Welcome to FindLaw's DUI Law series. If you have been charged with a DUI, know someone who has, or just want to know about the law and how to protect your rights during a DUI stop, please come back each week for more information.
You might've had the thought before: "Sure, I got a DUI once in North Carolina, but how are the cops in Arizona going to know?" Or you thought, "I just got a DUI on vacation in Florida, but I live in South Dakota so the ticket won't follow me home, right?"
Not so right there, chief. The Non-Resident Violator Compact is an interstate agreement covering 44 states and Washington D.C., allowing law enforcement to track and enforce traffic violations nationwide. So how does the NRVC work, and how might it affect your DUI case?
The NRVC was started by a few northern states in the 1970s and has grown to include almost the whole country. The compact is aimed at drivers ignoring tickets issued by states in which they don't reside. So say you're cited for speeding in Vermont but live in New Hampshire. If you choose not to respond to the ticket (i.e., you don't pay it), Vermont can notify authorities in New Hampshire and the state will suspend your driver's license until you takes care of the matter in Vermont.
The NRVC also focuses on moving violations, so some traffic infractions like registration, weight limit, and parking violations won't pop up on the compact's radar. DUI is not one of those offenses.
Generally speaking, if you commit a DUI in another member state, the compact will apply your home state's vehicle code to your out-of-state offense. So if you get convicted of DUI and have your license suspended in Hawaii, the Aloha State will inform your home state about your DUI conviction and license suspension. That means your home state will probably also suspend your license and may impose other penalties as well. The compact may also mean that out-of-state DUI convictions can be used as accumulated offenses, making your first DUI in Texas more like your second (or third).
If you've been charged with any DUI offense, out of state or at home, you're going to need a good attorney. Contact one in your area today.