You’ve had the proverbial one too many, and you’re ready to call it a night. While some in your position might think to call a cab, you reason that you don’t have far to go. You won’t be driving more than 15 miles at most, and in any case, you’re on vacation from out of state. What’s the worst that could happen?
If thoughts like these are running through your head, it’s time to chase them out and shut the door. Drunk driving (Chapter 484C) is serious regardless of where you do it, and this is one crime that’s almost certain to follow you home. If the Interstate Driver License Compact fails to do you in, the Non-Resident Violator Compact could finish you off instead.
The Interstate Driver License Compact
In a national information-sharing agreement, this compact gives any one of the 45 participating states the right to share information concerning DUI arrests and to honor any license suspension resulting from an out-of-state DUI conviction. Although the state that arrests you will not itself revoke your home license, it will suspend your driving rights for the time that you remain within its limits. Your home state will make the final determination.
Only five states have exempted themselves from participation in the Interstate Driver License Compact. They are:
In any of the rest, the news will cross state lines, and the DUI offender will have no place to hide.
The National Driver Register
Familiarly known as the NDR, this separate and centralized driver-tracking database contains the names and birth dates of drivers nationwide who have either lost their licenses or been convicted of such serious traffic infractions as driving under the influence. The information contained in this repository may be of particular interest to members of law enforcement when stopping or arresting out-of-state drivers.
Returning to the State of the Initial Arrest
In the vast majority of cases, anyone arrested for DUI must eventually appear in court in the state that has charged him. If an out-of-state driver fails to return, the court can issue a warrant for his arrest and extradite him if needed. Once it has reached his home state, news of this arrest could trigger a license suspension in and of itself.
In addition to causing the license loss, any failure to appear in court or at a mandated hearing could result in a permanent revocation of the defendant’s driving privileges within that state.
Civil and Criminal DUI Proceedings
In any case of driving under the influence, both civil and criminal proceedings come into play. The civil proceeding is the one during which the Department of Motor Vehicles determines whether you will lose your license and if so, for how long. If a preponderance of evidence should prove that you operated a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, suspension is a foregone conclusion.
Since DUI is always a crime, criminal proceedings will now begin. Although they take place in the state of your arrest, you may be able to temporarily return to your home state while out on bail. If so, criminal defense attorneys can handle much of the case on your behalf. Nevertheless, the judge may order your return for pretrial hearings and will definitely expect you to appear for the trial itself.
If a guilty verdict for a first DUI should result in jail time, be prepared to spend between two days and six months behind bars in the arresting state. For second and third offenses, that jail time could last for up to one or three years respectively.
The judge may transfer any probation back to your home state, and in this case, any further penalties such as community service and alcohol abuse classes would transfer there as well.
DUI from One State to Another
Since 1993, every state in the union has considered any non-commercial driver aged 21 or older with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more to be legally drunk. That percentage drops to 0.04 for commercial drivers and as low as 0.02 for youngsters under the age of 21.
Despite a general adherence to these nationwide standards, punishments for driving under the influence will differ from one state to the next. A majority of states will mandate a license suspension. Nineteen will compel an ignition lock installation, and while some states enforce a set of predetermined penalties, others leave all sentencing up to the judge’s discretion.
Your Out-of-State Drunk Driving Defense
An arrest for out-of-state DUI is never a laughing matter. For those who wish to fight these charges, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential. The lawyers at Weiner Law Group believe that with the right strategies in place, you may have a good chance of coming out ahead. Don’t let your out-of-state DUI follow you back home. Call Weiner Law Group today for a free consultation.