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Does my Florida DUI affect my out-of-state license?

With the brutal cold up north, ice storms and blizzards, no one can blame you for wanting to escape to the beautiful warmth of Tampa. In fact, you are among thousands who travel south during the harsh winter months of the north, and few are disappointed with what Florida has to offer winter-weary visitors.

Unfortunately, the warmth and relaxation of the climate here in Florida often creates an urgency for guests to cram as much vacation into their visit as possible. This may mean partying, and such parties may end with someone getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Because Florida is a popular destination for vacationers, law enforcement is serious in its handling of drunk drivers. Not only that, but your home state may have something to say about your arrest.

What is the Driver License Agreement?

Across the country, 45 states have joined in a compact to share information about traffic violations that natives of one state commit in another. Many of those states that do not belong to the compact have their own systems for sharing information with other states.

That means that the details of your Florida DUI conviction will become available to authorities in your home state, if that state is part of the compact. This includes your arrest record, BAC level and other information. In fact, while the compact's original intent was to share only serious driving infractions, it now includes all moving violations. This may impact you in several ways, including:

  • If your DUI conviction in Florida results in a license suspension, your home state will suspend your license if it is a compact state.
  • If you are subsequently arrested for DUI in your home state after a conviction in Florida, your home state will consider their arrest of you a second offense.
  • If your home state uses a point system for driving records, they will assess the appropriate points for the violation of which a Florida court convicts you.
  • If Florida assesses a fine for a moving violation, your home state may suspend your license and add points to your driving record if you fail to pay that fine.

You can see that the saying, "What happens on vacation stays on vacation" is just not true when it comes to drunk driving. A conviction for DUI will follow you home and well into your future. This is why it is important to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after your DUI arrest.

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