Alcohol, Key and Handcuffs

Do DUI Charges Transfer Between States?

Guilfoil Law Group Dec. 22, 2022

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) — or, as it’s called in Missouri, driving while intoxicated (DWI) — you may have a conviction in one state and then get stopped for drunken driving in another state and wonder whether the previous conviction will factor into your new case. In other words, will you face stiffer penalties for being a repeat offender? 

The answer in most cases is “yes,” but it really depends on the state where you commit the repeat offense. You may also wonder if your first offense, which occurred in a state where you no longer or never resided, will appear on your record in your new state. Again, the answer is yes, records do usually travel with you. 

Facing a DWI, whether a first or repeat offense, is stressful. If you worry about your DWI driving record from another state and how it might affect your current charge, contact me at the Guilfoil Law Group if you’re in or around Kansas City, Missouri. My practice is dedicated to helping those facing DWI charges. I will use my knowledge and experience to challenge every aspect of your charge, from the moment of your arrest to the evidence being submitted. 

I spend 20 hours each week studying the latest DWI cases, legal opinions, scientific literature, and articles on the subject in order to better represent the interests of my clients. In addition to Kansas City, I also proudly serve clients in Clay County, Platte County, and Jackson County.  

DWI Record Transfers From State to State 

DWI records and DWI cases can easily be transferred from one state to another, and it usually is. If you’re convicted of a DWI in one state, when you return to your home state or relocate to another state, your driving record will transfer with you. Likewise, if you skip town before facing a trial for a DWI, you could find your driving privileges suspended until you settle the out-of-state charge. 

One of these transfer mechanisms resides in an agreement known as The Driver License Compact. The theme of this compact is “One Driver, One License, One Record.” The Driver License Compact is an interstate agreement used to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and forward them to the state where they are licensed. In other words, violations are sent to their home state. 

The compact stretches all the way back to the 1960s, and as of 2022, 45 states and the District of Columbia were members. The only non-participants are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  

The other agreement is known as the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC), which is used by 44 states and the District of Columbia. States not participating are Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Under NRVC, if a motorist receives a citation in a state but skips out without paying the fine or appearing as summoned for a resolution of the violation, the home state will suspend the person’s driver’s license until he or she honors the citation obtained in the other state. 

Fighting a DWI Charge Issued in Another State 

Depending on your state’s agreement(s) with the issuing state, you may face the same charge and penalties at home as you would in the other state. If there is no reciprocity agreement, you might be able to fight the charge. You will need to consult with an experienced DWI attorney to determine your rights and how to exercise them.  

Tips When Moving to Another State After a DWI

Since your driving record will likely transfer with you, getting charged with another DWI can lead to even more serious consequences than the first offense that was committed elsewhere.  

The major tip, therefore, is to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you might get another DWI. With Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare programs available almost everywhere, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’re incapacitated. 

Remember, it doesn’t take many drinks – sometimes even one or two depending on your age or body type – to reach the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.02 percent, which can result in a per se DWI charge. A per se DWI generally will be difficult to challenge in court. Don’t chance it. 

Guilfoil Law Group: Trusted Legal Representation 

If you’re facing a DWI charge in or around Kansas City, Missouri, or if you’ve been charged or convicted of a DWI in another state and have questions and concerns about your legal liability, contact me immediately at the Guilfoil Law Group.  

In addition to defending clients, I have taught DWI courses. These courses have been to help inform lawyers, police, and other law enforcement officials throughout Kansas and Missouri. I am fully equipped to mount a skilled defense for you and to help you with any carryover issues from incidents outside of Missouri. Reach out today.