How Out-of-State Driving Under the Influence Arrests Work in California

It goes without saying that not every driver on California’s roads is from the Golden State. People from all around the country and the continent come to California for vacations, business, family, and more. Sometimes highway patrol officers can encounter an out-of-state visitor who appears to have overindulged in alcohol before getting behind the wheel. The resulting out-of-state driving under the influence (DUI) arrest will create a set of legal circumstances not typical of most DUI cases.

Notification of Driving Privilege Suspension

After you are arrested for a DUI in California as someone visiting from another state, you will be notified that your legal ability to drive in the state is limited to the next 30 days. When the 31st day comes around, you will be banned from driving in California, even if you can still drive elsewhere. Keep in mind you do not need to be convicted of any crime for this suspension to occur, you merely need to be arrested.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified of your arrest as well and on the day of your arrest. It will automatically process the suspension of your driver’s license. You will have only 10 days after your arrest to try to stop this automatic suspension by requesting a DMV hearing. At the hearing, you get a chance to argue against the automatic suspension using whatever evidence or representation you want, despite it not technically being a criminal court. This is where things can get tricky for an out-of-state driver.

Using an Attorney in Your Stead

Do you want to drive all the way back to California and the specific county in which you were arrested for your DMV hearing? Of course not. In order to save yourself the trouble of taking an unexpected and unenjoyable “vacation,” you should retain a criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed in out-of-state DUI laws and processes. They can go to your DMV hearing on your behalf and argue in the prevention of the suspension.

Assuming your DUI is not a felony, you may also have the option of sending your attorney in your place for your criminal court dates as well. Your remote attorney an act on your behalf to try to convince a judge to dismiss your case, or a jury to rule a not guilty verdict.

What Happens If Your Cases Do Not Go Your Way?

When you are charged with an out-of-state DUI, or any crime for that matter, there is no promise the case or trial will go in your favor. If you cannot prevent the license suspension the California DMV hearing, then your own state will suspend your license as well if it belongs to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC)*. If you are determined to be guilty in your criminal court case, then your state will also implement criminal punishments akin to what California would have used, if your home state is in the IDLC.

Let Attorney Zelig Be Your Out-of-State DUI Lawyer

Taking the stress and guesswork of your out-of-state DUI case after you are arrested in California for drunk driving is as simple as letting the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. manage your case. Our Santa Rosa DUI defense attorney is backed by a history of successful case results and numerous professional awards, including multiple selections to Super Lawyers®. Call (707) 418-5352 or send our office an email today to discover how we are well-equipped to manage your out-of-state DUI case. We look forward to helping you through this difficult time.

* Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, and Massachusetts do not belong to the IDLC and may determine its own penalties, or even begin its own case to substitute the out-of-state DUI case in California.