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Suspension for out of State Drivers in LA DUI

Suspension for Out-of-State Drivers in LA DUI Cases

Suspension for Out-of-State Drivers in LA DUI Cases

Getting arrested for DUI is scary enough in your home state. But an out-of-state driver faces additional uncertainty if charged in Los Angeles. Will a California DUI affect your driving record and license privileges back home? Unfortunately, the answer is usually yes.

Through agreements between states called driver license compacts, most states impose penalties against your home license if you are convicted of DUI in another member state. So an LA DUI suspension or revocation also applies in your home state, even if the laws differ.

Understanding these interstate effects is crucial for anyone from out of state arrested for impaired driving in California. Working with an experienced DUI attorney can help defend your rights and driving privileges in both states.

California DUI Penalties

In California, a first-offense misdemeanor DUI conviction typically results in:[1]

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines up to $1000
  • 3-5 years probation
  • 6 month license suspension
  • DUI education programs

Penalties increase for repeat offenses within 10 years. California also imposes DMV administrative license suspensions prior to criminal conviction. These include:

  • 1-year suspension for refusing chemical test
  • 4-month suspension if BAC is 0.08% or higher

How California DUIs Affect Out-of-State Licenses

Most states belong to the Driver License Compact, which requires them to treat out-of-state convictions as if they occurred in their own state. So when California reports your DUI conviction, your home state must impose its own equivalent suspension or revocation penalty against you.[2]

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For example, if your home state mandates a 90-day suspension for a first DUI, that’s what they’ll impose even if the California suspension was 180 days. The compact prevents drivers from falling through jurisdictional cracks.

Double Suspensions for Test Refusal

One key impact is that test refusal suspensions stack for out-of-state drivers. Let’s say your home state has a 6-month suspension for refusing a chemical test. On top of that, you’ll also face California’s 1-year refusal suspension.[3]

So your home state suspends you for 6 months, then California adds a year consecutive suspension. This ensures you don’t escape consequences by crossing state lines.

Administrative Per Se Suspensions

In California, blowing 0.08% BAC or higher on a chemical test triggers an automatic 4-month license suspension by the DMV. This administrative action happens even before your criminal DUI case concludes.[4]

Under the compact, your home state must also impose its own administrative per se suspension as if you failed the test back home. So you face double suspensions for failing a chemical test after a California DUI arrest.

Under 21 Suspensions

The compact also applies to under 21 license suspensions triggered by California’s zero tolerance law. This imposes a 1-year suspension on drivers under 21 caught with any measurable blood alcohol.[5]

So an underage out-of-state driver arrested for zero tolerance DUI in Los Angeles would face a 1-year suspension both in California and their home state. This prevents underage offenders from escaping consequences.

Non-Compact State Considerations

A few states like Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin don’t participate in the Driver License Compact. However, most states still impose some penalties against their own residents cited for DUI in other jurisdictions. The sanctions just won’t necessarily be identical to the original state’s.[6]

Avoiding Out-of-State Suspensions

The best way to avoid license suspensions in multiple states is by not drinking and driving at all. But if you are arrested:

  • Hire a DUI lawyer immediately to defend against the charges
  • Don’t refuse chemical BAC testing unnecessarily
  • Request DMV hearings to contest any invalid suspensions
  • Follow procedures properly to reinstate your license

An attorney can help minimize the impact on your home state driving privileges when facing DUI charges in California.

Reinstating Your License

Once suspended, you must go through reinstatement procedures in both California and your home state. Common requirements include:

  • Serving all suspension periods
  • Paying reinstatement fees
  • Providing proof of insurance (SR-22)
  • Completing DUI programs
  • Passing testing
  • Satisfying other state-specific criteria

An experienced DUI lawyer guides you through properly reinstating your driving privileges in both states. Requirements vary, so having legal representation is invaluable.

Why the Compact Matters

In summary, driver license compacts between most states have three main impacts on out-of-state DUIs:

  1. Your home state will impose equivalent suspensions and revocations as California for a DUI conviction
  2. You face double suspensions if you refuse chemical BAC testing
  3. Administrative per se suspensions apply in both states when you fail a test

Don’t assume you can avoid license impacts in your home state for an LA DUI. Consult an attorney to help defend against compact-triggered penalties.


[1] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/vehicle-code/23152/
[2] https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-and-dwi/impact-of-a-dui-conviction/interstate-compact-for-adult-offender-supervision.htm
[3] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/vehicle-code/13353/
[4] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=13353.2.
[5] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/educational-materials/fast-facts/fast-facts-teen-drivers-ffdl-33/
[6] https://www.aamva.org/DL-Compact/

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