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Out-of-state DUIs and your driver's license

Unlike other areas of the country, Florida's tourist population does not depend on the calendar. Indeed, our year-round warm weather coupled with our beaches, theme parks, golf courses and endless attractions, means the Sunshine State always sees a steady supply of tourists.

Of course, with this large tourist population comes more arrests, as people sometimes let their freedom get the best of them. In particular, a large number of tourists are arrested for driving under the influence here in Florida every year, a phenomenon that is perhaps not altogether surprising given the central role that alcohol can play while on vacation.

All this, of course, begs the question as to what happens when a tourist is arrested for a DUI here in Florida and eventually travels back to their home state.

When it comes to the matter of their driver's license suspension, it's important for people to be aware of something known as the Driver License Compact (DLC).

The DLC is essentially an agreement among 45 states and the District of Columbia that information concerning both traffic violations committed by and license suspensions handed down to non-residents will be exchanged. The five states that are not parties to the DLC include Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

By way of example, consider a Minnesota tourist who is arrested, charged and convicted of driving under the influence in Florida. As part of his sentence for a first-offense DUI, his license is suspended for the statutory minimum of 180 days.

Thanks to the DLC, officials in Florida will notify officials in Minnesota about his DUI conviction and subsequent license suspension, meaning officials there will also likely suspend his license and even hand down additional penalties in keeping with applicable state law.

What all of this really serves to highlight is that an arrest for driving under the influence can prove to be an incredibly complex matter for non-residents, perhaps necessitating the services of a skilled legal professional not just in their home state, but also here in the Sunshine State.  

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