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Driver's License Consequences of Out-of-State DWI

May 30, 2023

As an out of state driver, the agreement your state has with the State of Missouri is known as the Interstate Driver License Compact, which operates as an information exchange among state agencies concerning things like traffic related criminal convictions, license suspensions, and out-of-state warrants for failure to appear in court. 

The state you live in governs your ability to drive in that state and in other states.  The goal of the Interstate Compact system is for your home state to treat your Missouri DWI offense as if it had been committed within the boundaries of your own home state, applying its state laws to the out-of-state offense.

Typically, home state license suspensions through this Interstate Compact system will only be triggered upon the entry of a criminal conviction for driving while intoxicated in the state court of the state where you got pulled over.  Criminal convictions at the state judicial level are different from administrative alcohol suspensions which occur at the state licensing agency level.  If you receive a suspended imposition of sentence at your court hearing, then you have the power to keep this from turning into a criminal conviction by successfully completing probation.

The administrative alcohol suspension you may receive from the Missouri Department of Revenue might very well never be reported to the licensing authority of your home state.  It will affect your ability to drive within the State of Missouri, but it won’t necessarily affect your ability to drive in the other 49 U.S. states unless your home state decides to also suspend or revoke your license. 

Be mindful that this Missouri administrative suspension, if never addressed and cured, might keep you from successfully renewing your home-state license when the time comes for renewal and will likely even result in a criminal charge for driving while suspended or revoked if you continue to drive in Missouri. Also, take a look at your home-state’s license agency website from time to time to keep apprised of any actions they may have taken against your license.      

The point is this. Even if you think they've got you "dead to rights," so to speak, it's important to hire an attorney to minimize the collateral and long-term consequences of your DWI.