If you have been convicted of DUI in California, or had your license suspended for DUI by the California DMV, the consequences will continue to affect you if you move to another state. However, there are ways you can make the process easier, and you may not have to complete all of your in-state DUI penalties from California.
Below, we’ll cover all parts of moving after a California DUI:
- Which penalties follow you out of state
- How to deal with court appearances
- Completing DUI school, jail and other DUI penalties out of state
- Getting a license in your new state
Which California DUI penalties will follow me when I move out of state?
In most cases, all of them will. Many DUI drivers wonder how to handle their out-of-state move, because they may have had it planned for months before their arrest or it may be necessary for work, school or family reasons. These are all valid reasons to move out of state. But moving should not be seen as a way to dodge DUI accountability—it will not work, and can backfire badly.
After your arrest for DUI, you will be required to appear in court (or have your lawyer do so—see below). If you miss a court hearing, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. If you are accused of a felony DUI, the State of California could actually have you extradited from your new state and returned to California. In most cases, however, DUI is a misdemeanor—you would not be extradited, but the warrant would create problems, and you could potentially be arrested and face much more difficult penalties.
Additionally, both California and your new state will know that your driver’s license was suspended. You would not be able to get a driver’s license in your new state until you have cleared up the DUI charge in California. You would, essentially, be unable to drive legally anywhere in the country.
The best thing you can do is continue to work through your California DUI charge even if you have moved out of state.
Do I have to appear in court in California if I don’t live there?
No, usually you do not. You can have your lawyer represent you in court. If you authorize your lawyer to do so, he or she can go to your court appearances on your behalf, and you do not have to come in person. You may still have to return to California for some penalties, however.
Do I have to complete DUI school in California?
All California DUI sentences now include mandatory classes known as DUI school. These classes can take months or years to complete. The courses approved by the State of California are offered only in California itself. But you do have options:
- You may be able to get permission to take a similar, equivalent class offered in your new state, or
- The judge may even allow you to take an online version of the California classes
The important thing is that you must request this from the court. If you do not get permission, then taking the classes out of state does not count and could carry penalties as a violation of the terms of your probation. Your lawyer can request this accommodation from the court without you needing to appear.
The same is true for most other DUI penalties, such as community service or alcohol treatment. If you request it, the court may allow you to serve an equivalent penalty out of state.
Do I have to return to California for jail?
This is the one penalty that does typically require you to return to California. In theory, a judge could allow you to serve your sentence in your new state and county, but in practice judges typically want you to serve your time in the county where the offense happened or at least in California (you can sometimes request to change counties). Your best option is to hire a DUI defense lawyer to try to negotiate a deal that doesn’t involve jail time at all.
How do I get a new drivers license if I no longer live in California?
When you were arrested for DUI in California, your CA drivers license was likely confiscated and you were given a paper document as a temporary license. Your license would then have been suspended, either automatically by the DMV or as part of your DUI sentence. This suspension is a public record and the DMV in your new state will know about it if you attempt to apply for a license. No matter where you reside, you must serve out your license suspension before you can get a new driver’s license.
To complete your suspension and get a new license, the process you must follow is:
- Wait until you have served the full period of suspension.
- Complete all other requirements, such as DUI school, in a way approved by the court in California.
- Get car insurance and obtain proof of insurance using an SR-22 form. You may ask your lawyer to help you so you don’t have to return to California.
- Ask your lawyer to complete the license reinstatement process in California.
Once these steps are complete, the California DMV will no longer have a “hold” on your license, and you can apply for a new one in your new state.
Moving out of state can make a DUI much more complicated. But, you have a right to move and you do have the ability to resolve your DUI regardless of where you live. A good lawyer is the best way to take care of any out-of-state DUI.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.