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Lose Your Texas Driver License for a DWI in Another State?

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Updated: Feb 14, 2023 @ 6:46 pm

Many Texans drive out of state to meet family or friends, or they rent a vehicle while on vacation. Did you know that if you are arrested for DWI in a different state then you can suffer penalties back home in Texas? It’s true.

Texas and 45 other states have joined the Driver License Compact Commission. The members of this compact have agreed to share information about traffic violations, including DWI, with each other. This means that if you are arrested for DWI in a different state, they can notify Texas about the arrest. Texas can then take action against you.

What States Participate in the Compact?

The only states which haven’t joined are Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Of course, they can still enter your arrest or conviction into a motor vehicle database, which means Texas can find out about it eventually. But if you get arrested for DWI in any of the other states, then reporting is automatic.

Will Your Texas License be Suspended?

Yes. States which participate in the compact have agreed to suspend the license of any resident driver who is arrested for DWI or a similar offense in a different state.

Texas will automatically suspend your license after a DWI arrest. This is an administrative suspension which doesn’t depend on you being convicted of the crime. There will be an administrative hearing in Texas which you should attend.

Why is this happening in Texas? It’s simple: Texas gave you a license, so it’s up to them to suspend it. Nevada or another state can’t do that, even if you are arrested for DWI in their state.

There’s a limitation, however. Texas can’t suspend your license if the crime you committed in a different state wouldn’t have been a DWI in Texas. As an example, some states have a lower BAC than we do, so an arrest in that state wouldn’t necessarily lead to a suspension of your license back home.

Will You Serve Time in Jail in Texas?

No. But you could end up serving time in the state where you were arrested. Each state has jurisdiction (meaning power) over crimes committed in their state. So if you are picked up for DWI in Vegas on vacation, Nevada might prosecute you. You’ll need to handle the criminal side of your DWI in Nevada. And if convicted, it’s possible you could do time in the state where you were arrested.

But the license suspension can happen in Texas, which is bad enough. You will no longer have a valid license to use. And if you get picked up for driving without a license, then you’ve committed another crime.

Do You Need Assistance from a Houston DWI Lawyer?

The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates has represented many men and women arrested for DWI. If you got picked up in a different state, we can handle the administrative portion in Texas. It’s possible to win an administrative hearing and keep your license, so please contact our law firm today to schedule a time to talk.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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