One of the nice parts about having a California driver's license is that it allows you to drive on roads across the country. However, each state, county, or even municipality may have its own traffic laws. Out-of-state visitors are expected to understand and follow those laws. If you violate a traffic law in another state, you can be pulled over and ticketed or arrested, even if you did not know about the different traffic laws.
This can be one cause for why California drivers are arrested for a DUI in another state. A minor traffic violation leads to a traffic stop and the officer sees an out-of-state license holder as an easy target. If you were unfairly arrested for a DUI in another state, it can impact your California driving privileges. Talk to your experienced East Bay DUI defense attorney to understand your rights and your options. Your DUI lawyer can help you fight to keep your license and you may be able to handle the out-of-state offense without having to return in person.
East Bay Drivers Challenging a DUI in Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, or Other States
It is important to understand that each state is different and handles drunk driving arrests in a different way. In challenging an out-of-state DUI, you need to understand how the DUI process for that state, including:
- Possible penalties
- Reporting restricted driving privileges
- Time limit to fight a suspension
- Next hearing date
- General criminal and DUI process
Some states may not release you until you have an arraignment, where you respond to the criminal charges. Other states may release with the promise to return on a future date. It may be tempting to just leave the state and hope to never return. However, failure to appear for a court hearing can result in a warrant for your arrest or an adverse finding in your absence. It is better to talk to an attorney right away to understand how you can deal with the issue as quickly as possible.
Traffic Laws and DUIs in Arizona
Some California drivers head out to Arizona for a long road trip to see the Grand Canyon, visit friends going to college at ASU or the U of A, or to check out Lake Havasu. Many of these visitors are surprised to learn that Arizona is considered one of the strictest U.S. states when it comes to a DUI. There is a minimum penalty of 10 days in jail for a first-time DUI.
Traffic Laws and DUIs in Oregon
Oregon is another popular state for Northern Californians to visit or on their way to Washington or Canada. California drivers are used to making a U-turn just about anywhere. However, U-turns in Oregon are illegal unless otherwise noted. A California driver could make a normal U-turn and end up getting pulled over by police. The smell of a craft beer on the driver or passengers may be enough to end up under arrest for a DUI.
Traffic Laws and DUIs in Nevada
Trips to Nevada are common for Californians, going to Las Vegas, Reno, or the eastern side of Lake Tahoe. However, an arrest for drinking and driving or driving under the influence of drugs can ruin any vacation. After a Nevada DUI, the Nevada DMV will notify the California DMV of the arrest and the driver may find their California license suddenly suspended.
Out-of-State DUI Can Lead to Suspension of the California Driver's License
California is part of the Driver's License Compact (DLC). The DLC is an interstate agreement where member states share reports of traffic violations, including DUIs. Depending on the criminal offense of the other state, when the California DMV receives notice of a DUI arrest or a DUI conviction, California may suspend your license.
Court Appearances and Returning to the Other State
The other state may require an in-person appearance for your DUI hearings or trial. However, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the court to allow for a remote appearance. A remote appearance by video may allow you to remain in California to face the judge without having to travel out of state.
Out-of-State DUI May Count as a Priorable Offense in California
Under California's DUI laws, a second, third, or fourth DUI carries increasingly higher penalties. The number of prior DUIs are included within the prior 10 years. If the court considers an out-of-state DUI statute as substantially similar to the California statute, California may count an out-of-state DUI as a prior offense.
For example, a driver in California is arrested on July 4, 2020. The driver had a DUI in Hawaii in 2015, a DUI in California in 2012, and a DUI in Florida in 2008. In this case, the court could determine it was the driver's 3rd DUI, including the prior in-state and out-of-state DUI in Hawaii but not the Florida DUI because it occurred more than 10 years ago.
Call for Help After a DUI Arrest
If you've returned to California after a DUI arrest in another state and have not yet sought out an attorney, you need to act quickly to preserve your rights. With over 35 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how the police and prosecutors can make it harder for drivers who live in a different state.
An East Bay DUI lawyer will be able to help you keep your California driving privileges and work with an attorney in the other state to help you resolve the criminal charges. Contact the local DUI lawyer who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.