This article is from the California Driving (and Surviving) FAQ, by "George J Wu" firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
from gordon@TASVAX.NSWSES.NAVY.MIL (Gordon C. Zaft) on 15 Nov 1991:
Well, it happened to me! I had two tickets from Texas and one from New
Mexico show up on DMV record last year (they were from almost 3 years ago!
I don't know why the delay) and my insurance went up $200!
from rezal@leland.Stanford.EDU (Rezal Adzly Abdul Rahman) on 19 Nov 1991:
I friend of mine got a speeding ticket in Texas, two years ago, and when he
recently went to get a DMV printout for the insurance company, it was there!
from wab@worf.Rational.COM (Bill Baker) on 23 Nov 1991:
This is called "reciprocity". Basically what it means is that if you don't
pay an out of state ticket, the DMV of the state issuing your license agrees
to put it on your record and charge you for it when you go to renew your
license, the idea being that the other state will do the same for tickets
issued to their drivers in your home state. I've had a lot of experience
Most states do not have reciprocity with every other state. Most states
usually have reciprocity with neighbor states. However, home states can be
pretty lax about applying out of state penalties. I had my Washington
license "revoked" by California, Oregon, and North Dakota, but the Wash. DMV
renewed my license without complaint (as long as I paid those in state
tickets). I also once tried to skip out on a bunch of Wash. tickets by
applying for a new license in Oregon. I told the clerk I'd never had a
license, but when he ran my ID on the computer he came back with a list of
my many outstanding Washington tickets. Then he gave me a copy of the
written test and told me to return it to him when I was done. I mean, he
*knew* I was lying but apparently that didn't bar you from getting an Oregon
license. Sometimes state rivalries can have weird fallout.
You can probably find out from DMV what states California has reciprocity
agreements with. Nevada is almost certainly one of them. I'm not familiar
enough with CA DMV to know how seriously they enforce reciprocity. However,
whether or not your home state cares about out of state tickets, the state
issuing the ticket never forgets. If you get stopped in that state again,
they will almost certainly haul you to the local hoosegow and keep you there
until you pay the massive fine.
Insurance companies are a much bigger menace. They get data from
everywhere. It's very hard to hide tickets from them. However, most states
can't release a record of a ticket until the ticket is actually paid,
because you aren't officially guilty until you've paid the ticket or had a
"trial". My insurance company never knew about my out of state tickets as
long as I didn't pay them. Of course, had I been caught a second time in
one of those states and been "convicted" of driving on a "revoked" license
with unpaid tickets, my insurance rating would have become terminal
The bottom line is, if you're caught speeding next door, you'd better pay it
because there's a good chance you'll get stopped again in that state, which
would be a disaster. If you're caught out in Podunk State (say North
Dakota) and you don't expect to be back more than once or twice in your
lifetime, you can take a chance on skipping out on the ticket. Remember,
though, that the rural states are wise to this. They usually direct you to
drive to the next state patrol office and pay the ticket immediately. They
may follow you to make sure you do.
from email@example.com.NET (Mark Walsh) on 16 Dec 91:
I got screwed by the city of Berkeley early last year. The police officer
was very polite, and he said that the ticket was merely a fine like a
parking ticket, and it would not go on my DMV record. Guess what? My
insurance went up! When I talked to my agent, he said that their (Farmer's)
computers talk to many local computers, and everybody shares info with
everybody else, and that the DMV was probably the only bureaucracy that did
not know about the ticket.