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Can I Lose My Out of State License After a CA DUI?

California is a big place, and in Orange County, we have a lot of visitors from all over the country and the world coming to see the beautiful beaches and visit Disney Land and nearby San Diego. Considering that so many people visit OC for business or pleasure, it’s not unusual for our office to handle DUIs from people who don’t live in California, but who actually live in other states.

If you were arrested for DUI in California, you’re probably wondering, “Why didn’t the police take my out of state driver’s license?” and “Will I have to fly back to California to show up in court?”


The fact that the police did not take your out of state driver license was no error. This is because California does not have jurisdiction over your out of state license. California does not have the authority to take away a driver license that was issued in another state.

Your out of state driver’s license is owned by the state that issued it, so that’s why the police never confiscated it from you here in Orange County.


You cannot ignore the criminal proceeding in California. Will you have to go to court? Either you will need to be there, or you need to hire private counsel and have your attorney appear on your behalf.

If you want to continue being able to drive in California, for example, if you travel here frequently for your job, or to see your children, then you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the DUI arrest.

In the face of California DUI charges, it’s in your best interests to have a local DUI attorney on board with you. That means that if you’re already back home, you need to contact an Orange County DUI lawyer ASAP.


The fate of your out of state driver license is governed by the Driver License Compact, an interstate compact that the States use to share and exchange information with each other about DUIs, speeding tickets, license suspensions, and moving violations.

The theme of the Compact is “One Driver, One License, One Record.” What does that mean to you? If you reside in a member state, it will treat the California DUI as if it happened in your home state. So, now you have to deal with the California case, and the DUI or DWI case that will be conducted back home.

To learn more about the Driver License Compact, please click here.

If you’re looking for a highly-qualified DUI defense attorney, check out our founder’s attorney profile page. Attorney Landry earned the reputation as Orange County’s DUI Queen for a reason! Contact us for representation in your Orange County DUI case, even if you had to return home.