DUI for Out of State Drivers: Special Problems in Court

DUI out of state

Anyone arrested for a DUI in California faces threats to his or her driving privileges, but drivers with an out-of-state driver’s licenses face special challenges, both in criminal court and at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Out-of-state drivers facing California drunk-driving charges risk losing their driving privileges both here in California and in their home state. A California DUI criminal defense attorney can help accused motorists protect their driving privileges in both states.

If you are from another state and you are arrested for DUI in California, the results may be different. If your license was issued to you by another state, California cannot take your license away, because it is the property of another state; however, they can still revoke, suspend or restrict your driving privileges in California.

Interstate Driver’s License Compact

That doesn’t mean you are clear to go back home and drive. The Interstate Driver’s License Compact is an agreement between 45 states to share information regarding certain types of convictions, including drunk driving (DUI and DWI) convictions. This means, the state of California will notify your home state of its action and your home state will likely follow suit and take action against your driving privileges.

Whether a state will take action against your driver’s license / privileges depends on the state itself. There are five states that are not a part of this agreement and will, obviously, not take any action. These states are: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Some states have the administrative system similar to California’s. These states may acknowledge an APS suspension even without a court conviction in California. Other states that don’t have the administrative system may require a court conviction before they will take any action against your driving privileges. Although 45 states belong to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, not all states automatically suspend a driver’s license based only on a DUI arrest. An experienced California DUI attorney can advise drivers of the implications in their licensing states.

License Suspension

The type of action taken depends on the state as well. Some states will reciprocate with the action taken by California. For example, if California suspends your driving privileges in the state for four (4) months, your licensing state may suspend for the same length of time or require California to notify them when their suspension ends before the licensing state will reinstate your driving privileges. Other states may enhance the action or even require fines paid to them. Still other states may take less harsh action against your driving privileges. It all depends on your specific state.

To suspend driving privileges in California during an APS Hearing, the DMV must only establish by a preponderance of the evidence, the lowest standard of proof, that the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, that the arrest was lawful, and that the motorist had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater. This means that even if the driver’s criminal case is dismissed, the motorist can still lose his or her driving privileges in both California and in their home state.

A California DUI Attorney Can Help: In Both States

Because a California DUI case poses a direct threat to a driver’s privileges, it’s imperative to fight the case aggressively both in court and at the DMV. An experienced California drunk-driving lawyer can help protect an accused DUI drivers privileges both in California and in the state where the license was issued.