Driver’s License Compact

Every state has their own laws and regulations when it comes to getting and keeping a driver’s license. You may be under the impression that if you got a ticket or were arrested for a driving violation in one state, it would not affect your driving record in another state. However, thanks to driver license compacts and interstate motor vehicle information sharing, losing your license in one state may mean losing the right to drive in all states.

California, along with almost 45 other states, are all parties to the Driver License Compact (DLC). The DLC began when a group of state governors decided they should share driving safety information in an effort to crack down dangerous driving. Under the DLC, driving violations such as reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI), and even some minor traffic violations are reported so that all member states are aware of a driver’s violation, wherever they occurred.

Currently, all states, including Washington D.C. are members of the DLC, with the exception of Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan and Tennessee. However, all states utilize the National Driver Register as a condition of federal funding.

The National Driver Register (NDR) is a database of information about drivers who have been convicted of serious driving violations, such as a DUI or vehicular manslaughter, as well as those who have had their license suspended or revoked. Every time a driver applies for a state driver’s license, the state will cross reference the NDR, and if the driver is found to be a problem driver, the state may deny a driver’s license.

Each jurisdiction reports a driving violation conviction. Data submitted to the NDR consists of personal identifying information, including name, address, sex, date of birth, driver’s license number, reporting state, and usually a social security number. The data exchanged usually goes back for a period of ten years.

Who Shall Not Be Licensed

Under the DLC procedures, motor vehicle departments generally will not issue a license to someone whose driving privilege is actively suspended or revoked due to a conviction for:

  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Vehicular negligent homicide;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident or failure to stop and render aid at a personal injury accident or fatal accident; or
  • A felony in which a motor vehicle was used.

Protecting Your Driving Privileges

It is not easy to get around without a driver’s license. California is definitely a car culture, and most people need a car to get to work, school, go grocery shopping, or drop children off at school. In other states, cars may also be a necessity where public transportation is impossible, especially in rural areas. One mistake shouldn’t  mean that you can’t get a driver’s license, especially when your mistake happened in a different state. If you got a DUI and are facing a suspended driver’s license, contact your DUI lawyer as soon as you can. He/she can represent you at the DMV hearing and criminal proceeding, even if you are out of state.