California sees an immense influx of out-of-state visitors every year. They come for tourism. They come for business. They come for any number of different reasons. While those visitors are here, they eat and drink. There is always the chance that having a little too much to drink before getting behind the wheel will result in a DUI.
As an out-of-state driver, getting a DUI in California can be even more stressful and frightening than getting one in your home state. What do you need to know? Do you need to hire a California attorney? What will the process look like? Will you lose your license? These are just a handful of the many questions you will need to answer.
Will You Lose Your License?
First, understand that as an out-of-state driver, California authorities cannot suspend or revoke your license. However, that’s not as beneficial as it might sound. You can still have your right to drive within the state of California suspended or revoked. And, if you are convicted of DUI, you can expect the government to notify the authorities in your home state. Once that happens, it’s entirely possible that your license will ultimately be suspended or revoked.
The arresting officer will notify you that your right to drive in the state will be suspended within 30 days according to the same process that applies to California residents. You have ten days to notify the California DMV (not your home state’s DMV) and request a hearing.
The Court Case
In addition to your DMV hearing, you will have a court case in California’s Supreme Court. All verdicts must be completed in California. For instance, you might be required to attend an alcohol awareness program, and that verdict must be completed within a California-based program. You’ll also have to pay fines in California.
If your right to drive in California is suspended and you do nothing about the DMV hearing, you face serious hurdles. First, if you’re caught driving in the state with a suspended driving privilege, you face additional charges which are priorable, meaning that they add to your existing charges and fines. You also face the prospect of having your license in your home state suspended or revoked. It is highly advised that you attend the DMV hearing or hire a California attorney to attend in your place.
The ramifications of an interstate DUI are greater than the ramifications if a California resident is charged with DUI. Most states are part of what’s called the Interstate Drivers License Compact (DLC). The DLC contains all but five states, and the premise is that every driver has only a single license and a single driving record. That means that your home state can take action against you for a conviction in California. This can include suspension or revocation of your license, which will be further complicated if you also have a DUI conviction in your home state.
Is a Lawyer Necessary?
The short answer is yes. An out-of-state driver facing DUI charges in California needs an expert DUI attorney on his or her side. Specifically, you need to work with a licensed California DUI attorney. You should never trust an out-of-state attorney, as the laws governing driving under the influence vary between states, and an out-of-state attorney will not have the knowledge or experience necessary.
Out-of-state drivers facing DUI charges in southern California should contact Joshua Price of Defending Rights Law Center, the most experienced DUI attorney in San Diego and the surrounding area. Call 619-846-2235?, chat with our support staff, or fill our our contact form and Mr. Price will contact you promptly.