• Justin Sparks

What Happens if You Get a DUI in Another State? The Answer Largely Depends on Your Home State

Imagine that an individual is vacationing with their family. They left their home state of Texas to venture to the mountains of Colorado for some much-needed relaxation.


While enjoying themselves on vacation, they partake in a few alcoholic beverages. Then, they decide to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. They are only going a few minutes down the road and think they will be alright to drive. Unfortunately, however, they get pulled over by a police officer.


After performing the three standard field sobriety tests, the police offer arrests the individual for suspected drunk driving. Before they know it, they are in handcuffs in the back of a police car. What lies ahead is a possible DUI offense.


What went from a nice vacation suddenly turned into an emotional, mental, and financial nightmare. A DUI charge is nothing to joke about. An out-of-state DUI charge, however, adds another layer to an already complicated situation. So, what happens if an individual gets a DUI in another state? The answer largely depends on their home state and the state where the DUI arrest was made.


Out of State DUI: What Happens Next

Out of State DUI: What Happens Next


The rules of the road are governed differently in each state. Each state is also responsible for issuing its own driver's license. The process for attaining a state driver's license may be different in each state. Though each state's rules, regulations, and laws are different, they maintain unified communication through a system called the Interstate Driver's License Compact.


Interstate Driver's License Compact

The Interstate Driver's License Compact is an agreement between states. It allows states to share information about driving records. This driver's license compact spotlights information for every driver in the United States. The compact applies to minor traffic violations, like a speeding ticket, for example, and major offenses like DUI.


This driver license compact was started in 1961. Nevada was the first state to join the compact followed by many others in the late 1960s. Other states followed suit in later years. The last state to join was Kentucky in 1996. There are only five states who are not part of this agreement including:

  • Georgia

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Tennessee

  • Wisconsin

While these five states are not part of the agreement, they may utilize different communication pathways for traffic violations and state DUI. For all the other states, this non-resident violators compact provides a system of communication. When an individual gets a DUI in another state, it is noted in this registry.


Penalties for an Out of State DUI Charge

If an individual is arrested for DUI in Colorado, for example, the state of Colorado will notify the individual's home state of Texas through the Interstate Driver's License Compact. The individual's home state will recognize and honor the DUI charge and institute the DUI penalties.


The penalties for a DUI charge can vary from state to state. The most common penalties include driver's license suspension, fines, probation, or jail time. (Learn what to do after DUI probation is over) Some states may choose to impose penalties as if the charge occurred within their state borders. Other states may choose to impose penalties based on the state where the DUI occurred. A criminal defense attorney can help individuals navigate this complicated and very difficult process.


DUI Transferal

DUI penalties are likely to carry over or transfer, from state to state. If an individual is convicted of a DUI, their resident state will not issue a new license until the penalties have been satisfied on their current license. This is a type of penalty carry-over. Restrictions placed in one state will continue to affect the individual in their home state until they are lifted.


Out of State Driver's License Suspension for DUI

If an individual is convicted of DUI in Colorado, for example, that state does not have the authority to suspend their resident state license. Their resident state, however, can suspend the license for an out-of-state DUI. The length of the suspension depends on many factors. If an individual has a history of drunk driving or injured someone in a drunk driving accident, they may face longer suspension times.


An administrative license suspension revokes the driving privileges of the individual charged. This can place a great financial burden on the shoulders of this individual. Getting a license reinstated is not always an easy process. It can be expensive. Each state has its reinstatement fee. These costs can vary. A person's car insurance can be affected, as well. Cost and availability may become a concern.


Additionally, an administrative license suspension can also create emotional and mental strife. An individual will no longer be able to operate motor vehicles. They lose their driving privileges and their freedom of movement. The charge also becomes part of their driving record which can affect future employment opportunities. The court process can also be challenging, especially for first-time offenders.


Luckily, a Tarrant County DWI attorney can help an individual navigate a DUI conviction that includes license suspension.


Moving to Another State After Being Convicted of a DUI

One common penalty for a DUI charge is probation. If a person is convicted of a DUI and is on probation, they may not be able to move out of state as easily as they'd like.


The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) is legislation that outlines how states must transfer offenders from one state to the next. This legislation can make it difficult for an individual to move freely from one state to another while on probation for DUI.

If an individual is trying to move to another state while on probation for DUI, it is advised they seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Sparks Law Firm can help an individual contact their home state's parole board and the parole board of the state they wish to move to for more information.


Traveling to Another State Following DUI Charges

An individual may have to travel back to the state they were charged in following a DUI arrest. They may be required to make a court appearance following a set court date. Sometimes, a criminal defense attorney can act as a liaison. However, this is not always the case. Travel, lodging, and other associated expenses can grow quite costly.


Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney Following an Out of State DUI

Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney Following an Out of State DUI


If an individual has been charged with DUI in another state, they should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help them determine the next steps following a DUI conviction. This may include preparing for court, understanding each state's penalties for DUI, reinstating driving privileges, and more.


Selecting the Best Law Firm for a DUI Charge

One may get a DUI and feel confused. Things can also get complicated, especially when the court gets involved and you do not know what to expect at a DUI arraignment. They may not know where to turn for help. Luckily, a criminal defense attorney from Sparks Law Firm can help.


There are many considerations to make when selecting the best law firm to represent an individual's case. It is important to select a firm that values the attorney-client relationship and that is a reputable name in the industry.


The Attorney-Client Relationship

The attorneys at Sparks Law Firm value the relationships they establish with their clients. Though they are aggressive in the courtroom, they are sensitive to their client's needs. The criminal defense attorneys at Sparks Law Firm listen to their clients and provide a shoulder to lean on when they need it most. They understand that a DUI conviction can be a scary thing, so they work with each client to ensure they understand and feel comfortable with the process.


Free Consultation

A criminal defense attorney must also be sensitive to the financial needs of the client. When a person is charged with DUI, they may grow concerned about the mounting costs they will soon face. The attorneys at Sparks Law Firm offer a free consultation to all prospective clients. This provides the attorney and the client a chance to meet, review the details of the case, and address any questions or concerns. A free consultation enables the client to seek legal counsel without the initial barrier of cost.



A Reputable Name in the Industry

Sparks Law Firm is a reputable name in the industry. With over 100 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Sparks Law Firm have been helping hundreds of clients navigate the legal process and attain justice. This top-rated firm in Fort Worth employs a team of highly-qualified and experienced professionals who care about the outcome of a case. They are always proactive, not reactive in the courtroom and utilize an "all-hands" approach to fighting complicated DUI or DWI cases in Texas.


To learn more about how the attorneys at Sparks Law Firm can help with an out-of-state DUI or to schedule a free consultation for more information, call 817-381-7846 today.