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What Happens if I Get a DUI in Another State?

DUI charges are to be taken very seriously, whether in California or any state. But of the two, it is more concerning to receive a DUI charge in another state. Do not hesitate to contact a Tehema County DUI lawyer if you’ve received an out-of-state DUI. We’ve fought DUI charges on behalf of countless clients over the years, and we’ll bring that experience to your case as well.

DWI versus DUI

The base crime is the same in every state: someone has consumed a mind-altering substance to a point where their mental state was altered and they caused harm on the roadway. Often, it will be a police officer who issues the first test by giving the person a breathalyzer, and later that person will likely be given another breath test, or urine or blood test as further confirmation or de-confirmation.

However, states and jurisdictions use different abbreviations to describe this crime, and sometimes some jurisdictions use both abbreviations to refer to separate categories of a very similar crime. In California, DUI and DWI are largely used to reference the same thing. The abbreviations stand for driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated. Many times, the substance involved in DUI cases will be alcohol, though it can also be controlled substances or prescription drugs.

How the Interstate Driver’s License Compact Affects Californians

In the United States, there is a multi-state agreement known as the IDLC, or the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. Used by 45 states, the IDLC includes most of the country besides Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Member states share records regarding driving arrests and convictions, such as DUIs.

If you were charged with a DUI while in a member state, you’ll most likely have to face consequences in both the state that charged you and your home state. California requires there to be a “substantially similar” statute to the one that occurred in your situation. However, California has some of the toughest drug laws in the country, so your charge will probably pass this equivalency test.

As a result of a conviction, you may have your driving privileges revoked in the state where the incident happened, in addition to having your license suspended or revoked in your home state. You may need to appear in court outside of your home state, though for misdemeanors, courts are likely to waive this requirement or allow your lawyer to stand in court on your behalf. Courts might not permit this in cases involving felonies.

If your DUI happened in a non-IDLC state, there’s a chance that state won’t share information with your home state. You will, however, have to face charges in that non-IDLC state for misconduct that occurred there.