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Nevada Residents Charged with DUI in California

15 freeway to Las VegasDrivers crossing from Nevada into California or back on Highway 15 might be looking forward to a great weekend or a long vacation, but this is one of the most common stretches of roadway for people to get tickets. Any good time can come to an abrupt end if a Nevada resident is pulled over for DUI, drug possession or another criminal offense in California.

Seeing the red and blue lights flashing behind you is never a welcome situation on the roads, but the stakes are different for those with a Nevada driver’s license who are pulled over or arrested in California. Understanding what information transfers back home and how it impacts you can enable you to make an informed decision about how to handle a traffic citation and serious driving-related offenses like DUI.

Do Nevada Drivers Have to Pay California Tickets?

Yes. California and Nevada are both part of the Driver’s License Compact. This interstate agreement ensures that both states share information with one another through relevant motor vehicle department databases. As such, any traffic conviction that takes place in California will be reported to Nevada and can end up on your driving record. This is particularly true of Nevada drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana while in California.

What Happens if A Nevada Driver Ignores a California DUI Charge?

The worst thing you can do after picking up a citation or traffic ticket in California—especially a DUI for marijuana or alcohol—is to ignore the situation. As mentioned, California will report the charge to Nevada. Failing to respond to it can result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, a warrant for your arrest can be issued. Your best opportunity to handle these allegations is to share the exact details of the circumstance in which you received the charge with an attorney as soon as possible.

Fines and Penalties for Alcohol or Marijuana DUI in California

Nevada does not add demerit points to a driver’s record for out-of-state citations. However, when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol, points are the least concern. A California DUI carries a number of serious penalties that Nevada drivers will have to face. This includes:

  • Fines and fees. A conviction for a DUI in California can cost thousands of dollars. The fine alone can cost up to $1,000. Then there are other potential fees for things such as booking and fingerprinting, vehicle towing and impounding, and a mandatory contribution to the victim restitution fund. All these can add hundreds of dollars to the total cost.
  • Jail time. A first DUI conviction in California is categorized as a misdemeanor in most cases. Jail sentences can range from 48 hours to six months, in addition to probation.
  • License suspension. While California cannot suspend a Nevada license, it can suspend the right to drive in within the state. This suspension will be noted on your Nevada driving record, will show up in background checks, and can affect one’s auto insurance.
  • Auto insurance increases. In addition to the fines and other penalties associated with a California DUI, a Nevada driver’s auto insurance premiums can go up—way up! A DUI conviction classifies the driver as “high risk.” National averages show that a DUI can increase car insurance premiums by as much as 94 percent.
  • Criminal record. Generally, a first offense for DUI is a misdemeanor offense in California. Thus, a Nevada driver convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol in California will end up with a permanent criminal record. Regardless of what state you live in, this can have a long-lasting impact on your life. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, apply for housing, get into college or grad school, or receive financial aid. It can even affect your immigration status.

What Happens After Being Arrested for DUI in California?

arrestedWhere you live determines what happens when you are pulled over for a DUI in California. A California resident will have his or her license taken immediately and be given a temporary one for 30 days, at which point a suspension becomes active.

Residents of Nevada or any other state, however, will receive a notice from the arresting officer that their privilege to drive in the state of California is suspended at the conclusion of 30 days. Choosing to challenge that suspension is up to you, but the California DMV is told of this suspension right away and you only have 10 days to challenge.

Even though you hold a Nevada license, you must request a hearing with the California DMV. No matter what state you live in, you have the eligibility to request a hearing. If you do take action to challenge, the license suspension is paused until that hearing is concluded.

Nevada residents arrested in CaliforniaDo Nevada Drivers Have to Return to California to Fight a DUI Charge?

As a Nevada resident, you probably don’t have the time or means to appear at a hearing in California. Too many people who could benefit from challenging the suspension choose to skip this step because of the inconvenience, but this is a big mistake. Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox are highly experienced California DUI defense attorneys serving San Bernardino & Riverside Counties. Our representation can allow you to stay at home while our lawyer attends the hearing for you.

What Should Nevada Drivers Do About a California DUI?

Pleading “guilty” to a California DUI charge without first consulting with an attorney is rarely in the best interest of any driver, as it can result in jail time, huge insurance increases, and a criminal record. Even for a Nevada resident who assumes that it’s too much of a hassle to fight the charge, it’s better to speak with a lawyer regarding options as soon as possible. Our attorneys can represent your best interests in court in California or negotiate other resolution options. Pleading “not guilty” will likely lead to a court trial in front of a judge. However, every case strategy is dependent on the circumstances, which is why it’s critical to discuss the details of your matter with us today.

Call Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox today at 909-798-3300 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We have over 200 years of combined experienced handling criminal defense charges in California courtrooms, and Partner Stephen Levine is a California Bar Certified Criminal Defense Specialist. When you call us, you are putting your future in experienced and capable hands. See our most recent matter involving an out of state client. Call us now to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in California.


out of state DUI testimonial

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.