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What do I do if I got a DUI or DWI in another state?

Drivers in California do not limit their driving to state borders. Whether crossing into Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona or renting a car in another state, California license holders can drive anywhere in the U.S. However, driving in another state does expose drivers to that state's local traffic laws. If a driver is arrested for a DUI or DWI in another state, it can be much more complicated to deal with than an in-state DUI.

A DUI in another state can mean the loss of your driving privileges in California. It also means having to deal with the criminal court system in a different state. If you have any questions about a drunk driving arrest in another state, contact East Bay criminal defense attorney Lynn Gorelick today.

Will a DUI in another state affect my driver's license in California?

A DUI can affect your license in California. The other state cannot take away your driving privileges in California and can only prevent you from driving in that state. It is up to the California DMV to determine if you should lose your driving privileges for a drunk driving arrest.

The California DMV can take away your California driving privileges, generally through a suspended license. If the California DMV finds out about an out-of-state DUI arrest or conviction, they will generally suspend your driving privileges.

California Vehicle Code 15023 provides that a DUI conviction in another state has the same effect, for the purpose of suspending, revoking, or limiting the driver's license, as if the DUI had occurred in California.

How will the DMV find out about my DUI arrest in another state?

You don't have to tell the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your DUI to face a possible suspension. California, along with most other states, are part of the “Interstate Driver's License Compact (IDLC). This allows states to share information about traffic-related offenses, including drunk driving arrests.

In most states, after a DUI arrest, that state's DMV or motor vehicle department will notify the California DMV and the DMV will suspend the driver's license, just as if the driver got a DUI in California.

Can I just ignore the out-of-state DUI charge if I never return to that state?

It is never a good idea to ignore outstanding criminal charges, even in another state. If you fail to show up for a court date, don't have a lawyer show up to represent you in another state, or respond to court orders or notices, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

The police aren't likely to conduct a manhunt to track you down after not showing up to court for a DUI, but ignoring it will not make the warrant go away. Law enforcement agencies share information, including outstanding warrants. Most misdemeanor warrants do not cross state lines, but, felony warrants do.

If the highway patrol or police stop you for a traffic ticket in California, they will see the warrant and, if it is a felony warrant, may take you into custody. Depending on the state and the felony charge, the other state may send officers to pick you up and take you back to the state to deal with the charges.

Even if you don't plan to return to the state in-person, you should contact an attorney who can respond to the charges while you are out-of-state.

How do I get my driver's license back after an out-of-state DUI?

Getting your license back after a DUI may require you to complete any DMV requirements for getting your license reinstated. This may require:

Will an out-of-state DUI count as a prior offense in California?

In most cases, an out-of-state DUI WILL count as a prior offense when determining if the driver is charged with a second or subsequent DUI. If the other state's DUI conviction would have counted as a DUI if it happened in California, then California will treat another DUI as a 2nd, 3rd, or subsequent DUI.

California has a “lookback” period of 10 years for multiple DUI charges. If an out-of-state DUI conviction occurred within 10 years of a subsequent DUI in California, then California will treat it as a prior offense.

California DUI Defense Lawyer

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences for California drivers arrested for a DUI in another state. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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