D.U.I. and out-of-State Drivers

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 What are D.U.I. Policies for Out-of-State Drivers?

DUI is an acronym which stands for driving under the influence. Every state in the U.S. has some version of a DUI statute. These laws prohibit any individual from operating a motor vehicle while they are under the influence of a substance which is known to impair an individual’s motor skills.

In some states, there are different classifications from DUIs that involve different substances, including:

  • Alcohol;
  • Illegal drugs; and
  • Over the counter medications.

There are also states which include different types of vehicles in their statutes, including:

  • Bicycles;
  • Mopeds; and
  • Golf carts.

There are also other names a state may use to identify the offense of DUI, including:

  • DWI: driving while intoxicated;
  • OUI: operating under the influence; and
  • OMVI: operating a motor vehicle intoxicated.

What is Implied Consent as it Pertains to My Driver’s License?

In addition to DUI statutes, every state in the U.S. has some version of implied consent pertaining to an individual’s driver’s license. These state that as a condition of an individual receiving their driver’s license, that individual consents to future chemical testing for alcohol or drugs upon their arrest for DUI or an investigation for DUI.

An individual is permitted to refuse to take these tests. However, if they do so, they may be subject to additional penalties and fines including the suspension of their driver’s license, depending on the laws in the state.

What are DUI Policies for Out-of-State Drivers?

The Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC) is a contract between some states which enforces a DUI arrest out of state by an agreement to honor the DUI license suspension requirements in the state where the DUI took place. This compact is based on the concept that each driver in the United States has a single driver’s license and a single driving record.

Every state in the U.S. except a handful belongs to the IDLC. States that do not belong include:

  • Georgia;
  • Massachusetts;
  • Michigan;
  • Tennessee; and
  • Wisconsin.

States that belong to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact report driving arrests, such as DUIs to other states. Therefore, if an individual is a Nevada resident and they are arrested in California for drunk driving, their home state may take action against the individual’s driver’s license based on the DUI arrest in California.

What is the Driver License Agreement (DLA)?

Currently, the ILDC is being replaced by the Driver’s License Agreement (DLA). Once this change takes effect, the DLA will impose tougher regulations on the member states and on out-of-state offenders.

The most significant difference between the IDLC and the DLA is that the DLA will eliminate state-wide differences between offenses. According to the Driver’s License Compact, a state is not required to enforce out-of-state license suspensions or convictions if that state does not have a similar law. However, pursuant to the Driver’s License Agreement, the state would be required to do so.

If an individual is arrested for a DUI in any state, it can have a major impact on their driver’s license in their home state. Due to the Driver’s License Compact and its successor, the Driver’s License Agreement, a DUI arrest may have major consequences for an out-of-state resident as well as a state resident.

For more information regarding DUI related legal issues, read the following LegalMatch articles:

Do I Have to Return to the State Where the Incident Took Place?

In most cases, yes, the driver will be required to return to the state in which they were arrested so that they can defend the charges against them. However, if the driver who is convicted of the DUI does not appear in court or for the required hearings, that state may permanently revoke driving privileges there.

The state in which the arrest took place may also issue a warrant which will show up on the individual’s record in other states. Eventually, the driver’s home state would discover the arrest and suspend the individual’s driver’s license.

Do States Have the Same Criteria for DUI Arrests?

Yes, states have the same criteria for DUI arrests. Congress established the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above 0.08%. This means that if the amount of alcohol in an individual’s blood while they are driving is at or above this level, they are considered legally drunk.

Every state in the United States uses this standard for regular, non-commercial vehicles. This means that if an individual is drunk at the time of their arrest and in the state in which they are arrested, they will most likely be considered drunk in their home state.

The punishment for a DUI may differ between states. Some states punish a DUI more harshly than others. However, different jurisdictions are permitted to punish offenders in the manner in which they see fit.

What are the DUI Policies in California?

The State of California is a major tourist destination. Since there are so many out-of-state visitors, some drivers get arrested for DUI.

If an individual is arrested in California for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above, the arresting officer will likely do the following, depending on where the individual resides:

  • If the individual is a resident of the State of California, the law enforcement officer will seize the individual’s California driver’s license;
    • This license will be replaced with a temporary one. The temporary driver’s license expires in 30 days, which is when the individual’s license suspension goes into effect;
  • If the individual is an out-of-state driver, the law enforcement officer will inform them that their privilege to drive in the State of California will be suspended in 30 days.

Once the law enforcement officer seizes the individual’s driver’s license or informs the individual that their driving privileges will be suspended, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is immediately notified. The individual then has 10 days from the date of their arrest to challenge the suspension.

In order to challenge the suspension of a driver’s license, the individual or their DUI defense attorney must request a California DMV hearing. The right to challenge the suspension is available regardless of where the individual resides. This is because out-of-state drivers and residents of California who are arrested for DUIs are processed in the same manner.

If the individual does not request a California DMV hearing within the first 10 days following their DUI arrest, they forfeit the right to do so and the suspension goes into effect 30 days after their arrest.

However, if the individual properly requests a hearing, the driver’s license or driving privilege is postponed pending the outcome of the hearing. It may be several months before the hearing occurs.

For more information regarding drunk driving issues, read the following LegalMatch articles:

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

It is essential to have the assistance of an experienced DUI /DWI lawyer attorney for any DUI issues you may face. A DUI charge may result in serious consequences.

Your lawyer can review your case, help you challenge your driver’s license suspension, and represent you any time you are required to appear in court. It is especially important to have an attorney if you have a DUI charge in a state where you do not reside.


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