Which States Ignore Out-of-State DUIs?

When drivers face DUI charges, the stakes are high, and the implications can extend far beyond state borders. Out-of-state DUIs pose unique challenges, as convictions in one state can impact driving privileges across the country. The Driver License Compact (DLC) plays a pivotal role in this process by ensuring member states share conviction information. It’s essential for drivers to understand which states that don’t count out-of-state DUIs — knowledge that could significantly influence legal strategy and outcomes.

Which States Ignore Out-of-State DUIs?

A handful of states stand out for their approach to handling DUI convictions from elsewhere, either due to legal nuances or policy choices. These exceptions to the DLC’s cooperative framework underscore the complexity of DUI law and the importance of nuanced legal support.

States That Don’t Count Out-of-State DUIs

While adherence to the Driver License Compact (DLC) is common, certain states have chosen a different path when it comes to recognizing out-of-state DUI convictions. These states maintain unique policies and legal standards that set them apart from the DLC agreement.


Wisconsin does not participate in the DLC, which means that a DUI conviction in another state may not necessarily impact a driver’s record in Wisconsin. However, this non-recognition policy has its limits:

  • Legal Residency: If a driver becomes a Wisconsin resident, the state may consider past DUI offenses during the licensing process.
  • Repeat Offenses: Should an individual commit a DUI within Wisconsin’s borders after an out-of-state incident, courts can take the prior conviction into account when determining penalties.


Michigan, although not a member of the DLC, has its own approach to handling out-of-state DUIs:

  • Selective Recognition: Michigan will acknowledge an out-of-state DUI if it equates to an offense that also exists in Michigan law.
  • Insurance Ramifications: Auto insurance providers in Michigan may independently consider out-of-state DUIs when assessing rates and coverage.


In Tennessee, drivers might notice a distinct separation between in-state and out-of-state DUI convictions:

  • State Sovereignty: Tennessee upholds its right to enforce its laws independently of other states’ actions.
  • Driver’s License Impact: The state does not automatically revoke or suspend a local license due to an out-of-state DUI unless required by Tennessee law or court order.


Georgia stands firm in its stance on out-of-state DUIs with specific guidelines:

  • Policy Nuances: Only particular types of traffic violations from other states affect a Georgia driver’s record.
  • DUI Exceptions: A conviction for DUI outside of Georgia may not automatically be added to a Georgian’s driving history unless it corresponds with Georgia statutes.


Lastly, Massachusetts presents its unique perspective on managing out-of-state DUI implications:

  • Legal Framework: Massachusetts evaluates each case based on its merits and how closely it aligns with state law before deciding on recognition.
  • Circumstantial Consideration: Factors such as legal representation and nuances in the offense details can influence whether an out-of-state DUI is acknowledged by Massachusetts authorities.

These distinct policies underscore why drivers should remain informed about varying state laws concerning DUI offenses. While one state may disregard an out-of-state infraction, others may impose stringent penalties or use the conviction as a factor in future legal proceedings within their jurisdiction. Each state’s approach reflects a blend of sovereignty over their legal processes and priorities regarding public safety.

For individuals facing the complexities of navigating these diverse legal landscapes after receiving an out-of-state DUI charge, consulting with experienced legal counsel such as a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is invaluable. They offer expertise in interpreting multi-jurisdictional laws and crafting defense strategies that respect client rights while addressing cross-border legal concerns.

The Impact on Drivers: Understanding the Driver License Compact (DLC)

The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an agreement among 45 states that improves road safety and legal accountability when it comes to driving offenses committed across state borders. It serves as a way for states to share information about drivers and hold them responsible for violations they commit outside of their home state.

Key Functions of the DLC

Here’s how the DLC works to achieve its goals:

  1. Information Sharing: Member states are required to report traffic violations of non-residents to the state where the driver is licensed. This ensures that a driver’s record includes all their infractions, no matter where they occurred.
  2. Uniformity in Treatment: The DLC aims to treat out-of-state offenses as if they were committed in the driver’s home state. This means that violations like DUIs are handled in a consistent manner, regardless of where they happened.

DUI Arrests and Convictions under the DLC

The DLC has a significant impact on DUI cases. Here’s what happens when a driver gets arrested or convicted of a DUI in another member state:

  1. Recognition Across Borders: If a driver from a DLC member state is found guilty of a DUI in another member state, their home state will be notified. As a result, their home state can take action and impose penalties as if the offense had happened there.
  2. Consistent Penalties: This reciprocity helps prevent drivers from evading consequences by crossing state lines. It allows for similar punishments such as license suspension or mandatory participation in educational programs to be applied across different jurisdictions.

Exceptions and Limitations

While the DLC is comprehensive in its coverage, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Non-Member States: Five states – Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts – do not participate in the DLC. As a result, DUI convictions from these states may not automatically be reported to or have an impact on a driver’s record in their home state.
  2. Variations in Enforcement: Even though member states agree to share information, the specific actions taken when they receive notice of an out-of-state DUI can vary. This is because each state has its own set of laws and regulations regarding DUI offenses.

The DLC plays a crucial role in promoting public safety and ensuring that driving infractions are dealt with consistently. It’s important for drivers to understand that their actions on the road can have consequences beyond just the state they’re in at the moment – they can also affect their driving privileges in other states.

Key Takeaways for Drivers

Navigating the legal landscape of out-of-state DUIs and the DLC can be complex. Remember these crucial points:

  • Your DUI conviction will likely follow you across state lines due to the Driver License Compact (DLC).
  • The states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts are exceptions to this rule.
  • California, a DLC member state, treats out-of-state DUIs as local convictions.
  • Consequences of DUIs can be severe, ranging from felony charges to long license suspensions.

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