Do You Need an Out of State DUI Lawyer? We Can Help
Out of State DUI Lawyer San Diego
Every state in the U.S. has laws against driving under the influence (DUI) and imposes penalties on drivers who operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. However, DUI laws and penalties vary from state to state, and if you have been arrested for DUI in California as an out-of-state driver, it is imperative that you contact a defense attorney who specializes in defending California drunk driving cases. You could lose your driving privileges in the state of California as a result of your DUI arrest, and you only have ten days from the date of your arrest to take the necessary action to retain these privileges. Furthermore, because California shares driving records and reports DUI offenses to other states, you could face additional penalties from your home state for a DUI that takes place in California. Anytime you are facing out-of-state drunk driving charges in California, you should hire a California DUI defense attorney to handle your case. At Sevens Legal, APC, our defense lawyers have a clear understanding of California DUI law and we can help you get the best possible outcome in your out-of-state DUI case.
Driving Under the Influence
Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” This law is the “subjective” standard for drunk driving in California, and under this law, you can be arrested for DUI if the arresting officer reasonably believes that you are under the influence of alcohol, even if your BAC is below the legal limit. To be “under the influence” means your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you are no longer able to drive as well as a cautious sober person would under similar circumstances.
Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or Higher
Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) states that “It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.” This law sets forth the “per se” standard of DUI in California, and the law presumes that you are under the influence of alcohol if your BAC is 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether or not you appear to be intoxicated.
What Happens After an Out-of-State DUI Arrest?
As a California Resident
If you are a resident of California and you are arrested for DUI in another state, the arrest could be reported to the California DMV, and if that happens, the DMV will take administrative action against your driver’s license the same way it would if your DUI took place in California, pursuant to California Vehicle Code § 15023 (a). That means, in addition to possibly having your driving privileges suspended in the state in which your DUI occurred, your driver’s license would also be suspended in California. You would also need to have an attorney in the state where your DUI arrest occurred handle the case for you. And if you are convicted of DUI in another state, the out-of-state DUI conviction will appear on your California driving record just as it would if you were convicted of drunk driving in California. It will also count as a prior DUI conviction under California DUI law, which means any DUI arrest that occurs within ten years will be considered a subsequent offense carrying increased penalties.
As a Resident of Another State
If you are arrested in California for DUI, and you live in another state, you face a process similar to that which a California resident would face. California residents arrested for DUI in their home state automatically get their driver’s license confiscated upon being arrested for DUI, but the police cannot take your out-of-state license. Instead, the arresting officer will give you notice that your driving privileges in California will be suspended in 30 days, and then report the arrest to the California DMV. You get to keep your license, but your home state will be notified of the DUI arrest and the DMV in your state may decide to suspend your license anyway.
Both California residents and out-of-state drivers can fight the DMV driver’s license suspension and the process is the same for both. From the date of your DUI arrest, you have ten days to contact the DMV and request a hearing to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges. Upon requesting a hearing with the DMV, the suspension of your driving privileges will be postponed pending the outcome of the hearing. If you fail to schedule your DMV hearing before the deadline, you forfeit the right to a DUI hearing and the suspension of your California driving privileges will take effect 30 days after your arrest.
What Happens at a DMV Hearing?
Even though a DMV hearing is less formal than a criminal court proceeding, you still have the right to hire a DUI defense attorney and fight the DMV’s suspension of your driving privileges. This is true regardless of where you live, because both out-of-state drivers and California residents who are arrested for drunk driving in California are processed in the same way. If you win the DMV hearing, you can avoid the DMV’s suspension and retain your driving privileges in California. If you lose the hearing, your driving privileges in California will be suspended for a term based on whether you have previous DUI convictions on your record. For a first-time DUI in California, the DMV may suspend your driving privileges for four months, and for a second-time DUI, your driving privileges could be suspended for one year. DMV hearings can be difficult to win, which is why hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you is critical. In fact, if you hire an attorney, you may not even have to appear at the DMV hearing. He or she can represent you at the hearing to challenge the DMV’s license suspension and can also defend you against the DUI charges in the California court system.
Penalties for an Out-of-State DUI
If you are successful in avoiding a DUI conviction in California, your home state may not take any action against you. However, if you are found guilty of a California DUI, you will be sentenced in California and your penalties will likely include a suspension of your driving privileges in the state. And once you return home, your home state will likely impose the same restrictions on your driver’s license. If this is the case, you will not be able to have your driver’s license reinstated until you have completed the terms and conditions of your California DUI conviction, including paying any fines and completing DUI school. If you drive in California while your driving privileges are suspended, you could face additional criminal charges under Vehicle Code § 14601 VC for driving on a suspended license.
Interstate Driver License Compact
All but five U.S. states (Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Michigan are excluded) belong to the Driver License Compact (DLC), an agreement between the states to exchange information regarding traffic violations and license suspensions, including for DUI arrests. Under the DLC, if you suffer an out-of-state DUI, your home state will likely take its own action against your driver’s license, in addition to any penalties imposed by the state your DUI took place in.
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