If you are arrested in the state of California for DUI with an out-of-state driver’s license, your privilege to drive in California will be suspended 30 days after the date of your arrest.
You have ten days from the date of your arrest to challenge this suspension with the California DMW through a DMV Hearing (Link to DMV hearings). At this point, your license suspension will be postponed until the outcome of the hearing (which could take a few months).
As an out-of-state resident, you do not need to be present at the hearing- your attorney can appear on your behalf. An experienced DUI attorney knows the best way to prevail at a DMV hearing and often times can avoid your license suspension.
If you lose the hearing however, your license will be suspended in the state of California. For first time DUI offenders, this most likely translates to a 4 month suspension. Unfortunately, most states report driving arrests to one another and therefore your California suspension is likely to affect your driving privileges at home. The type and severity of the action will depend on the DUI laws in your given state.
In any case, you will be involved in a DUI criminal court proceeding in which your attorney can once again appear on your behalf.
Any tactics we use for a full time resident of the state, we will use the same defensive strategies for an out-of-state driver, often to success. A good DUI defense lawyer may be able to get the criminal charge reduced or even dismissed and may be able to avoid a license suspension being imposed in their home state. It is just as critical for an out-of-state driver to get a skilled California DUI lawyer as it is for an in-state resident.
Does an out-of-state driver arrested for DUI have to come back to California for the court proceedings?
No he does not- he can have his lawyer handle it for him in California and he does not need to be physically present. The same is true of the DMV hearing.
If the court requires me to do an alcohol program, can I do some equivalent program in my state?
Through the court, you can. For example, the courts in CA will allow someone from out of state to do an online class which has the same syllabus and criteria. Also, the courts can allow a person that lives out of state to take an equivalent class in their home state.
If my license gets suspended in California, can I still drive in my home state?
The answer is most likely no. California will notify your home state of your arrest which will most likely enforce your license suspension. As a matter of fact, because of different rules and regulations, your home state may take harsher action against you.
What if I reside in CA but still have an out of state driver’s license?
Besides the consequences of the DUI itself, they could wind up facing an additional charge of misdemeanor driving without a license if they have been living in CA for 30 days or greater. Under CA law, when someone changes residence and becomes a permanent residence of our state they have 30 days to change their license from their former state and obtain a CA driver’s license. This is a misdemeanor offense which could require up to 6 months in county jail.