The Law Dictionary

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Impact of Out-of-State DUI

Consider the scenario where a person is out of state and is arrested for DUI.  What impact does this event have on that person back in the person’s state of residence?  While each state is sovereign and has its own laws and penalties around DUI the states do essentially the same things and are fairly close on its penalties and relationships with other states.  Many but not all states currently use a national information system that share conviction details.  The system is now in place and is known as the Interstate Compact.  It is a multi-state agreement among participating states.  These states share information and reciprocate actions against violators.  Currently Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts (MA), and Michigan are all Non-compact states and do not share DUI conviction information through the system.  MA will notify a person’s resident state directly and provide the details of an arrest, BAC testing, and any other pertinent information.  MA will also treat an out-of-state DUI just as if the DUI occurred in MA.  Another system, the National Drivers Registry, is a central repository of driver events allowing other states to review an out-of-state (OOS) driver’s record in the event of a stop or subsequent arrest.  Most state act in some way as does MA with a MA resident arrested for an OOS DUI.  This means that the resident will have his or her license suspended, likely for one year.  If the resident ignores the OOS hearing, the resident can expect a bench warrant for that resident’s arrest.  It is unlikely that this warrant will lead to the extradition of the resident to the arresting state.  The experts state that no state will have a resident stand trial under the resident’s state law for something like a DUI that occurred in another state.  The arresting state can and will hold the OOS offender for a hearing and or trial if the circumstances warrant it.  If there are fees and fines, the OOS offender will likely have to pay them before being allowed to leave the arresting state.  The arresting state apparently gets what is can from the situation, such as it is.  It is as if the state knows that it will not likely see the OOS offender again, but the bench warrant is a way of getting the offender if he or she is identified while again in the arresting state.  Several people experienced such an event, traveling through a state with an outstanding warrant for an unresolved DUI, then being stopped, identified, arrested, and jailed.  What fun if on a trip with family.  It is recommended by experts to not ignore the summons to a hearing even if out of state.  The arresting state does not really care about the hardship of returning to the state for the hearing.  As many people comment the accused should have considered that before drinking and driving.  It often sounds a bit self-righteous, but it is the correct way of viewing the situation.  Too many people have just a few beers or glasses of wine at dinner and somehow get into a police stop and arrested.  It is simply the law being applied whether one likes it or not.