Have you ever wondered about DWIs that occur in a place other than your home state? Some people are willing to risk drunk driving out-of-state, particularly if they are in a location where they are likely not to visit again anytime soon.
The truth, however, is that if you are arrested for drunk driving outside your home state, it is likely that your driver’s license suspension will follow you back home. This is because of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact that most states have agreed to or adopted.
The Interstate Driver License Compact is an agreement or contract among numerous states in the U.S. to exchange all information regarding a non-resident’s traffic violations and license suspensions, and to forward them to the home state – or the state where the violator is licensed. Under the IDLC, a driver only has one driver’s license record. In fact, its theme is “One Driver, One License, One Record.”
With the IDLC, your home state treats specific offenses committed out-of-state as if they occurred at home, thus applying laws of your home state to your out-of-state offense. If you are from Minnesota and were convicted of a DWI in another state, then that state could request your license suspension effective back home.
Of course, in order for your home state to penalize you for an offense committed out-of-state, your home state must typically have the equivalent statute. Without the same statute, no action may be taken against you. Some states also only agree to honor a DWI license suspension under the IDLC if a number of other conditions are met.
Actions taken will include, but are not limited to, points assessed on minor offenses such as speeding, as well as license suspension for major violations such as a DWI/DUI. The Driver License Compact does not cover non-moving violations such as tinted windows and parking tickets.
Not all states are required to participate in the IDLC. States that are not members of the Interstate Compact are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Whether the other states act upon being notified of an arrest is completely dependent on the state. Since majority of the U.S. states have joined and adopted the IDLC, chances are high that your driver’s license will be affected after a DWI conviction in another state.
Seeking Legal Help from a DWI Attorney
If you are arrested for DWI or another violation while out-of-state, the worst thing you can do is to ignore the arrest. You will not be required to enter a guilty plea to the DWI offense committed out-of-state, although you will be required to make a court appearance. It would help your case greatly to consult with an attorney familiar with the DWI laws from both your home state and the state you were arrested in. If this is not an option, then consult with a DWI attorney from the state you were arrested in.
You may also opt to seek help from an attorney from your state. While a DWI attorney from your home state may not be able to assist you with your out-of-state DWI arrest, he or she may be able to help you with all issues related to your license suspension.
Source: Driver License Compact, published on http://apps.csg.org/ncic/Compact.aspx?id=56.