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How OWI Convictions in Michigan Impact Out-Of-State Residents

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Michigan residents and out-of-state residents are subject to the same sentencing and penalties that arise from an OWI conviction within the state.

Out-of-state residents not only have to deal with Michigan's criminal justice system, but they may also incur further driver's license restrictions in their home state as well. Additionally, if Michigan residents receive an OWI in another state, they will be subject to Michigan's driver's license restrictions.

Read on to learn more about driver's license penalties that arise from out-of-state OWI convictions in Michigan.

Driver's License Reporting Systems

There are three systems for reporting traffic violations used throughout the U.S.: The National Driver Registry (NDR), The Non-Resident Violation Compact (NRVC), and The Driver License Compact (DLC).

States use these systems to help promote highway safety by sharing and transmitting driver's criminal conviction information.

1. The National Driver Registry

The NDR is a nationwide database that holds information about drivers who have had their driver's license revoked or suspended The database also holds information about people who have been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

2. The Driver License Compact

This interstate system is used to maximize law enforcement efforts against drunk drivers. The system exchanges information pertaining to driver's license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and sends the information to the state in which the driver is a resident (home state).

When this occurs, the driver's home state driving laws will be applied to their out-of-state traffic violation offense (which includes drunk driving charges). Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee are not members of this system.

3. The Non-Resident Violation Compact

Similar to the DLC, the NRVC interstate system is used to process traffic citations between states. Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Montana, Oregon, and Alaska are not members of this system.

Michigan Out-Of-State OWI Penalties

In Michigan, the Secretary of State (SOS) may suspend or revoke a person's driver's license if they receive a drunk driving conviction in another state. The SOS is notified by the NDR system about the out-of-state OWI conviction.

Note, the SOS may not be notified about the out-of-state drunk driving conviction because the agency does not automatically check for convictions. The system is usually checked when some type of license action occurs in Michigan such as the following: License renewal, suspension, or a violation. If the SOS finds out about the out-of-state conviction, it may suspend or revoke your driver's license.

Out-Of-State Residents OWI Penalties

If you are convicted for an OWI in Michigan, you will incur driver's license penalties and possibly face the same or enhanced penalties in your home state.

As mentioned above, the conviction will be reported to the NDR. Generally, once your home state finds out about the conviction, it will require you to oblige by the driver's license restrictions implemented in Michigan, or punish you with harsher driving restrictions.

For instance, if you are a Illinois resident and convicted of a OWI in Michigan, then Illinois will punish you with its own driver's license sanctions (which may be harsher than Michigan's). This means that your Illinois's license will be suspended or revoked as well.

If you have been arrested for an OWI, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life. Stacey Washington has helped several clients mitigate any long-term consequences of OWIs.


National Driver Register (NDR)

Non-Resident Violator Compact

The Driver License Compact

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