Driver's License Compact - Reciprocity With Other States

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http://www.shafferengle.com 717-692-2345 Criminal defense attorney Jeff Engle of the Harrisburg PA law firm, Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC talks about an unlawful entry case involving a mom coming to the aid of her 5 year old son.

"Will my license suspension or points received in another state other than Pennsylvania transfer to Pennsylvania?"

The simple answer to this question is, "It depends." Pennsylvania, along with many other states, have adopted the Driver's License Compact, a body of legislation that seeks to promote highway safety and traffic law obedience by out-of-state motorists by requiring the suspension or revocation of their driving privileges under the laws of their home states. Several requirements must be met, but in essence, your license could be in jeopardy in Pennsylvania if you are convicted of a traffic offense in another state.

At Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC, we seek to protect your driving privileges and your freedom. Contact our office in Harrisburg by calling 717-827-4074 or 866-765-0706 to discuss your defense options with one of our skilled lawyers.

How Does The Driver's License Compact Work?

To best understand how the Compact works, consider the plight of the Pennsylvania driver who is convicted of drunk driving in a Compact-member state. For purposes of imposing an suspension, Pennsylvania is required to treat the conduct reported as if it had occurred within the Commonwealth. The result is that the offender is treated as if he or she violated Pennsylvania's own DUI statute (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802).

The result could be "no suspension" if the violator has no prior offenses as defined by 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3806(b). A prior offense means his or her record shows:

  • A conviction
  • An adjudication of delinquency
  • A juvenile consent decree
  • Acceptance of accelerated rehabilitative disposition or other form of preliminary disposition for a violation under Section 3802, former 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731
  • A substantially similar offense in another state within 10 years before the present violation

Should the driver commit two additional major offenses within the requisite time period, that person will be deemed to be an habitual offender under Pennsylvania law and will suffer a five-year operating privilege revocation in accordance with 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1542.

States That Have Signed The Compact

In addition to Pennsylvania, the following jurisdictions are signatories to the Compact:

  • Alabama
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • South Carolina
  • Alaska
  • Indiana
  • Nebraska
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • New Mexico
  • Washington
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • West Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • North Carolina
  • Wyoming
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Idaho
  • Missouri
  • Oregon

Although both Rhode Island and South Dakota have enacted legislation authorizing entry into the Compact, neither state has formally adopted the Compact.

The Impact Of The Compact On Pennsylvania Citizens

In determining whether a reported offense in another state may properly serve as a basis for suspending a Pennsylvania licensee's driving privileges under the DUI statute, the other state's offense need only be "substantially similar" to the corresponding section of the vehicle code in order to mandate a suspension under the Compact.

However, in determining whether the Commonwealth can sanction a citizen pursuant to the Driver's License Compact for a substantially similar out-of-state conviction, the "substantial similarity" envisioned by the Compact does not call for a direct comparison of Pennsylvania's statute to the out-of-state statute, but rather requires determination of whether the two statutes are of a substantially similar nature to the Compact.

Thus, in determining substantial similarity for purposes of treating an out-of-state drunk driving conviction as a Pennsylvania conviction, the correct comparison is never between the blood alcohol levels described in the statutes, but between the description in the Driver's License Compact of drunk driving and the other state's law.

Learn More By Speaking To Our Attorneys

Our lawyers assist both Pennsylvania residents and out-of-state drivers navigate these and other complex laws regarding traffic violations. Contact our office in Harrisburg at 717-827-4074 or 866-765-0706 to discuss your case with us.