You have probably heard the saying, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” However, thanks to states like Florida and Nevada participating in the DLC (Driver’s License Compact), that saying does not apply to traffic violations and convictions. So what happens to your Florida driver’s license when you are charged with a DUI or traffic offense in another state? Our Clearwater DUI attorneys explain how the DLC works and how it may affect your driving privileges in the state.

What Is the Driver’s License Compact and How Does It Work?

The DLC (Driver’s License Compact) allows traffic information and driving records to be accessed and exchanged throughout the country. States that choose to enter the DLC agree to disclose traffic violations, suspensions, license revocations, and other offenses to other member states and may treat an out-of-state violation committed by one of its residents as if it occurred within its borders.

Participating states can use the National Driver Register (NDR) to check for out-of-state convictions, and subscribe to the “one driver license theory”. This means that drivers from another state who become residents to a participating DLC state cannot carry two driver licenses and must surrender their out-of-state license.

Is Florida a Compact Driver’s License State?

Florida Statute 322.65 requires the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to enter agreements such as the DLC to access databases like the NDR. In other words, Florida as well as most of the 50 states are part of the Driver License Compact. The exceptions are Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. States such as Pennsylvania, New York, Nevada, Maryland, and Colorado only adhere to the compact for major traffic violations such as DUIs or significant motor vehicle felonies.

For the majority of DLC states, when a driver commits a traffic violation within state limits, the state where the violation occurred is required to post it to the National Driver Register. In practical terms, this means that if a Florida resident visiting Nevada received a ticket for a traffic violation resulting in points (for example), that ticket and the points received will be recorded on the NDR and the information will be available in Florida. The state of Florida can then take action and apply its own laws and penalties to the out-of-state offense.

Can I Get a Florida Driver’s License if I Am Suspended in My Home State?

The short answer to this common question is, in most cases, “no”. Before the National Driver Register was created, drivers with suspended or revoked out-of-state licenses could sometimes get away with being issued a Florida license if their home state had not reported the violation or if it was somehow lost in the system.

The NDR has completely changed that. Now, drivers who have had their license revoked or suspended in another state are no longer able to obtain a Florida driver’s license until their out-of-state suspension is resolved. However, this system is not flawless and sometimes you may need the help of an attorney to clear up old suspension records or inaccurate information.

How Can an Out-of-State Traffic Offense Affect My Driving Privileges in Florida?

As you can see, Florida can access information about out-of-state traffic violations and apply penalties the same way it would if the offense had taken place within Florida’s borders. If you already had points or previous violations in your record in Florida, additional violations or suspensions from another state may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle or result in significant consequences such as fines or losing your license in some cases.

If you have been charged with a DUI or another traffic violation, it is best to fight back with a knowledgeable team of traffic violation attorneys such as Carson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett. Contact our Clearwater, FL office for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.