Being arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or operating under the influence (OUI) of drugs or alcohol can impact your life in many ways, such as temporarily taking away your license and requiring you to pay thousands of dollars in fines. If you were charged with a DUI while outside of Massachusetts, the ramifications of your arrest or conviction could follow you home. In some ways, an out-of-state DUI can be even more of a hassle than facing this charge in your home state of Massachusetts.
If you were visiting or driving through a state other than Massachusetts when you were arrested and charged with operating under the influence, your criminal record will follow you over state lines. A DUI on your record will not disappear when you go back home. You cannot pretend it never happened, ignore your court date and return to Massachusetts in the hopes that the criminal charge will go away. The charge will remain with you and must be properly dealt with – or else you risk having a warrant put out for your arrest.
An out-of-state DUI will impact you in both states – your home state and the state where you were arrested. The criminal charge will be entered against your criminal and driving records, as well as entered on the National Driver Register. Once you return to Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend or revoke your driver’s license. If you do not make it back to Massachusetts before your case goes to court, any marks against your driving privileges entered by another state will also be enforced in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, the courts will indefinitely suspend a driver’s license after receiving notice of an out-of-state DUI charge until the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle has been restored in the state or jurisdiction in charge of the DUI case. If a driver is convicted of a violation that is grounds for driver’s license suspension in Massachusetts while in a different state, the suspension period imposed will match the greater of either Massachusetts’ state law or the law in the jurisdiction where the arrest took place.
To make matters worse, if you get arrested for driving under the influence anywhere but your home state, you must return to the state where you were arrested for follow-up legal proceedings. This is the only way that the Registry of Motor Vehicles will restore your driving privileges in Massachusetts; the Commonwealth will wait until the state where you received the DUI reinstates your driving privileges. This can result in expensive traveling costs and significant inconvenience for you as a criminal defendant.
The state where you were arrested will have jurisdiction over your DUI case. This means that the drunk driving laws that you or your criminal defense lawyer must navigate are those in the state where you allegedly committed the crime. This could lead to different penalties for a DUI conviction than what you might face in Massachusetts. For this reason, it is important to hire a lawyer in the state where you got the DUI as well as a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts.
You may need to hire an attorney in both states due to the fact that an out-of-state DUI charge can impact you in both places. You will need a local lawyer in the state where you were arrested to help you collect evidence and combat the DUI charges, for example, using his or her knowledge of the state’s drunk driving laws. You need a lawyer in Massachusetts, however, to help you handle the consequences that you will face in your home state. An attorney in Massachusetts can help you handle DUI criminal consequences and protect your rights.