Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm is a highly competent law firm that operates in the Vista area and serves all of North County. This law firm is comprised of knowledgeable attorneys with highly rated proficiency in providing criminal defense in many cases. One of the areas they specialize in includes cases related to having an out of state drivers’ License. The attorneys have the ability to establish various legal defenses to convince the court or the California Department of Motor Vehicles to rule in your favor.

What is Out of State Driving License in California Laws?

There are certain regulations in California that govern out of state motorists. It is possible for an out of state driver to legally and freely drive in California provided they meet the following terms:

  • The driver holds a valid current driving license as per the state they come from,

  • The license legally allows them to drive the type of vehicle they are driving in California. This includes a truck or a motorcycle among others.

What are the Age Restrictions for Out Of State Licenses in California?

Out of state drivers who have attained the age of 18 (eighteen) and above can use an ‘out of state license’ to freely drive in California without any time restrictions. However, they must not be California residents and must have valid licenses according to their states of residence.

On the other hand, time restrictions are imposed for out of state drivers who have not attained the legal age of eighteen years. If the out of state driver is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years, he/she can only drive for not more than ten (10) days in California. This time limit, however, does not apply under the following conditions:

  • The minor has been offered a valid license by their residential state.

  • The minor possesses a minor’s non-resident certificate from California DMV.

  • The minor filed proof of financial responsibility in connection to the minor’s non-residential certificate.

Out of State DUI in California

Too often, drivers from outside California get arrested for driving under influence (DUI) in California. These arrests subject such drivers to some restrictions and criminal proceedings. Since California is a great tourism state, there are many visitors in the state and the laws are applicable to everyone including the tourists. One may face DUI charges in California if found having 0.08% or more of BAC (blood alcohol content). Such a person will face the charges regardless of their state of residence.

Effects of DUI Offense on Out of State Driver’s License in California

When arrested for DUI in California, the actions of the police will depend on whether you are a resident of California or out of state driver as follows:

  • If you reside in California, the arresting officers will take your driver’s license and confiscate it. You will be offered a temporary driver’s license valid for thirty (30) days before the actual suspension of your California driver’s license.

  • In case you are a driver from outside California, the arresting officers will notify you that there will be a thirty-day suspension of your driving privileges.

However, DUI defendants whose vehicles have got an IID (ignition interlock device) may be allowed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to continue driving during the suspension of their driving licenses. This is according to Senate Bill 1046 (2018) of California.

Upon the seizing of your driver’s license or getting a notification on the suspension of your driving privileges by the arresting officer, a notification is made to the DMV. One is given up to ten days since the arrest to challenge the suspension. This is done by filing a request for the California DMV hearing, of which can be handled by your DUI attorney. The right to file a hearing is available for both California defendants and out of state defendants. This is because there is a similar process for both kinds of defendants.

Once you have filed a hearing request, the suspension of the driver’s license or the driving privilege is delayed until the outcome of the DMV hearing, which may take some months to occur. If you fail to apply for DMV hearing request, your license or driving privileges suspension automatically takes place after 30 days.

What Must the Arresting Officer Show to obtain an Out of State License Suspension for a DUI offense?

During the DMV hearing, it is not necessary that one appears at the hearing, this is because an attorney can represent you at the hearing without your presence or it can be done telephonically. For the suspension to take effect, the following are the facts that the arresting officer must show, though not necessarily beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the officer had the reason to believe that you were driving under influence,

  • That the arrest was done lawfully, and

  • That the blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than 0.08% during the arrest.

In case you win the DMV hearing, there will be no effect at all on your driving rights. On the other hand, losing the hearing leads to the suspension of your driving privileges. The duration of the suspension depends on the number of previous DUI convictions in California, but generally, a first conviction attracts a four (4) months license suspension, that can be fortunately converted to a restricted license after serving the first month of the suspension. This can allow you to continue driving but just to DUI classes, to work, to school and back home.

Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC)

California is one of the member states of the IDLC. This compact covers all the states except Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. This compact is used by the member states in U.S. to share and exchange communications on matters related to traffic violations as well as suspension of the licenses for the out of state traffic offenders. The compact requires each driver to hold a single license, as well as a single record for driving. IDLC member states give notifications to each other on arrests related to driving, including arrests for DUI. Consequently, if you get a DUI arrest in California, you may suffer punishment at your home state. These actions vary from one home state to another.

In some states, for instance, action will be taken upon the suspension of your license by the California DMV. In other states, an action will be taken once you face an offense conviction. Some other states will impose DMV penalties on you as if the conviction took place at home state while other states may only penalize you if their statutes concerning DUI are similar to those of California.

Courts in California and the Out of State License

In California, one must be involved in the DUI court proceedings even if you won the California DMV hearing, lost the hearing, or even if you never requested for the hearing. Apart from the hearing, separate action is taken by the superior court in California. These court proceedings cannot be done over the phone as it is the case with the DMV hearing. However, some situations may allow the DUI attorney to appear in the court on behalf of the defendant.

In case you are facing misdemeanor DUI in California, you can choose to have a DUI attorney and forego the right to be present while the attorney seeks for evidence, bargains with the prosecutor or represents you in the court.

People who decide to take their cases for trial give the judge a chance to determine whether you should appear in the court or not. It is, however, recommendable that you appear for your DUI case trial because there is a likelihood that the jury will convict you if they have not seen you at the trial.

In case you successfully get the charges dismissed or reduced, the home state you come from may also dismiss the penalties against you. On the other hand, once convicted of DUI in California, you serve a sentence in California and get a suspension of your driving privileges. You may also face similar restrictions or other forms of punishment from your home state.

Once an action has been taken against your license by the home state, the action may not be dealt with before you complete your DUI obligations in California. Such obligations include completing a DUI school in California or payment of fines.

After completing these obligations, you need to get into contact with the California DMV to get your driving privileges reinstated. This may lead to the lifting of any penalties placed on your license by the home state. You should avoid driving in California if your driver’s license has any restrictions, for this attracts additional charges such as Driving on Suspended License as specified under the Vehicle Code 14601. Such offenses are treated as priorable crimes in California, with each conviction attracting an automatic increase of jail time or fines. The home state will also be notified of such convictions under the Interstate Driver’s license Compact.

The Driver License Agreement (DLA)

The Driver License Agreement is a program aimed at replacing the IDLC. This agreement is expected to come with even tougher penalties and restrictions as compared to the IDLC. For instance, some states will have to impose a license suspension for out of state drivers even if such states do not have similar statutes on license suspension, which does not happen with the Interstate driver license compact.

What are the Penalties For Out Of State DUI in California?

According to section 23152 of the Vehicle Code in California, it illegal for any driver to be found driving a motor vehicle with 0.08% and above in blood alcohol concentration. Such drivers may, therefore, be charged with driving under the influence. Such charges may attract several restrictions on one’s driver’s license as well as other penalties. Out of state, DUI offenders do face the same restrictions and penalties as California residents and the penalties, however, vary with the severity as well as the specific circumstances surrounding the DUI offense. The following are some of the penalties for DUI offense in California:

First offense (misdemeanor) - The penalties for the first DUI offense includes a jail term of not less than six (6) months, fines of $390-$1000, suspension of the driver’s license for 4 (four) to 6 (six) months or DUI school for up to 3 (three) to 9 (nine) months.

Second offense (misdemeanor) - The second offense may lead to a county jail term of 4 (four) days to 1 (one) year. You may also face a fine of $390 to $1000, 2 (two) years of driver’s license suspension or drive for one year with an IDD. One will also complete a DUI school for 18 (eighteen) or 30 (thirty) months.

Third offense (misdemeanor) - A jail term in a county jail for 120 (one hundred and twenty) days to 1 (one) year, fines of $390 to $1000, 3 (three) years of driver’s license suspension or 2 (two) years of driving with an IDD and DUI school for 30 (thirty) months.

DUI with injury (misdemeanor) - This may attract a jail term in a county jail for 5 (five) days to 1 (one) year, fines of $ 390-1000 in addition to restituting the injured parties, 1 (one) to 3 (three) years of driver’s license suspension or driving for 6 months with an IDD and a DUI school of 3 (three), 18 (eighteen) or 30 (thirty) months.

First DUI offense with injury (felony) - This may lead to a state prison jail term of 16 (sixteen) months to 16 (sixteen) years, a fine of $1015-5000 in addition to restituting the injured parties, 1 (one) year of driver’s license suspension or driving with an IDD for 6 (six) months and completing a DUI school for 30 0r 18 months.

Felony DUI - This may result in a jail term in state prison for 16 (sixteen) months, 2 (two) or 3 (three) years. A fine of $390-1000, suspension of the driver’s licensed for up to 5 years, and completing a DUI school for thirty (30) or eighteen (18) months.

Legal Defenses For Out Of State DUI Charges in California

The following are some of the legal defenses that you or your attorney may establish to fight out of state DUI charges.

  • Bad Driving is Not Equal to Driving Under the Influence

    You may challenge the prosecution by raising an argument that you only drove poorly but you were not driving under the influence. The prosecuting officers often focus on your driving pattern, which may include driving at a high speed or weaving on the road. The attorney may argue that the driving pattern may not be enough evidence for DUI since most of the other traffic offenses are involved with very sober drivers

  • The High BAC Level was as a Result of ‘Mouth Alcohol’

    One may base the DUI defense on the grounds of false high BAC levels. This may be applied in case the defendant was charged d for exceeding the BAC percentage of 0.08. An arresting officer must keep checking you 15 minutes before issuing a DUI breath test. This ensures that you do not put any alcoholic substance in the mouth before the test. Such substances include medicine, alcohol or mouthwash among others. You must also not regurgitate, belch or burp. These actions may bring about residual alcohol in the mouth from the stomach. This may lead to falsely high levels of BAC. If the officer does not follow these steps or fail to observe the time, the BAC results may not be accurate and cannot be used as evidence against you.

  • The Arresting Officers Failed to Follow the Right Arresting Procedures

    If the arresting officers failed to follow the appropriate procedures during the arrest, it can be used as a strong defense against the California Vehicle Code 23152. One should be protected against police misconduct while drunken driving investigations are being conducted. In case the officers violate your rights during the arrest, your attorney may request for ‘suppression hearing’ (PC1538 Hearing). This hearing may exclude inappropriately collected evidence, or give the lawyer an opportunity to persuade for the dropping of the charges by the prosecution.

  • The Officer did not Follow the Title 17 Regulations on Breath and Blood Testing

    The California title 17 code of regulations gives a direction on how to conduct the DUI blood and Breath tests. These regulations include: observing a 15-minute period before conducting the test administering the tests properly, the persons conducting the chemical tests must be well trained, an appropriate collection of blood, handling and storing and regular maintenance and calibration of the testing equipment. Failure to observe these regulations may lead to biased results, which an attorney can use to establish a defense.

Finding a DUI Attorney Near Me

When you or someone close to you gets charged with out of state DUI in California, it is always advisable that you seek help from an attorney with great knowledge and experience in matters related to such charges. Our attorneys are able to establish many legal defenses to possibly avoid your conviction. Once convicted with DUI in California, you may find yourself in a difficult situation facing license restrictions and jail terms or fines. However, there is no need to worry since Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm has got you covered. Our attorneys are highly reputable and have a long time experience in out of state DUI cases. If you need help, do not hesitate to call us at 760-691-1540 to speak to one of our attorneys.