There’s a myth that moving to a new state is a great way to leave behind a DUI. However, if you move to California, your DUI history is almost certainly going to follow you. Depending on the status of your DUI in your home state, you may not be able to obtain a driver’s license in California.
Every DUI case is unique, so it’s important to speak with someone about your driving history. To learn more about how your DUI history may affect you in California, it’s a good idea to sit down with a lawyer who has years of experience handling cases just like yours. We can connect you with a Los Angeles DUI attorney.
Your Driving History Is Going to Follow You to California
Say you move to Los Angeles shortly after having received a DUI in your home state. When you go to apply for a California driver’s license, the California DMV is going to request information about your driving history. The California DMV will decide to issue or deny you a driver’s license based on what your home state’s DMV says about your driving history.
Your driving history is likely to be easily accessible to the DMV because California is one of 45 states to have signed on to the Driver License Compact (DLC). The DLC is an interstate agreement between all the states, except for Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, to provide each member state with the complete driving histories of their citizens. The status of your DUI is going to be something the DMV will see when you apply for a California driver’s license.
This works in reverse as well. If you happen to get a DUI in California and move to another state, California will readily provide the information to member states. Even for the five states that haven’t joined the DLC, your driving history can still be forwarded to your new state when you apply for a driver’s license.
Applying for a California Driver’s License When You Have a DUI in Another State
When you apply for a new driver’s license in California, the DMV is going to be looking primarily for two things regarding your DUI history. These are:
- If, under California law, you would be ineligible for a license if your offense happened in the Golden State
- If your home state license is suspended
If both conditions are met, you could be denied a California driver’s license.
Similar DUI Laws
For the first condition, the California DMV has some discretion even under the terms of the DLC. California determines to follow the punishment of your out-of-state DUI conviction by considering if the law in your home state is like its own DUI laws, if it is enforced in a similar way, and if the description of the offense is reasonably related to DUI.
Your License is Suspended in Your Home State
If you have received a license suspension for a DUI in your home state, or you are otherwise still serving out some portion of your court-appointed punishment for a DUI, the California DMV is likely to take that into account when deciding to issue a new driver’s license. If you are still in the process of serving a court-appointed penalty for a DUI, such as a driver’s license suspension, you are unlikely to receive a California driver’s license.
A California DUI Lawyer Can Help You Get a Driver’s License
When moving to California with a DUI from another state, it’s important to know if you will be able to get a driver’s license. The specific facts of your case will determine if you are able to get a license when you move or if there is more you need to do before California’s DMV will issue one. It can be helpful to speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney to see how California’s complex DUI laws will affect you when you move.
If you’re planning to move to the greater Los Angeles area, contact us to connect with a skilled DUI attorney who can help you understand how your DUI in another state can affect your ability to get a driver’s license in California. We’re available at (310) 906-4831 to set up your first free consultation with a DUI attorney.
Don’t stress about getting a California driver’s license, reach out to us today!