What happens if you’re an out of state driver and you get arrested for a DUI in California?

So, you came here to San Diego to visit and you get a DUI, but you don’t live in California.

What do you do? Does that scenario sound familiar to you?

Well, let’s talk a little bit about what happens if you’re an out-of-state driver and you get arrested for a DUI here in the state of California.

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The first thing that you’re probably thinking is, “oh man, I can’t afford to fly out here every time I have my court dates,” and, “is this going to require me to spend all my money to come out here and face the judge?” Luckily, the short answer is no.

The great thing is that if you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI and you’re an out-of-state driver, you can hire a private attorney so that you don’t even have to go before the court. What that means is, here in the state of California, your private attorney can go to court for you and appear in front of the judge on your behalf.

So, if you’re concerned about how expensive it’s going to be for you to come out here every time you have a court date, you don’t have to worry about that.

Again, if you’re facing a misdemeanor DUI, as long as your private attorney can appear for you, then there’s no requirement that you have to appear in front of the judge.

Another common question I get is, “well, I don’t even have a California driver’s license. I have an out-of-state driver’s license. How will that affect my license in another state?” Well, the short answer is that California may still have jurisdiction over you even if you have an out-of-state license.

What do I mean by that?

Typically in our country, there are other states that have an interstate compact regarding the driver’s license between California and other states. So what that means is that if your license gets suspended in California, California may notify your home state. And oftentimes, your home state may choose to honor the suspension that’s been provided by California.

What that means is that even if you don’t live in California, if your license gets suspended in California, then your license may also be suspended in your home state. So that’s why it’s very important that you make sure to schedule your DMV hearing after you get arrested for a DUI.

You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to schedule a DMV hearing, or what’s called an “administrative per hearing,” because if you don’t, then your license will automatically suspend 30 days after the date of the arrest. So it’s really important that you are mindful of that deadline and schedule that DMV hearing within that 10 day period. And if you end up working with my firm or another attorney, your attorney will likely be able to schedule that hearing for you.

You might also be asking yourself, “well, do the same legal defenses apply even if I don’t have a California driver’s license? And the short answer is yes, the same legal defenses will apply.

So that’s why it’s that much more important that you hire an experienced criminal defense firm, whether it’s my firm or another firm, that can help guide you, especially if you’re not here in state and you need that guidance to go through the procedures and the criminal justice system.

We get a lot of phone calls from potential clients that might be in the same situation as you, whether it’s coming to San Diego for a work or business trip or coming to San Diego just for leisure.

And if you do happen to get a DUI, don’t worry. We would be more than happy to sit down with you to discuss your options during a legal consultation. So when you’re ready, please make sure to pick up the phone and give us a call.