offense you commit).
Demerit Points for Ontario Drivers
Remember, Ontario also has reciprocity with New York. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, demerit points will be assessed against you for any traffic violation that you commit in NY that is equivalent to a traffic offense in Ontario.
What are the Ramifications of Speeding in NY With a Canadian License?
If you received a NY speeding ticket, the number of demerit points that Quebec will put on your license directly depends on the speed you were going and how many miles over the posted speed limit you were traveling.
For instance, if you received a speeding ticket for driving 80 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone (i.e. exceeding the limit by 24 kilometers per hour), you would receive 2 demerit points. If you received a speeding ticket for going 90 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone (i.e. exceeding the limit by 56 kilometers per hour), you would receive 10 demerit points.
It is crucial to note that Quebec does not assess demerit points for only traveling 10 kilometers per hour or less over the posted speed limit. In other words, if you hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney who is able to get your traffic violation reduced to a ticket for simply going 6 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, Quebec will not assess any demerit points against you.
However, in Ontario, speeding tickets tend to range from 3 to 6 demerit points.
- More specifically, if you exceed the speed limit by 16-29 kilometers per hour, you will receive 3 demerit points.
- If you exceed the speed limit by 30-49 kilometers, you will receive 4 demerit points.
- If you are caught going 50 kilometers or more, then you will receive 6 demerit points.
- Lastly, Ontario does not assess demerit points for speeding 15 kilometers or less over the posted speed limit.
Therefore, if you hire a traffic ticket attorney who is able to get your ticket reduced to one for traveling 9 miles per hour or less over the posted speed limit, you will not have to worry about having demerit points assessed against you.
Penalties Associated With Demerits
If you are a new driver and get 2 or more demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter. If you get 6 points, you may need to provide a good explanation for why you should be allowed to keep your license. At 9 points, your license will be suspended for 60 days.
If you are a fully licensed driver and receive 6 demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter. Once you obtain 9, you could be compelled to explain why you should be allowed to keep your license. However, if you receive 15 points, your license will be suspended for 30 days.
Aside from the possibility of having your license suspended or revoked, receiving demerits will cause your insurance to skyrocket. You can also incur hefty fines. Consequently, it is crucial to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney who can help negotiate and argue on your behalf in order to reduce your offense or get it dismissed outright.