Driving under the influence may give rise to several charges that can greatly impact your life. However, if you are charged with a DUI out of state, you may get into deeper trouble than if charged in your home state. Unlike a minor traffic ticket, which can be paid without attending court, DUI charges require you to appear in person at the criminal court in the state in which the incident occurred.
You will likely need to take time off work for one or more court dates in order to handle your charges. You may need to look for accommodation and transportation when you are due to appear in court. There could be other repercussions, as discussed below.
Most states are members of the Driver License Compact (DLC). This protocol binds all participating states to report traffic violations on a shared, national database. This means that a DUI charge and conviction in another state is actionable in any state around the country.
What Happens After an Arrest for DUI Out of State?
Arrest procedures vary from one state to another. However, at the very least, the arresting officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests and submit to a chemical test to show alcohol or drug levels in your blood. You may face additional charges and driver’s license suspension if you refuse to take the chemical test.
After this, you may have your driving privileges within the state where you were arrested temporarily suspended until you go to court for a hearing. You can appeal this suspension. However, the time it takes to do so varies from one state to another.
If you fail to request a hearing or fail to turn up for the hearing, this suspension may extend to your home state and all other states. You will likely be required to pay a fee and participate in an alcohol program before you can get your license back.
In addition, you will have to pay higher insurance premiums for your car. This is because all driving license suspensions are listed on the National Driver Register. Insurance firms check the registry when formulating insurance premiums.
How Do You Handle Criminal Charges for a DUI Out of State?
On the date you are arrested, the police will provide you with a summons that includes the date you will appear in court. There may be additional deadlines that you must meet. If you fail to meet any of the deadlines, you may be liable for additional charges or heftier penalties. However, this depends on the severity of the charges and the state.
It is not advisable to try to represent yourself in an out-of-state DUI case. Hiring a local DUI attorney who is familiar with the state’s laws and the local court’s procedures will give you a better chance of having your charges reduced or even dismissed. In some states, you may be able to retain a skilled lawyer in the state in which you were arrested who can attend all hearings for you, allowing you to stay in your home state.
What Penalties Can You Get for Out-of-State DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI out of state, you are likely to be required to pay a fine or other fees, attend an alcohol program, and/or serve a jail term. You may also be placed on probation.
Penalties and other fees will be paid to the state in which you were convicted. If you are supposed to attend a DUI program, you will likely be allowed to attend it in your home state.
Where probation is ordered, it can be transferred to your home state. Unfortunately, if your home state fails to accept the transfer, you may be required to report to the out-of-state probation officer regularly. Additionally, you will typically serve a jail term in the state where you were convicted.
Does a Conviction Have an Impact on Your Driver’s License?
If you are convicted of DUI in another state, it will affect your driving license at home. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are part of the Driver License Compact (DLC). As a result, if you commit a DUI crime in another state, your local authorities will be informed. Additionally, if you get a second DUI arrest and conviction out of state in a DLC state, the charge will be treated as if you were arrested at home.
On the other hand, if you commit a DUI crime in a state that is not a member of the DLC, the information is not transferred to your home state unless you fail to meet some deadlines. The states that are not members of the DLC include Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
A problem you may encounter in non-DLC states is if you wish to apply for a driver’s license, they will want to know if you have had any DUI convictions in any other state. You must be honest about any past DUI convictions when applying for a driver’s license, even if your state does not participate in the DLC. This is because if the state discovers that you were untruthful, there will be harsh penalties.
Although first-time offenders are likely to have it easier in court than repeat offenders, your best chance to avoid conviction for an out-of-state DUI is to work with a qualified DUI lawyer who practices in the state of your arrest. They will analyze the arresting officer’s behavior during the incident, collect evidence, and represent your case in court with the goal of having your charges reduced or dropped.