Out of State Drunk Driving Convictions

If you are a Michigan license driver convicted of drunk driving in another state, then you may be wondering what will happen if you are convicted of drunk driving.

In order for Michigan to restrict or suspend your license, the Secretary of State must first learn of the out of state drunk driving conviction before any driver license sanction will be imposed. There are three systems for reporting suspensions.  The National Driver Registry (NDR) is a passive database to which suspensions are reported but not necessarily sent to the home state.  The Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) and the Driver License Compact (DLC) are law for reporting suspensions directly from one state to another.  It works this way.

If an adverse action such as a suspension or revocation occurs, including an administrative suspension, it is reported to the NDR by the state in which it occurs.  If it is an action for which there is no direct state reporting law, (such as some admin suspensions) that is the only place it is reported. The home state, however, does not automatically check the registry.  Usually it is only checked if some license action occurs in the home state such as renewal or a violation.  If they find it they will usually suspend, but it is not automatically found.  Various government agencies also check the NDR in some instances (FAA, USCG, etc.).

Upon a conviction resulting in a suspension, most states will report that suspension to both the home state pursuant to authorization under the DLC, and also to the NDR.  A client has to be sure to clear the suspension in every state in which one exists before the home state will reinstate because they check the NDR when reinstatement is sought.

The NRVC is a uniform set of laws for handling tickets and failures to appear from state to state.  When a person gets a ticket in another state and doesn’t appear, the suspension is reported to the home state under the NVRC, and to the NDR.  The home state then suspends until the other suspension is clear.

The difference is the suspensions that are not automatically reported to the home state.  Often you can let an admin suspension run in your state and the home state license remains active.  If you can then beat the charge in your state the client can clear the admin and the home state is none the wiser.  There are other permutations, but that is a common one.

As a general rule, it’s really just a matter of time before Michigan learns of the out-of-state conviction, and once they do, they will impose an appropriate sanction.  One way to avoid this is to show that the out of state drunk driving law is not substantially similar Michigan’s drunk driving law.

Call us if you’d like to discuss your out-of-state drunk driving case, learn how this might impact your Michigan driver license, and to learn also what we can do to avoid the sanction.