Despite a nationwide legal blood alcohol concentration limit of .08%, each state was its own DUI laws that govern the rules on driving while under the influence in their state. However, getting a DUI out of state does not mean you can retain your full California driving privileges. California is a member of the Interstate Drivers License Compact, or IDLC. Under this compact, if you get a DUI out of state, the state where you were convicted will notify the California DMV of your DUI, which will then result in the DMV processing your out of state DUI as a California one, meaning you would suffer the same penalties as you would if your DUI was in California, if not greater. Similarly, if you get a California DUI but are a resident of another state, your state will handle your DUI according to their own DUI laws and your California driving privileges will be suspended or revoked.
It is important to note that while the IDLC can effectively transfer an out of state DUI over to the California DMV for processing, it will only do so if the laws you broke in the state you got your DUI were nearly the same as they are in California. This means that for your out of state DUI to be recognized in California, the laws you broke in the other state would have resulted in the same conviction if broken in California. For example, blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, legal limits for minors differ somewhat from state to state. If you got a DUI in another state for being over their legal limit, but you were not over the legal limit under California law, your DUI may not affect your California driving privileges the same way. After you get your out of state DUI, the authority in that state that handles your driving privileges will notify the California DMV of your DUI. Expect a notice from the California DMV regarding how they will handle your out of state DUI. On top on what the California DMV does to your driving privileges, the state you got your DUI in may be able to enforce their laws, meaning your driving privileges in California could be suspended according to what your DUI state's laws require. If you get a DUI in any state, you will be added to the National Driver Register. This register is a database of problem drivers that all state DMVs can access when handling your driving privileges. For example, if you get a DUI in one state and then try to apply for a driver's license in another state, that application can be denied even if you don't have a driving record in that state.
If you are facing out of state DUI charges or have been convicted of an out of state DUI, know that it will affect you in California as well. DUI laws vary from state to state so after being arrested for a DUI in another state, first consult with a DUI attorney in the state you were arrested in. You will need to fulfill the conviction requirements set forth by the state that convicted you, regardless of where you live. If you plan to take your case to trial, know that you may have to return to that state to defend your case. Make sure you discuss your case with a DUI attorney before you choose to simply plead no contest or guilty to be able to get back home. Also consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney to discuss how your California driving privileges will be affected and how your criminal record will reflect your out of state DUI. It is important you speak to a DUI defense attorney in both the state you live in and the state you were arrested in as the laws in each state will vary. Also, each state will hand down its own consequences to you that you must deal with. Don't assume you can drive free in California. Discuss your case with a DUI defense attorney to ensure you understand what affect your out of state DUI will have on your California driving privileges.
Are you in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have questions about an out of state DUI? The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for expert counsel on DUI law and DMV proceedings. Mr. Martens can ensure you are aware of how an out of state DUI will be handled in California. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.