Out of State License

I have been consulted by a number of clients recently who have been arrested for a DUI while driving on an out of state license. Some have misunderstood their obligations in relation to the DMV in California and mistakenly believed that as they did not have a California license, they did not need to schedule a DMV hearing to avoid a DUI suspension.

It is important to understand that when arrested for a DUI in California, the suspects privilege to drive in California is at stake, even if that person has an out of state license. You can't drive lawfully in California on an out of state license, if your privilege to drive here is suspended. For this reason, it is important that the Driver Safety Office of the DMV be contacted within ten days of the arrest to request a stay of suspension and a DMV hearing to try and avoid the suspension for DUI.

The other issue of note is that many people come to California to work and assume that they can continue driving on their out of state license indefinitely. However, California law requires that anybody coming to California to live must apply for a California license within ten days of becoming a resident here. Ofcourse, if a persons permanent residence is in another state and that person is living and working in California temporarily, then there is no obligation to obtain a California license.

Courts often increase penalties for a DUI conviction if a defendant is driving without a California license. The path of least resistance is often to apply for and obtain a California license retroactively. Most judges would then dismiss the driving without a license charge.


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