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How Does Being Arrested in Another State Impact My Alabama Driver’s License?

If you’re arrested in Alabama, you may have a pretty good idea of what to expect. And even if you don’t, consulting with an Alabama criminal defense lawyer who can explain the charges to you, the potential consequences you’re facing, and what your defense options are will give you a better understanding.

But what happens if you’re arrested in another state? How will your Alabama driver’s license be impacted? Who will represent you? Will you need to return to the other state for your trial? These are all valid questions. Here’s a look at what you need to know about being arrested in another state, with a specific focus on how an arrest in another state can impact your Alabama driver’s license.

Driver License Compact

While you may have been arrested in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, or another state, chances are you’ll be penalized in Alabama. This is because Alabama is part of the Driver License Compact, an interstate compact with the theme, “One Driver, One License, One Record.”

Per the compact, the home state (in this case, Alabama) treats the offense as though it had been committed at home, even though it was actually committed in another state. As such, home state laws are applied to the out-of-state offense. The Driver License Compact encourages states to cooperate and share information about all traffic and moving violations, such as driving under the influence (DUI)/driving while impaired (DWI) offenses. (As a note, non-moving violations, such as parking tickets, are not meant to be shared).

Per the compact, actions taken by the home state might include, but are not limited to, suspension of a license, fines or fees, points assessed against a driver’s record, and more. Note that because, as stated above, the home state is supposed to treat the violation as if it occurred in that state, the consequences imposed may be more or less severe than the consequences that would be imposed in the state where the offense was actually committed.

Further, note also that there are some states that do not participate in the Driver License Compact, including our neighbors right next door in Georgia. That being said, if your driver’s license is suspended in Georgia, it is very likely that Alabama will still find out about this and take action.

Is a Driver’s License Suspension Inevitable?

Being arrested in itself does not automatically result in a license suspension unless you are arrested for certain crimes. For example, in many states, failure to comply with implied consent laws (after a DUI arrest) will result in an automatic license suspension. But being arrested for a different crime, such as theft or assault, will likely not have an immediate effect on your driver’s license, and may not have an effect even if you’re convicted of the crime.

How to Deal with an Out-of-State Arrest

If you are arrested for a crime, whether a traffic crime or not, in another state, it’s important that you know how to deal with the charges you are facing. The first thing you should do is hire a local attorney who works in the jurisdiction in which you’re facing charges. Your attorney will be able to explain to you your rights and options, including where your case will be heard, whether your presence will be required, what the automatic consequences of your arrest are, whether or not you’ll face a license suspension or other penalties, how your home state may respond to the arrest, and more.

It is important to note that an arrest is not a conviction, and merely being arrested is not enough to result in penalties against you. You must be formally charged with a crime and, in order to be penalized, must be found guilty.

Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Learn More

The state of Alabama participates in the Driver License Compact and, therefore, if you are arrested in another state for a traffic or DUI offense, Alabama will likely prosecute the offense as if it had occurred in Alabama, which could very likely result in a driver’s license suspension. For other crimes, though, the state where the crime occurred will have jurisdiction, and working with a local lawyer will be necessary.

To learn more about being arrested, your rights, license suspension, and other elements of criminal law and what to do if you’re arrested and charged with a crime, call the office of Darley Law for a consultation. You can reach us online or by calling (251) 441-7772 today or messaging us through our web contact form.

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