Out of state DUI keeping me from driving in home state. Help!

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “If I got a driving under the influence (DUI) charge about ten years ago in another state but now my home state is saying that my license is restricted because of the outstanding DUI issues what steps do I need to take to be able to drive?”

Many drivers assume that if they are charged with an out of state DUI they can simply avoid that state for the rest of their lives and it will have little impact on their right to drive in their home state. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. In fact, states generally share information in one form or another with other states, including outstanding DUI convictions, charges, and warrants.

If fact, most states participate in the Drivers License Compact, a multi-state agreement between all participating states that allows states to share information. States which do not participate in this compact- Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan- will still have other ways to find out about a restricted driving license.

National Driver Registry and restrictions on your license                  

The National Driver Register is a computerized database which contains information on individuals whose privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked, suspended, canceled or denied or who have been convicted of serious traffic-related offenses.

Whether or not your state is part of the Drivers License Compact they will have access to information about your DUI conviction and any restrictions on your right to drive in other states through the NDR database.

While this may not affect your ability to drive in some states for awhile, eventually when you go to have your license renewed or to get a new license your home state may refuse to issue you a new license or renew your old license until you have cleared up the restrictions in the other states.

What do I do if I have a driving suspension in another state?

States are generally required to give full faith and credit to out of state suspensions and revocations, which means you must be in “good standing” in the National Driver Register for any state to renew or issue a new license.

Therefore, in order to restore your right to drive in your home state, you will have to reinstate your driving privileges in the state where the violation occurred.

Your driver license may be suspended by your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Secretary of State (SOS), Department of Revenue (DOR), or Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) so you will need to identify what restrictions you have on your license in the state where the violation occurred. For example, you may have to pay fines or penalties, complete a license suspension, or request a license reinstatement.

After you have taken every step to reinstate your driver’s license in the state where the problem originated, that state will remove the NDR block.

Your problems may not be over

If you have taken the steps outlined above you are one step closer to getting your license, but you may still have a few hurdles. For instance, if your home state is just now finding out about your out of state DUI they may choose to impose penalties of their own.

In some cases, assuming your state had no previous knowledge of the conviction and did not impose any penalties, your state may impose an additional suspension which is triggered by being a license holder in that state and being convicted of an out of state DUI. The amount of time will depend on the penalties assessed by the state.

In this case, you will not have the right to drive in your home state until you have served the suspension, paid all necessary fines, and had your license reinstated in your home state.

Bottom Line:

If you are arrested and convicted for an out of state DUI it’s important to discuss your case with a DUI lawyer. They can tell you what will happen to your license both in and out of state.

As mentioned above, given the agreements between states and the increased access to driver’s license records in every state it’s unlikely that your home state will never find out about your DUI and will not eventually impose some type of license restrictions.

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