What Happens If I Am a Connecticut Driver with a DUI in Another State?

It happens, especially around the holidays. You’re traveling. Your grandma lives in Virginia, and you promised to stop in D.C. on the way to meet your college roommate for dinner. You map out the best routes to take. You figure out the best time to leave and plan a long weekend trip to spend the holidays with loved ones.

I’ve already established that the holidays are a time when the number of DUIs increases. But what happens when you are a Connecticut resident that gets pulled over in Virginia, and charged with a DUI? In some ways, out-of-state DUIs differ than ones that you get in your home state. If you’re facing a DUI in a state that you don’t live in, you need to get the facts. This is so that you can be proactive and handle this situation properly. I’ll provide the similarities and differences between getting a DUI in Connecticut and getting one out of state here.

What is the Same?

The similarities and differences between an out-of-state DUI and a Connecticut DUI depend on what state you are arrested in. However, the basic charge of driving under the influence is the same. You face similar consequences in other states as you do in Connecticut. Such penalties include fines, jail time, community service, enrollment in a treatment program, etc. For information about the specific state you were arrested in, or for a referral for a lawyer in that state, please feel free to contact me.

What is Different?

The specific charge that you receive might be different. Some states use the term driving while impaired or driving while ability impaired instead of driving under the influence. These terms are slightly different but they generally cover the same issue. You might also face slightly different punishments in different states. Connecticut actually has some of the strictest DUI penalties. So, chances are that the state you are arrested in will be more lenient than Connecticut would be in this situation.

Does My Out-of-State DUI Count as a DUI in Connecticut?

Yes – your Connecticut driving record will state that you have received a DUI even if it occurred in another state. You will have to deal with the penalties of a DUI in the state where you were arrested. Also, you have to deal with the penalties in the state of Connecticut. In many cases, this will mean a driving suspension in Connecticut and the state where you were arrested. In addition, you might have to pay fines in both states. You might even serve jail time in both states depending on your situation.

Should I Hire a Lawyer in Connecticut and the State Where I was Arrested?

You want to start with your out-of-state DUI before dealing with the consequences in Connecticut. If you can get your DUI dismissed, you won’t face any issues in Connecticut. For this reason, you should hire an out-of-state lawyer first and fight the DUI in the state where you were charged. If you lose your case and are convicted of a DUI, then you can consider hiring a Connecticut DUI lawyer to help you deal with license suspensions and other issues in Connecticut.

Do I Have to Travel Back to the State Where I was Arrested?

In most cases, you will probably have to make at least one appearance in the state where you were arrested. You can mostly deal with your lawyer over the phone and send forms in the mail, but you might have to appear in court in person, and it is always helpful to appear in person for your DMV hearing. Plan to make travel arrangements to return to the state where you were charged.


My name is Teresa, and I am a DUI lawyer, but that is only part of who I am. I have been practicing law in Connecticut since 2006.


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