If you are accused of drunk driving in California, the experience may seem overwhelming. It may be even more so if you are a California driver who is charged with doing so in another state.
When you are visiting in other states, you are required to follow all of the traffic laws of the state in which you are driving. If you are suspected of driving drunk while you are elsewhere, just the fact that you are from California will not stop a law enforcement officer from arresting you or a prosecutor from filing criminal charges against you there. Because of the congested nature of court dockets, it may take months between the time you are arrested and charged with drunk driving and your trial if you are unable to reach a plea agreement. For drivers in California who are charged with DUI in another state, it can be especially maddening to have to return there in order to deal with the criminal charges they are facing.
Getting an out-of-state lawyer
If your out-of-state drunk driving arrest did not happen following an injury accident or one involving death, you will likely be allowed to return to California while your case is pending. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your out-of-state charge will not follow you home, however. If you ignore your case because it happened in another state, you may face some severe legal consequences for doing so. It is vitally important that you address your charges even if they occurred elsewhere.
When you are suspected of driving under the influence in another state, it is important for you to contact a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced with drunk driving defense in the jurisdiction where it happened. Most of the time, your out-of-state attorney will be able to appear on your behalf in court without your needing to personally appear. This can make your case much easier to deal with since you won’t have to travel back to the state where your offense took place. Although Scott Henry is the leading DUI defense attorney in Riverside, San Bernadino and Orange County, he unfortunately can’t do much to help you with your out-of-state case. That is why it is so important that you retain an attorney who is local to wherever the charges against you were filed.
Out-of-state convictions for drunk driving and California
If you are convicted of drunk driving in a different state, that conviction may also be considered to be a conviction in California for purposes of determining whether a pending case here is your first, second, third or fourth offense. This means that even if your first offense happened in a different state and you are charged for the first time in California, you may still be considered to be a repeat offender in California. If this happens, you’ll need to get legal help in California for your charges here as well.
The Interstate Driver License Compact
A total of 44 states, including California, have signed onto an agreement called the Interstate Driver License Compact. This agreement allows your privilege to drive in California to be suspended if you are convicted of specified offenses, if you fail to pay specific fines or if you fail to appear in court for charges in any member state of the compact.
While being charged with drunk driving may be an unpleasant and frightening experience, a good criminal defense lawyer may help to minimize the negative impact the case could have on your life. If you are facing charges in southern California, call us. We are the leading DUI defense law firm in Riverside, San Bernadino and Orange County.