Visiting out-of-state family or friends over the holidays gives you a chance to reconnect and relax – all while you celebrate the season.
What happens, however, if you celebrate a little too much and end up picking up a drunk driving charge in another state? Whether it’s an OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) in Ohio or DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Missouri, it’s all the same as a DUI (driving under the influence) in South Carolina.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a suspended license in one state can’t stop them from driving in another – but that would be a serious mistake.
The Driver License Compact controls what happens
South Carolina, like the vast majority of states, participates in the interstate Driver License Compact. The Compact operates under the maxim “One Driver, One License, One Record.” All of the participants (every state except Georgia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Tennessee) share information about driving records with each other. The goal, of course, is to make it harder for drivers to evade responsibility for their actions by crossing state lines.
In practical terms, that means whatever happens to your license in another state will more than likely follow you home. If your driver’s license is suspended in another Compact state for drunk driving, you will have to meet both the other state’s requirements to lift the suspension and South Carolina’s requirements. (The only real exception to that rule is when South Carlina doesn’t have an equivalent law on its books to the one in the other state that caused the suspension.)
This is something that you would need to consider carefully before you accept any kind of plea agreement to a DUI charge in another state. You won’t leave the criminal record or the cloud on your license behind when you cross the state lines, so make sure that you fully understand all your legal options.