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DUI Charges in Washington State as an Out-of-State Resident

Comments Off on DUI Charges in Washington State as an Out-of-State Resident

Many people understand the implications of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in their home states—but if they receive a DUI while visiting another state, the process becomes more complex.

If you receive a DUI in Washington as an out-of-state resident, you could lose your Washington driving privileges and face penalties in your home state. In these situations, it is important to consult with a DUI defense attorney.

What Happens If I Get a DUI in Washington?

When you receive a DUI in a state outside of your own, the state will forward your charges to the state where you are licensed, known as the home state. The home state will then treat the DUI charge as if you had been arrested at home. As a result, your home state laws and penalties will apply to the case—not the state where the DUI occurred.

If you receive a DUI charge in Washington, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency.

  • First, the DOL will record the DUI charge on your Washington state driving record.
  • Next, the DOL will either suspend or revoke your driving privileges in Washington.
  • Finally, the DOL will forward a copy of the report to the state where you are licensed. Your home state will then take the appropriate action in accordance with state laws.

What Is the Interstate Driver’s License Compact?

In the past, jurisdictional issues prevented state agencies from communicating about driving offenses committed by their residents in another state. The Interstate Driver License Compact (DLC), a series of legislation that states use to exchange information about traffic violations, helped change this.

The DLC requires member states to exchange licensing information with others, including information about traffic violations that out-of-state residents commit. According to DLC legislation, the reporting state must inform the driver’s home state about the violation within 15 days of the conviction. The home state will then decide what action to take.

Most states in the country are members of the DLC. Although Nevada has repealed its official DLC legislation, the state continues to comply with DLC requirements. The following states are not members of the DLC.

  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • Wisconsin
  • Massachusetts

In addition, not all states apply the DLC in the same way. For example, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, and New York only apply the DLC for major violations, including DUIs. Some states retain the right to act on violations that occur in non-member states. If you are unsure how the DLC applies to your DUI case, speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Washington

If you are arrested for a DUI while visiting Washington, it is important to remain calm and comply with the arresting officer’s instructions. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your rights during the arrest.

  • Take the chemical test after the arrest. It is illegal to refuse these tests in Washington and doing so can result in additional penalties.
  • Remember, you have the right to remain silent and speak to an attorney. Do not speak to the police until you contact a criminal defense lawyer.
  • As soon as you reach the police station, contact a DUI attorney. Do not answer any questions until you speak with a lawyer.

The moments after a DUI arrest can feel overwhelming, especially if you are an out-of-state visitor. As soon as you can, contact a defense attorney to help you with your case. Your lawyer may also connect you with a DUI defense attorney in your home state.

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