Lawyer For Out Of State Driver With Pennsylvania DUI

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You and your friends are visiting Philadelphia for the weekend. You’ve had a few drinks but you certainly don’t feel buzzed or intoxicated and you know that the hotel is only minutes away. As you are driving back, you realize you made a wrong turn and suddenly you are not sure where you are anymore. You decide to reach for your phone to turn on your navigation and while doing so you swerve your car slightly into the adjacent lane. The next thing you know you see flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror and your own personal nightmare has taken way. State and federal governments have taken a strong stance against drinking and driving and will seek to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent.

Every state has its own laws pertaining to Driving Under the Influence. However, these laws vary between states, and the effects on your license may be complicated if you are an out-of-state driver arrested for suspicion of DUI. If you are licensed outside of Pennsylvania and have been arrested and ticketed for DUI in the state, it is crucial that you retain a local DUI Defense Lawyer to handle your case, and advise you how a Pennsylvania DUI will affect your out-of-state license.

The Interstate Driver’s License Compact

Forty-six states are members of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (DLC). It is an agreement which is designed to maximize law enforcement efforts among the member states. The intent of the DLC is simply to ensure that a driver’s out-of-state offenses are recognized by their home state. Member states agree to uphold a number of provisions including:

  • Reporting of all traffic convictions and License Suspensions/revocations of out of state drivers to the home state licensing agency, as well as other appropriate information.
  • The assurance of uniform and predictable treatment of drivers, achieved by the treating of offenses committed in other states as though they have been committed in the home state.

With respect to DUI/DWI convictions, the DLC seeks to ensure that home states will honor the convictions of member states. PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of motor vehicles equivalent, will report to an out-of-state driver’s home DMV upon conviction, and it is likely that their home DMV will immediately comply by mailing an official notice of suspension with a date of suspension initiation enclosed. Even non-member states are likely to impose a suspension; they are simply not bound by all the provisions within the DLC.

With this agreement among states to enforce the DUI/DWI convictions of other states, it is essential that out-of-state drivers fight a Pennsylvania DUI if they wish to maintain their driving privileges in their home state.

How the DLC Affects Pennsylvanians

In Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth will honor the conviction of another state’s DUI. However, the legal standard of DUI’s in Pennsylvania is a factor. A DUI in Pennsylvania is a Criminal Offense, which is not the case with all states within the compact as many treat DUI as only a traffic offense. Therefore, Pennsylvania will not impose a suspension of a Pennsylvania resident’s driving privilege for a first DUI offense.

A second or subsequent DUI conviction will result in the loss of driving privileges, however. The state DMV will report the conviction to PennDOT, and PennDOT will mail the resident an official notice of suspension and the date it begins. Only upon surrender of the individual’s driver’s license will credit for the suspension begin.

However, it is likely that there will be an interim period between conviction in the member state and PennDOT receiving notice of the conviction. During this period, a Pennsylvania resident may continue to drive in Pennsylvania until he or she is notified by PennDOT of his or her Pennsylvania License Suspension.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Out-of-state residents need to hire a local Attorney to Defend a Pennsylvania DUI Charge. To protect their license in their home state, they must vigorously defend their license in Pennsylvania. Only a Pennsylvania barred attorney can defend a Pennsylvania charge, regardless of where you live.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.