San Diego DUI Law Center

Consequences of an Out of State DUI Conviction & Interstate Driver License Compact

Procedures and Consequences of an Out of State DUI Conviction

The consequences of receiving a DUI conviction in your home state are pretty clear. A fine and suspension of driving privileges normally follow, but what happens if you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI)  when you are out of state? If you are a San Diego driver convicted in another state, will you still be able to drive when you get back to California? If you are visiting California from another State, what happens then?

Consequences of an out of state DUI conviction

A DUI driving conviction can be extremely costly. Not just because of the suspension but also a DUI conviction can affect all sorts of things such as the cost of car insurance. Even if you are a mature driver with a faultless driving record, after a DUI conviction you’ll find your premiums for over 50 car insurance will have probably doubled. Because the affects of a driving suspension can be so severe, it’s always best to seek help from a DUI Defense Attorney in the state in which you are convicted, as an attorney may be able to help you minimize, and in some cases, avoid a driving suspension.

Technically, if somebody from San Diego is convicted of a DUI in another state, say in Nevada, the courts will suspend the San Diego’s resident’s driving privileges in Nevada. However, Nevada courts do not have jurisdiction over California so can’t suspend the San Diego resident’s license to drive in any state other than Nevada. This may lead the San Diego resident to think once they leave Nevada and get back home they will be able to carry on driving, but this is not the case.

Drunk driving or driving while intoxicated by drugs is illegal in all states. In California, it is referred to as a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). However, other states have other names for it, such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Operating While Impaired (OWI). Regardless of what term the state you are convicted calls it, more than likely it will result in a suspension of driving privileges, both in the state you are visiting, and because of the Interstate Driving License Compact, also in your home state

Interstate Driving License Compact

The Interstate Driving License Compact is an agreement between states to share conviction information regarding traffic offenses and driving suspensions, including DUIs. Under the agreement, any state that convicts a driver of a DUI offense that is resident to another state will share this information with the driver’s resident state. This allows the driver’s home state to apply its own punishment. In effect, this means if a driver from California is convicted in Nevada, the Californian authorities will treat the offense as if it happened with its boundaries, therefore suspending the driver’s license when they get home.

The Compact includes San Diego DUI convictions so if any visitor from another state is convicted of a DUI in San Diego, they can expect to have their license suspended by their home state.

Out of state arrest procedures

The procedure for detecting a drunk driver varies state to state. If you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you are driving under the influence, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. This may include walking in a straight line or touching your nose with your eyes closed. In most states, this field sobriety test is actually voluntary and if you are aged over 21, you have the right to decline to take it. However, in doing so, most states see this as a case for probable cause and you will probably be arrested.

Many highway officers now carry breath test devices that can measure the amount of alcohol in your system, which they may employ at the side of the road. However, even if you fail this test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically be convicted of a DUI. For a conviction to stand, a blood, breath or urine sample has to be taken after arrest and once your Miranda rights have been read. In most states, it is against the law to refuse to give such a sample because by applying for a driver’s license you give “implied consent” to have such tests taken in the event of an arrest.

Different states designate different limits of alcohol in breath and blood to constitute a criminal offense. In California, the blood alcohol limit is 0.08%, although you can still be convicted if you are below this limit if the police believe your driving was impaired. Some states, such as Colorado, offer a lesser charge of driving while ability impaired for drivers with a blood alcohol level between 0.05% and 0.008%.

If you are arrested for drunk driving in California, it is best to contact a California DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. In some cases, if correct procedures are not followed or the breath test machinery is proved inaccurate, your DUI attorney may be able to get the case dropped or be able to arrange a plea bargain for a lesser charge.