How Out-of-State Convictions for DUI can be used in a California DUI Case

How Out-of-State Convictions for DUI Can be Used in a California DUI Case

By now, you’re probably aware of California’s drinking and driving laws. Vehicle Code 23152 (a)  prohibits driving a vehicle when a person is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, while Section 23152 (b) stipulates that it is illegal for a person who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher to drive a vehicle. If you’re a driver found in violation of these two laws, you will likely suffer consequences that go far beyond legal costs and your state borders.

Out-of-state drivers and California DUI Laws

When a California resident is caught having violated the DUI laws, the arresting officer seizes their driver’s license and replaces it with a temporary document which will expire in 30 days. For an out-of-state driver, the officer will give him or her notice to the effect that his/her privilege to drive in California will be suspended in 30 days.

Upon seizure of the license or notification of suspension of the privilege to drive, the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) is notified. The DUI defendant has ten days from the date of arrest to challenge that suspension. In order to challenge the same, your or your DUI defense attorney should request a California DMV hearing. After the hearing is requested, the license or driving privilege suspension is postponed awaiting the outcome of the hearing.

Out-of-state convictions, Interstate Driver’s License Compact, and a California DUI case

California is among the members of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (DLC), which is an agreement between the member states to disclose information about driver violations, including DUI convictions. This agreement requires member states to report driving convictions to the state where the driver holds a driver’s license. 

Consequently, the defendant’s home state will likely take its own action against his/her driver’s license if he/she is arrested for a California DUI violation. The severity of the action will vary depending on the state in which the defendant lives:

  • Some states will take action if the California DMV suspends your license
  • Other states will only act if you suffer a criminal conviction
  • In other states, you will face DMV penalties at home as if you had been convicted of the DUI there
  • In some, you may only be penalized if your home state has similar DUI statutes as California

Where your home state takes action against your driver’s license, that action can only be remedied upon fulfilling your California DUI obligations and probation requirements imposed by the court, such as paying fines and completing California DUI School.

In most cases where a California resident has an out-of-state DUI conviction on record, it will be treated as a DUI on the driver’s record to the same extent as if it had occurred in California.

In California, an out-of-state DUI conviction ought to meet the equivalency test such that the out-of-state conviction would be a DUI violation in California. The equivalency test necessitates that the out-of-state violation be substantially similar in nature to the equivalent law in California as outlined in Section 15023 (c) of the Vehicle Code.

For members of the DLC, when an out-of-state driver is arrested, the arrest is immediately reported to the California DMV. Generally, out-of-state DUI convictions will affect the driver’s privilege to drive in California. If you need to contest your California charges, you need to do a couple of things, including retaining a California defense attorney. We highlighted the steps involved in our “DUI in California with an Out-of-State license?” article.

Non-DLC members and a California DUI case

Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin are the non-member states of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. When visiting a different state and arrested for DUI, the initial arrest proceeds under that state’s laws.

The severity of the suspension

The length of the suspension varies subject to the number of DUI convictions one has suffered previously. A first-time California DUI attracts a four months suspension. This is sometimes converted to a restricted license after the first thirty days to allow the defendant to drive to and from work and DUI school. The California DMV can allow a defendant to drive if they install a certified ignition interlock device in his/her car, as stated in the Vehicle Code.

If you have an out-of-state conviction on your record for a DUI and plan to drive around in California, you should consult with a DUI attorney in that state. An A-class criminal defense attorney by your side can help you comply with DMV requirements and defend you through possible California DUI cases. Criminal Defense Heroes. P.C. has exceptional experience in dealing with post-conviction issues.

We represent clients across Greater Los Angeles and the South Bay Area, 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 get you started on your new life in California.

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


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