Every day, many Canadian drivers from Ontario and Quebec cross the border into New York. If you commit a traffic violation while driving in Buffalo or any other part of New York, you can potentially face penalties in New York as well as your home province. This is why it's important to find an attorney who's well versed in both New York and Canadian traffic law, such as Drew Fritsch, an experienced Buffalo Canadian Traffic Lawyer.
RECIPROCITY BETWEEN CANADA AND NEW YORK
In the past, different jurisdictions didn't communicate very well when it came to sharing driving records. So a Canadian driver who committed a traffic infraction in New York wouldn't have to worry about that infraction showing up on their Canadian driving record. The reverse was true as well, with a Canadian traffic law violation committed by a New York licensed driver not showing up on their New York driving record.
This lack of communication allowed drivers to rack up a larger number of driving infractions than their respective home state or province laws intended. This was because each respective state or province had no way of knowing what was going on elsewhere. However, this is no longer the case.
Participating Canadian provinces and American states are now able to share the driver information of their licensed citizens through the use of reciprocity agreements. New York has reciprocity agreements with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
In effect, this means that if a Canadian driver from Quebec or Ontario is charged and convicted with a certain traffic violation while driving in New York, such as speeding or driving while intoxicated (DWI), New York will report that conviction to the Canadian driver's home province. From there, the province can impose certain driving penalties, such as adding demerit points, suspending a driver's license or other criminal sanctions.
Under reciprocity, your home province will only impose its own punishment for a New York traffic violation if it has an equivalent Canadian traffic offense. But if you can plead down the New York offense to a charge that's not recognized in Canada, there's nothing for New York to report that could get you in trouble back at home. This is why having a Buffalo Canadian Traffic Lawyer to handle your traffic charge is so important.
These reciprocity agreements are not exclusive to New York and Canadian provinces. New York has reciprocity agreement with most of the other states in the United States as well.
ONTARIO AND QUEBEC DRIVERS WITH NEW YORK TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS
Not every single traffic offense committed in New York will be sent to your home province of Quebec or Ontario. However, the following traffic violations and driving related criminal offenses, if committed in New York, are usually reported to your home province:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Running a stop sign
- Failing to stop for a stopped school bus
- Running a red light
- Vehicular manslaughter
This is not a complete list of driving offense convictions that will be reported by New York, but it gives you an idea of what is potentially subject to reporting back to your home province. Generally speaking, the more serious the traffic offense, the more likely it will be reported through reciprocity.
Should your conviction be reported back to Canada, demerit points added to you driving record is one of the potential penalties you face. Ontario uses one demerit point system while Quebec uses another demerit point system.
Under the demerit point system, drivers start with zero points. Once a specific driving infraction has been committed, drivers might have demerit points added to their driving record. If enough demerit points accumulate, certain penalties will automatically result, such as a license suspension.
Although Ontario and Quebec have similar systems, they are not exactly the same. For example, in Quebec different drivers must accumulate different amounts of points before penalties are imposed. The exact demerit point level will depend on the age of the driver.
WHAT YOU SHOULD IF CHARGED WITH A NEW YORK TRAFFIC OFFENSE
As you can see, things can get complicated now that you have to consider not only what New York's traffic and criminal penalties are, but also what the penalties are back at home. Remember, not every New York traffic violation will be reported. And depending on the specific charge placed against you, there's the added inconvenience of having to travel back to New York to appear in court.
CANADIAN DRIVERS FACING NEW YORK TRAFFIC CHARGES
If you're from Ontario or Quebec and have been charged with a traffic violation while driving in the state of New York, you are strongly advised to seek legal representation. Contact Buffalo Canadian Traffic Lawyer Drew Fritsch to set up a free consultation. From there we can figure out the best way to defend you and help you get on with your life. We will represent you in traffic court without you having to be present.