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

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

The Interstate Drivers License Compact (IDLC) is based on the concept that every driver in the country has a single drivers license and a single driving record. Every state in the country except Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin belongs to the IDLC.

States which belong to the Interstate Drivers License Compact report driving arrests, including DUIs, to each other. Thus, if you are a Nevada resident and you are arrested in California for drunk driving, your home state will probably take its own action against your driver’s license because of your DUI arrest in California.

What is the Driver License Agreement (DLA)?

The IDLC is in the process of being replaced by the Drivers License Agreement (DLA). Once it is in effect, the DLA will impose even tougher regulations on its member-states and on out-of-state offenders. The biggest difference between the IDLC and the DLA is that the DLA will eliminate state-wide differences between offenses.

Under the Drivers License Compact, a state is not required to enforce an out-of-state license suspension/conviction if that state does not have a similar law but under the Drivers License Agreement, it would be required to do so.

Being arrested for DUI in any state can have a major impact on your driver’s license in your home state. Because of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact and its future successor, the Driver License Agreement, a DUI arrest can have major consequences for both out-of-state residents as well as for state residents.

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

Most likely, the driver will have to return to the state where they were arrested so that they can defend against the charges. However, if the convicted DUI driver does not show up in court or for any required hearings, the state may permanently revoke driving privileges there.

The state where the arrest took place can also issue a warrant which will show up on the record in other states. The driver’s home state would eventually find out about the arrest and suspend that individual’s license.

Do States Have the Same Criteria for DUI Arrests?

Congress has established the blood alcohol concentration level at or above .08. This means that if the amount of alcohol in your blood while you are driving is at this level, you are considered legally drunk.

Every state uses this standard for ordinary, non-commercial vehicles which means that if you are considered drunk in the state of arrest, you will most probably be considered drunk in your home state. Punishment for DUI can differ between the states and some states punish DUI more harshly.

Some states will have lighter sentences for DUI than other states. However, different jurisdictions have the right to punish offenders in the manner they see fit.

For Example: What are the Policies in California?

California is a major tourist destination and sometimes out-of-state drivers get arrested for DUI. If you are arrested in California for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater, the arresting officer will do the following, depending on where you live:

  1. If you are a state resident, the officer will take away your California driver’s license and replace it with a temporary one. This temporary license will expire in 30 days, which is when your license suspension goes into effect.
  2. If you are an out-of-state driver, the officer will inform you that your privilege to drive in California will be suspended in 30 days.

Once the officer seizes your license or informs you that your privilege will be suspended, the California DMV is immediately notified. You then have ten days from the date of your arrest to challenge that suspension. In order to challenge your suspension, you or your DUI defense attorney must request a California DMV hearing.

This right is available regardless of where you reside because both out-of-state drivers and California residents who are arrested for a DUI are processed in the same way. If you do not request a California DMV hearing within the first ten days following your DUI arrest, you forfeit the right to do so and the suspension goes into effect 30 days after your arrest.

However, if you properly request a hearing, the license or driving privilege suspension gets postponed pending the outcome of the hearing which may not occur until months later.

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Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Being charged for violating DUI laws can result in serious consequences and if you are an out-of-state driver, you may have different questions regarding your particular case. In this context, it would be beneficial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before proceeding.

Photo of page author Arvind Ravikumar

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-16-2018 10:00 AM PDT

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