Let’s say you’re one of the many Buckeyes fans who travels the country to attend Ohio State road games. During one of your trips out of state, you are arrested, and subsequently convicted, of drunk driving. You might be thinking Ohio will never find out, but, depending on what state the conviction is in, it is entirely possible that Ohio will be notified of your conviction.

What is the Driver License Compact?

The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an effort to help the enforcement of laws nationwide. There are only five states that are not a member of the DLC (Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin). The formation of the DLC was intended to promote compliance with laws related to the operation of motor vehicles in every jurisdiction that the person drives in, regardless of where that person is licensed.

The DLC requires the reporting of traffic convictions and license suspensions or revocations of out-of-state drivers to the state in which the person is licensed. Specifically, the offenses that must be reported are convictions for:

  1. Manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from driving a motor vehicle;
  2. Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  3. Any felony in which a motor vehicle was used; and
  4. Failure to stop and render aid after an accident resulting in death or personal injury to another person.

Ohio became a member of the DLC in 1987. The effect is that Ohio will treat an out-of-state conviction the same as it would if the offense was committed in Ohio. It is equally important to note that Ohio will report out-of-state convictions to a person’s home state. It is also important to keep in mind that, while there are five states that are not members of the DLC, nothing prevents non-member states from sharing information with member states, or vice versa. And, it is common for this to happen.

License Suspension

The DLC requires member states to determine if an applicant for a license to drive has ever held a license to drive. A license will not be granted if the applicant has had their license suspended and the suspension has not expired. An applicant who has had their license revoked will not be granted a license if the revocation has not expired, unless it has been one year since the license revocation. But, the licensing authority may still deny a license if it determines it would not be safe to grant the person a license.

Ohio Likely to be Notified

Being arrested and charged with drunk driving is serious regardless of where it happens. It is important to realize that it is very likely that Ohio will find out about your conviction and subject you to punishment, even if it didn’t occur within the state. Therefore, it is important to obey all driving laws regardless of where you are driving.