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Many people who have been arrested for DUI want to know what will happen if they move to a new state despite having an active DUI case in the state they are leaving. An out-of-state move may have been planned months in advance and people are genuinely concerned about how the DUI will affect them.
When a person is arrested for a California DUI incident, there is typically an automatic driver’s license suspension issued administratively by the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as a criminal case that is filed in court. For drivers who were already planning on relocating, there may be a temptation to simply ignore the DUI and move on with their lives in the new state.
A first time DUI without injuries is generally a misdemeanor offense. This means that even if a warrant issued in California, it is not likely that California would extradite the defendant from another state if he or she is picked up on that warrant. However, a driver’s license suspension would remain in effect and the defendant would most likely be unable to obtain a driver’s license in his or her new state until the California case has been cleared up. In addition, the criminal charges and warrant could be found during any criminal background check performed by prospective employers or landlords in the new state.
For the majority of defendants on a first-time DUI in California, there would be no requirement to personally appear in court as long as an attorney appears on their behalf. This means that a defendant who has relocated to another state can have an attorney fight the DUI charges in court for them. The attorney would also be able to handle any administrative hearing regarding the driving privileges of the defendant with the California DMV and could have his or her client appear telephonically to participate in the hearing.
For clients who are ultimately convicted of a DUI offense in California but who no longer live in the state, there may be certain accommodations that the sentencing judge and prosecutor are willing to make. By law, anyone convicted of a DUI offense in California is required to complete a drug and alcohol education class. This class may be 12 hours or 3, 6, 9 or 18 months depending on the severity of the offense. If the defendant no longer lives in California, the judge may allow the defendant to take a similar alcohol education class offered for DUI offenders in their new state. Alternatively, the judge may allow the defendant to take one of the required California courses online. While the online course may satisfy the court’s requirements, the California DMV would not accept this if the defendant ever wants to have his or her California license reinstated.
There may be other requirements of probation that the judge would allow a defendant to serve outside of California if he or she has relocated. Mandatory community service hours, counseling and other potential probation requirements can usually be served in the defendant’s new home state.
In such a case, does the loss of license in the first state eventually affect the license in the other? Or would the community service and loss of license in the first state only be considered final judgment?