A Look at the Driver License Compact

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Posted in On May 18, 2015

The Interstate Licensing Compact:  What is it and how does it affect you?


 If you’ve ever received a driving ticket in another state, you may have wondered what happens next.  Does that ticket go onto your driving record back home?  Will that ticket put points on your driving record?  Most likely yes to all of the above.  This is all thanks to what is known as the Driver License Compact.
The Driver License Compact (“DLC”) is an interstate agreement to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents.  Once exchanged within the compact, they are forwarded to your licensing state.  Your licensing state is known as the “home state”.  Not every state participates, but the majority do, including Indiana.  Indiana has opted in to the agreement and adopted its rules under I.C. 9-28.
We often get calls with drivers who have moved out of state, but still hold an Indiana license.  Most of the time, these calls come in because their Indiana license is suspended and is preventing them from obtaining a new license in their current state.  Is there anything that we can do?  Well, absent getting the suspension lifted here in Indiana, not really.  The DLC has one major theme—“One Driver, One License, One Record”.  Anything holding you back on your current license must be taken care of in that state before you can get a new license in another state.
There are some major components to the compact, all of which can be found under I.C. 9-28.  Let’s take a look:
One Driver’s License.  You can only get one driver’s license at a time.  If you are licensed in Indiana and go to apply for an Ohio license, you must forfeit your Indiana license in order to get one in Ohio.  However, other states aren’t going to let you just forfeit your Indiana license and give you a new one if your current one is suspended.  Your current license must be valid and in good standing!
Reporting.  The licensing authority (or the BMV/DMV) where you received your ticket must report each conviction occurring within its jurisdiction to the home state.  Remember, the home state is the state where you currently hold your license.  The report must be specific, including information such as clearly identifying the person convicted, the type of violation, identifying the court in which action was taken,  identifying whether there was a plea of guilty or not guilty entered, and any other special findings.  The whole purpose of this is to have one complete driving history.
Uniformity and Equivalent Statutes.  Indiana will give the same effect to an out-of-state conviction according to the laws of Indiana.  If a 3-point ticket for speeding 5 mph over the speed limit is received in Ohio, for example, Indiana will record the ticket as whatever Indiana’s equivalent of that particular ticket is—2 points.  This means that if you receive a ticket out of state for which Indiana does not have an equivalent code for, it will likely not get reported on your driving record!
There are a few specific convictions, such as manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from operation of motor vehicle, driving under the influence, commission of a felony for which a motor vehicle is used, and failure to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or personal injury of another for which Indiana will treat as if they occurred here in Indiana.  The best example to explain this is by using driving under the influence.  Every state has laws for driving under the influence in some form or the other.  If you receive a conviction for driving under the influence in one state and their penalty is a 90-day license suspension, fines, and/or jail time, you could essentially get penalized twice because Indiana has the right to punish you for that offense under Indiana laws, even if it’s more punishment than the one you received under the out-of-state conviction’s laws.  Now, another state does not have the authority to suspend your Indiana license, but this means the other state can revoke your right to drive in that state.
If you’ve received an infraction, whether here in Indiana or out of state, it’s important to know the effect it will have on your license.  If you have a commercial driver’s license then it could mean an even greater complication to your license because it can affect your career.  Smaller infractions may not always be as big of a deal, but it’s especially important to consult an attorney if you’ve received one of the more serious convictions out of state, not just for your driving record, but for the criminal implications as well.  The attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC are experienced in all areas of traffic and criminal law and can help.  Give us a call today at 317.870.0019.