Russell Hebets Sept. 9, 2010

The Interstate Driver’s License Compact: What out-of-staters don’t know about their Colorado ticket.

By Mike Mauro on behalf of Hebets & McCallin

Do you or does someone you know drive a car in Colorado using a license from another state? If so, you may be very interested in the following information. It is a fairly common misconception that getting a ticket in another state isn’t a big deal because that state has no authority to impair or revoke an out-of-state license. In fact, chances are excellent your speeding ticket, DUI, defective headlight or other violation will be immediately relayed back to your home state’s motor vehicle department.

In 1982 Colorado became a signatory to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (DLC), an agreement between and among DLC party states to share information on traffic law violations. Today, together with 44 other states, Colorado fulfills its commitments under the DLC by reporting any conviction or guilty plea in any incident (felony or misdemeanor) involving the operation of a motor vehicle by a person licensed in a different DLC state back to that state. The only states which do not participate in the DLC are Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts and Michigan.

The impact of the DLC varies. In some cases, it is up to the home state whether it wishes to punish one of its licensees for an out-of-state traffic violation. For example, Kentucky does not assess points against its licenses for out-of-state speeding tickets. However, in the cases of manslaughter, DUI, felonies and Hit and Run, DLC states pledge to treat the offense as if it had occurred in the home state and render punishment accordingly.

One thing is certain; unless you are licensed by one of the non-party states, your state is going to find out about your Colorado ticket. Then, depending upon your state’s policies or the nature of the offense, your Colorado conviction may become part of your driving record, which is routinely screened by insurers and prospective employers—a potentiality carrying far-reaching economic effects.

Sources: Wile in 2001.Timothy P.Office of the Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation.A Practitioner’s Guide to the Driver’s License Compact of 1961.Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly.October 2001.Accessed online.Lexis-Nexis.

US Dept. of Transportation in 1994.The Driver’s License Compact: Administrative Procedures Manual 1994.Accessed…/CompactDLCProceduresManual.pdf.