Out of State DUI? What Are Your First Steps?

Regardless of the state you are in, if you receive a DUI then you will eventually have to face the charges.

Every state except Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin belong to the Interstate Drivers License Compact (IDLC). This means when you are arrested for DUI in a member state belonging to the IDLC you will be subjected to penalties in the other member state where you reside. If you fail to show up in court for the out-of-state DUI, your state may issue a bench warrant for your arrest, suspend your license, charge fines and/or imprison you for your offense.

Your first step, if you are arrested for DUI in a state other than the one in which you reside is to hire a DUI lawyer of your choosing to defend your case. Your lawyer will advise you which state, the offending state or your resident state is the best state for your offense to be tried. The nature of your DUI will depend on several factors: where you driving with minors in your vehicle; did you test positive for DUI; where you in an accident. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI, your lawyer will help you surrender to the proper authorities and help post your bail if needed.

While many drivers assume by leaving the state where the offense occurred that no further actions can be executed, unfortunately, after decades of dealing with the problem of drivers not facing charges in states in which they did not reside, the IDLC came into existence. Nevada led the way in 1960. Most of the remaining 45 states joined in 1980’s when the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) pushed for increased participation between states. Now, the IDLC promotes the sharing of information between member states about license suspensions and traffic violations of all licensed drivers.

The Second thing you must do is have your day in court and present your defense of the charges. Your lawyer will advise if a guilty plea should be entered or if a plea deal should be negotiated. He will make every effort for you to keep your license and to keep this mark off your record which could compromise employment opportunities in the future. His goal will be to get the punishment reduced to the smallest possible reduction of privileges, fines or time in jail.

What does this information mean to the person charged with an out of state DUI? It means he can no longer leave the state where he committed the offense and think he has avoided prosecution for his crimes. Instead, the penalty for the offense will be pursued by the driver’s home state. If he is found guilty in his home state, he will face the penalties for the offense normally charged by his home state, even if there is a major difference from the charges he would have faced in the state where the offense was committed.

Either way, if your state belongs to the IDLC, you will sooner or later face these charges. If your home state or the state you committed the offense in is either Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee or Wisconsin you shouldn’t assume you are free from consequence. Even though these states do not belong to the IDLC, they may share information through other sources. Massachusetts uses the Registry of Motor Vehicles to share and obtain information about driver violations. However, there is one issue that the IDLC cannot resolve and those are laws that exist in one state and not in another.

Obviously, one state’s law cannot be enforced in the state where no such law exists. Laws other than DUI laws that are not shared cannot lead to arrests or convictions in the non-offending state.

To resolve your problems with an out of state DUI, you’ll need a good DUI Lawyer to fight your case. This lawyer will help you face the charges which he may be able to get reduced to reckless driving, in the best case scenario. In the end his goal is to negotiate the best and least painful consequence for your criminal offense. The best lawyer can negotiate fines, can keep the offense off your driving record and keep you out of jail.