Driver's License Compact: What You Should Know

With Disney Land, Laguna and Newport Beaches, Orange County is a popular tourist destination. Not only is OC beautiful nearly every day of the year, it’s about a two-hour drive to another popular tourist spot – San Diego, home to the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld.

Since Orange County is a tourist magnet, we see our fair share of out-of-state DUIs. If you live in another state and you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you’re probably wondering how a California DUI conviction would affect your driving privileges in your home state. Will your home state find out about the DUI? Will you lose your license back home?

Due to the Driver’s License Compact, 45 member states exchange information about the traffic violations, license suspensions and DUIs of nonresidents. The theme of this interstate agreement is “One Driver, One License, One Record.” Under the Driver’s License Compact, the licensing authority of a member state must report each conviction of a driver from another member state to the driver’s home state.

What if I’m Convicted of DUI in California?

If you are convicted of DUI in California, the license authority in your home state shall impose the same penalties as if you had committed DUI back home. This applies to a drug or alcohol-related DUI, vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI, or a hit and run etc.

Do you live in a non-member state? Let’s take a look: The five non-member states include: Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. All other states, including the District of Columbia are members of the Compact.

If you live in a member state:

  • Out-of-state DUIs will be reported back to your home state.
  • Your home state’s laws will apply to your out-of-state DUI offense.

Regardless if you’re a California resident or not, you will still be involved in a DUI criminal court hearing in Orange County. While this cannot be handled over the phone, a California DUI defense attorney may be able to appear on your behalf.

If you take your DUI case to trial, a judge will decide whether you need to be present; however, it’s a good idea to be present at trial. Juries are human and less likely to convict defendants when they are able to make eye contact with them. The good news is that if your charges are reduced or dismissed in Orange County, your home state may not take any action.

To learn more about your options, we encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to schedule a free case evaluation! Read about our team here.

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