Can I Get Credit for California DUI Classes in Another State?


Can I Get Credit for California DUI Classes in Another State?

A DUI conviction and the subsequent mandatory DUI classes create a unique problem for out-of-state residents or California residents wishing to relocate. Following a DUI conviction in California, Section 23556 of the Vehicle Code requires the driver to complete a California alcohol program in his/her county of residence or employment. 

California DUI offenders with an out-of-state license and California residents who wish to change their residencies may face challenges with both the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, if you would like to have your driving privileges in another state, there are specific requirements you would need to meet.

California DMV requirements

California’s Dui laws are both criminal matters and administrative matters, which the DMV enforces. Courts will typically order a mandatory alcohol education class as a condition of your probation, but the DMV will require that you complete the program to lift your license suspension. For California residents, this shouldn’t be a problem. But what does it mean for individuals who need to change residency or continue the classes in their home state?

What to do for out-of-state residency

Most courts in California will allow you to take comparable DUI classes in another state so long as the receiving state participates in the Driver’s license Compact agreement. This is an agreement between nearly every state to exchange data about a driver’s records between member states (Only Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Tennessee are excluded). This means that your license suspension in California will most likely affect any license privileges you may have in the receiving state.

Criminal process for out of state residency

If you’re able to take and complete your classes in California, you should do so. With that being said, we acknowledge that there may be urgent scenarios that might require you to change your residency. Here are ways you might work around California’s mandatory DUI classes.

First, you must seek permission from a judge in the court where your case took place to take the DUI classes in another state. If you are a resident of the receiving state, you must provide proof of residency, like a utility bill. If you have taken your classes up to a certain point, it would be up to the discretion of the program provider in the receiving state to give you credit for the courses you’ve already taken.

Unfortunately, California doesn’t accept certificates from out-of-state DUI classes. It will not reinstate your California License unless you can complete a California DUI Program. At this point, you have only two options available; 

  • You can either complete your DUI classes in California or 
  • Waive your privileges to drive in California through the 1650 waiver

1650 Waiver

If your only option is to move out of state, you should first enquire about the 1650 Waiver Packet from the DMV Mandatory Actions Unit. This waiver essentially allows out-of-state residents to bypass the mandatory DUI classes by exempting them from the California requirement to attend an in-person DUI program here. However, you will be waiving your privilege to drive in California for three years through this option. The license suspension should be lifted after three years, and you will be able to acquire a California or any state license after three years. 

If you have a conviction on your record for a California DUI and are planning to move to another state, you should consult with a DUI attorney in that state. The process of attending DUI classes can often limit one’s movement, especially between state lines. An A-class criminal defense attorney by your side can help you comply with DMV requirements. Criminal Defense Heroes. P.C. has exceptional experience in dealing with post-conviction issues. 

We have offices spread across Los Angeles and in the Greater South Bay areas, including Torrance, Long Beach, El Segundo, and San Pedro. Our skilled team of California criminal defense lawyers is available to help you no matter where you are. Contact the Criminal Defense Heroes. P.C. at (323)-529-3660, and we’ll help you get through this post-conviction hurdle.

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


Get Attorney Don Hammond's published book DUI Arrest,
Now What? A Primer for the Accused today for free.