Like many other states, California has harsh punishments for drivers convicted of a single DUI, but even more serious penalties for repeat offenders. If you have a DUI from another state, whether it was your home state or you simply were visiting at the time of the offense, you may not be sure if California will consider any new DUIs as a second offense.
For reasons to be discussed, it could be very likely that your DUI from another state will come back to haunt you in California. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, sitting down with a Los Angeles DUI attorney will be the most reliable way of knowing for sure if you’d be facing an elevated penalty for a second DUI offense. Simply fill out the form on this page with your contact information to begin scheduling a free appointment with a knowledgeable DUI attorney
California Will Likely Know About Your Previous DUIs
The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an agreement held by all but five states (Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are not members). In accordance with this agreement, the member states of the DLC readily provide each other with the driving records of their citizens when it’s requested. If you go to apply for a driver’s license in California, the DMV will likely have your out-of-state DUI on record.
Even if the California DMV has yet to be made aware of your DUI from another state, there is a good chance that it could come up during a subsequent proceeding in California. Your previous DUI can be pulled from the public record, especially if it occurred in a DLC-member state. A conviction from one of the states that aren’t part of the DLC may still provide information about your DUI to prosecutors or the DMV as they seek to determine the penalties you can face.
Your DUI from Another State May Not Count in California
California, being its own sovereign state, is not bound to accept the terms of other states’ DUI laws when determining how it treats people within its own jurisdiction. There are several factors California will consider before holding a DUI from another state against someone.
- Timeframe of the conviction – California counts DUIs and similar offenses for 10 years from the date of the arrest. Any conviction prior to that date isn’t counted.
- Similarities between state laws – California will only treat an offense as a DUI if the laws of the state are comparable to its own. Too much variation from California’s DUI laws and prosecutors will not use the offense to seek a harsher penalty.
- Described as a DUI – Some descriptions of offenses in other states may not read like a DUI to California. If the description of the offense isn’t reasonably related to California’s DUI statute, it will not be held against you.
Harsher Penalties for a Second Offense
A second offense DUI in California comes with substantially harsher penalties. A second offense could be a DUI from another state, a DUI conviction in California, or some lesser charges like a wet reckless offense. These penalties include:
- Two years of license suspension
- Fines and court assessment fees totaling up to $4,000
- A year and a half worth of DUI driver’s education classes
- An ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
- A prison sentence between 10 days and one full year
Contact a DUI Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
A second offense DUI is a serious matter, and your DUI from another state may not qualify you for a repeat offender penalty. Even if you can have your DUI from another state thrown out, you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to challenge the California DMV’s automatic driver’s license suspension. If you don’t challenge this admin per se suspension, you will lose your license for several months. This happens even if you aren’t convicted of a DUI.
To connect with a lawyer who has years of experience dealing with cases just like yours, contact us. We can help you set up a free consultation with an attorney who can help you understand how California’s DUI laws will affect you and how the prosecution is likely to see your DUI from another state.
We’re available at (310) 906-4831 to speak with you and find the right attorney for you. Don’t risk losing your license automatically – call today!