Out-of-State DUI

Santa Rosa & Sonoma County DUI Defense Attorney

Although all states have the same legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level when determining illegal driver intoxication, not all states have the same process of handling a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest. For this reason, a non-California resident arrested for a DUI in California will go through an altogether different legal process than someone who primarily resides in the state. In general, this also means the process is understandably more confusing.

Were you arrested for a DUI while visiting California but you do not live here? The Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. and our Santa Rosa DUI defense attorney can help you sort out your legal options to uphold your rights and maintain your driving privileges. It is imperative that you act as soon as possible, as you might only have a few days left to take defensive action.


Call 707.418.5352 or contact us online right away to start your case.


California’s Out-of-State DUI Process

When a California police officer makes the decision to arrest an out-of-state visitor for a DUI, it begins with the notification that the driver’s privilege to legally drive in California will be suspended in 30 days.

Keep in mind that a driver can be labeled illegally intoxicated in California under these circumstances:

  • Over 0.08% BAC – any driver
  • Over 0.04% BAC – commercial driver
  • Over 0.01% BAC – minor driver
  • Over 0.01% BAC and driving dangerously – any age

The police officer, or the clerk at the local police station, will notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that same day that you have been arrested for an out-of-state DUI, and it will begin the process of suspending your license. Even though you do not live in California, you need to tell the DMV that you want to challenge the automatic suspension within 10 days of your arrest. This is where you should contact Sonoma County DUI attorney Evan Zelig of our firm. With his help, you can confidently challenge your license’s suspension and get to work preparing for your DMV hearing.

California DMV Hearings for Out-of-State Drivers

Requesting a DMV hearing is crucial. It will stop the automatic suspension of your driver’s license until the day after your hearing. If you succeed at the hearing, then the suspension will never happen.

At your hearing, you will challenge the arresting officer on any combination of three grounds:

  1. Your stop was not reasonable – you did not exhibit dangerous driving behaviors.
  2. Your arrest was unjust – you did not show signs of intoxication.
  3. Your BAC level was below the legal limit when you were arrested.

Being able to defeat the officer on any of these grounds could win your DMV hearing and stop the suspension. Since you will probably not be in California to come to the DMV hearing, you can actually send our Santa Rosa DUI defense lawyer to the court in your place. There is also an option to have you call into the courtroom to discuss matters with the judge, our attorney, and the officer. The point being that you do not need to return to California for your out-of-state DMV hearing.

If you are not successful at your DMV hearing, or you do not schedule one at all, odds are high that your own home state will take similar penalizing actions against your license there. 45 states – Georgia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Michigan are the exclusions – are part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC), and share DUI suspension and conviction information with one another. If you live in an IDLC state and fail at your California DMV hearing, then you can expect that your license will be suspended in your own state as well.

DUI Court Dates in California

Protecting your license from automatic suspension at a DMV hearing is not the same as preventing a DUI conviction. If you and your criminal defense attorney decide to take your case to trial due to a high chance of success, then you must next await for the judge to decide if you are required to show up to the trial. For out-of-state DUIs of minimal severity – misdemeanors, nonviolent, etc. – you might be able to send your attorney to the court while you stay in your home state. If you are convicted, you will be sentenced based on California law but may face all punishments in your state, such as incarceration.

Reliable Defense for In-State & Out-of-State Drivers

The Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. is highly-experienced when it comes to protecting the rights and privileges of out-of-state drivers arrested for a DUI in California, as well as California drivers arrested for a DUI in another state. No matter where you ran into trouble with the law, we want to be the team that stands by your side and shields you from unjust legal penalties. Start with a free case review with our DUI defense attorney in Santa Rosa today.

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