out-of-state dui

How is a DUI Treated Across State Lines?

One of the common misconceptions that people have about a DUI is that its legal consequences are limited to the state they are convicted in. It is not true at all. In a vast majority of cases, the repercussions of a DUI conviction will follow you even if you move to another state, thanks to the Interstate Driver License Compact (IDLC).

What is the IDLC?

The IDLC is an interstate agreement which allows states across the country to share information regarding traffic violations committed by non-residents.

For example, let us assume that you are a resident of California. If you commit a DUI offense in Nevada and get convicted for the same, the licensing authority in Nevada will share the details of your conviction with the licensing authority in California. As a result, your driver’s license might be suspended in California as well, even though the offense in question was committed in a different state.

As of now, the IDLC has 46 member states. Only four states – Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Michigan – are not a part of it.

What Is the Purpose of the IDLC?

The IDLC was formed for the purpose of promoting traffic safety and imposing a legal cost on individuals who commit traffic violations – irrespective of where they live.

Data from the CDC shows that every day, 29 people are killed in the United States in DUI related accidents. The economic cost of impaired driving in the country is estimated to be $44 billion per year, which is a staggering number.

This is why states are more interested than ever before in sharing data that can reduce the risk of DUI related offenses and improve traffic safety all over the country.

In the absence of the IDLC, a non-resident who commits a traffic-related offense would not have to worry about their driving privileges being suspended in their home state. For example, if you are a Texas resident who commits a DUI offense in Missouri, the court can only suspend your driving privileges in Missouri. It does not have the jurisdiction or authority to suspend your driving privileges in Texas.

With the IDLC in place, authorities in Missouri can share the details of your conviction to their counterparts in Texas, following which your driving privileges might be suspended in Texas as well.

The only exception to the IDLC arrangement is that your home state might not punish you for a traffic violation you committed in another state – if the violation in question is not considered illegal in your home state.

For example, the BAC limit in Utah is 0.05. If you are a Texas resident who is arrested and convicted in Utah for driving with a BAC of 0.06, your home state – Texas – is unlikely to suspend your driving privileges, since the BAC limit in Texas is 0.08. Cases under this category, however, are extremely rare.

It should be noted that a member state of the IDLC will choose to share information related to an individual’s driving record with another member state only if the individual in question is convicted of a DUI. In other words, if the DUI charges against you are dropped by the prosecution or if you contest the charges against you and get them dismissed with the help of an attorney, the authorities will not share information related to your arrest with your home state.

Dealing with Out-Of-State DUI Charges

If you are someone who is facing out-of-state DUI charges, it is advisable to get legal help as soon as you can. It is particularly paramount if the state in which you are facing charges has harsh penalties for DUI. If convicted, you might have to pay a steep fine and spend time in jail as well. Apart from this, following your conviction, your driver’s license might be suspended in your home state as well.

Depending on the circumstances that led to your DUI arrest, your attorney might employ a variety of strategies to defend you against the charges.

For example, your attorney might argue that the police officer who arrested you did not have a justifiable reason or probable cause to pull you over in the first place. In a scenario of this sort, the charges against you will most likely be dismissed by the court, since the officer who arrested you failed to follow proper procedures.

Similarly, your attorney might question the validity of the field sobriety tests you were subjected to and the accuracy of the BAC test.

If you were not operating your vehicle at the time of your arrest, your attorney might argue that you were merely using your vehicle as a shelter and had no intention of driving. This type of defense is commonly used in Arizona, where you can be found guilty of a DUI offense only if you were in physical control of the vehicle at the time of your arrest.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

Effective legal representation is particularly important if you have been convicted for DUI related offense before as you could face harsh penalties if convicted again. But even if this is your first offense, having a skilled and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney in your corner can help secure a far more favorable outcome in your case. Contact an attorney in your local area today.

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