Motorists arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in California with out-of-state driver’s licenses face specific issues that may complicate their cases. DUI arrest may jeopardize the driver’s driving privileges in his or her licensing state. A California criminal defense lawyer who concentrates on drunk driving defense can protect an individual’s driving privileges both in California and in the state that issued the license.
A driver’s license is the property of the state that issued it. When a driver licensed in California is arrested for DUI within the state, the arresting officer will take the license and issue a temporary document that holds off an automatic license suspension for 30 days. After 30 days the driver’s license will be suspended.
However, if the driver has a license issued out of state, the police officer cannot take the license. The officer will issue the same temporary license, and a summary suspension of the driver’s California driving privileges will be held off for 30 days.
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The driver must request a California DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing within 10 days of arrest, or risk losing driving privileges after 30 days. If the driver doesn’t have a successful hearing outcome, or doesn’t request a hearing at all, the DMV will notify the driver’s home state, and that state may suspend the license. An experienced California DUI defense attorney will develop an aggressive strategy to fight an Administrative Per Se (APS) action at the California DMV.
If the driver loses at the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing, or doesn't request one, the California DMV will notify the driver's home state of its actions, and that state may suspend the license.
Distinguishing between a driver’s license and a driving privilege makes it easier to understand why a motorist can lose his or her driving privileges whether or not police seize out of state driver's licenses. Possession of a driver’s license is only a presumption that the individual has a valid privilege to drive in the state. If the driver’s privilege is suspended, the license is useless.
Whether the driver's licensing state is a party to the Interstate Driver's License Compact (IDLC) will determine how the arrest affects the status of his or her license. The IDLC is an agreement between 45 states to communicate about driving-related crimes, including Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Only Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Michigan are not part of the Interstate Driver's License Compact. All of the other states have agreed to notify the others of a DUI conviction.
Any out of state drivers arrested for a DUI in California may believe that the arrest cannot threaten their driving privileges, but that's not the case. A California DUI defense lawyer in San Francisco experienced in representing DUI defendants at The California DMV hearings can prepare a defense to help accused drunk drivers prevail at the Administrative Per Se (APS) hearings, and work to minimize the consequences for out-of-state drivers.
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