What happens if you are a Los Angeles resident and are out of town when you get arrested and charged with drinking under the influence? Does the case transfer to Los Angeles? What about your license? Is it suspended in Los Angeles, or in the state where you are arrested?
There are all excellent questions and are of importance for any California resident that travels a lot. Driving under the influence laws are specific to each state. California defines its own requirements and standards for a DUI, as well as potential consequences under the California Penal Code. The California Penal Code is specific to arrests arising out of California incidents and does not apply to its residents when they are traveling.
Let’s consider an example. Dora is a salesperson and travels a lot for her job. As a part of her job, she has to entertain clients with dinner and shows. Dora is a resident of Los Angeles but is traveling to Chicago for work. She takes some clients out to dinner and as she is driving back to her hotel, she is stopped by officers for potentially being under the influence. She is arrested and charged with suspicion of driving under the influence.
Dora’s case will not be transferred to Los Angeles court to be heard by a California Judge. If she was driving in Illinois at the time, she will be subject to the laws of Illinois, despite the fact that her license is California and she is a resident of California. This is important because your Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney cannot represent you in an out of state case. What they can do, is guide you through the process of completing requisite programs or sentences in California.
Dora should hire a Criminal Defense attorney in Illinois. She should also consult with a legal professional in Los Angeles because she will need to take some proactive steps to help reduce or dismiss her case. She will want to start enrolling in alcohol education classes, she may also want to start looking at different options for community service, if it is ordered. It does not make any sense for her to have to complete classes or community service in Illinois. That is why she will have to find something compatible in Los Angeles.
Dora will also not need to appear in Court if she is back in Los Angeles. In California courts, a person does not need to appear if they are represented by counsel and it is a misdemeanor case. If the Judge requires that the person being charged appear, then they may also allow the option of telephonic appearance for out of state clients. If that is the case it is worth discussing with both a Los Angeles attorney and the out of state attorney to save you a lot of money in flights and otherwise.