Can Another State Suspend Your Driver’s License?

If you commit a serious violation such as a DUI or reckless driving out of state, you can have your license suspended in that state as well as your home state.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by R.E. Fulton
background
It’s possible to receive an out-of-state driver’s license suspension. If you commit a traffic violation in a different state that results in a driver’s license suspension, your home state will be notified through the National Driver Register of the out-of-state offense and your driving privileges may be suspended in your home state as well.
  • Interstate agreements require all states to notify each other if a person has had their license suspended in a state where they don’t reside
  • You won’t be able to get a driver’s license in a new state if it’s still suspended in your previous home state
  • Infractions such as getting a DUI or leaving the scene of an accident you caused can result in another state suspending your license

Can another state suspend your driver’s license?

In short, yes
Traffic laws vary state by state, but if you commit a traffic offense severe enough to have your driver’s license suspended in a state you don’t live in, chances are your home state would have suspended your license if you’d committed the infraction there. For instance, a
DUI/DWI
or reckless driving conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension period regardless of what state you live in. 
If your driver’s license is suspended and you move to a different state, the licensing agency in the state you’re establishing residency won’t be able to issue you a new license. Having a suspended license will also prevent you from
registering your vehicle
when you relocate. You’ll need to wait until your driver’s license is in good standing in the state you’ve just moved from before you can receive a valid license in your new home state. 
Although the circumstances behind each out-of-state driver’s license suspension are different, you typically will not be eligible for license reinstatement until the matter is resolved in the state where the infraction took place. You will likely need to appear in court at least once in the state that originally suspended your license. 
A license suspension is almost always accompanied by an expensive fine—plus you’ll need to pay a driver’s license
reinstatement fee
in your home state. There’s also a good chance that you’ll end up paying more for
car insurance with a suspended license
.  
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record
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The Driver’s License Compact 

It’s also important to understand that your home state will find out about your out-of-state license suspension. States communicate with one another regarding traffic violations committed by non-residents. 
One way they share this information is through the
Interstate Drivers’ License Compact (IDLC)
. The majority of US states are IDLC members with the exception of:
Just because a handful of states aren’t members of this interstate agreement doesn't mean you’re off the hook at home if you receive a license suspension there. Every state is required to log the names of drivers who have had their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked in the
National Driver Register (NDR)
. Your home state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified of the change in your license status through the NDR, after which they will mail you a
suspension notice
You may also have your driver’s license suspended by another state for failure to make child support payments. If you’ve been ordered by the family court in another state to pay child support you won’t be able to evade this financial obligation by moving to a new state. 
Even if you hold a valid driver’s license and haven’t had so much as a traffic ticket, you may be at risk of having your license suspended in your new state after they learn you’re delinquent on your child support payments. Keep in mind that this will likely only happen if you’re significantly behind in payments. For example, the state of
New York
won’t pursue a license suspension unless the driver hasn’t made a child support payment in four months or more

Exceptions to license suspension in another state

There aren’t many exceptions to a license suspension. Usually, the only way a suspension can be lifted is if there are specific conditions applied to the suspension. In other words, if your license has been suspended until you show
proof of car insurance
or pay an overdue traffic ticket your driving privileges will be restored once you fulfill what is being asked of you. 
There’s also a chance that you could be granted a restricted license, also known as a hardship license. With a restricted license, you would be permitted to drive only under a set of specific circumstances—like to and from work, transporting your children to and from school, or to receive routine medical treatment. You may also have a limited number of miles or certain times of day in which you’re authorized to drive while your license suspension is in effect.
It’s the court’s decision whether to allow you to have these special driving privileges. If you’ve had multiple DUIs, were charged with a hit-and-run, or are
facing license revocation
, you probably won’t qualify for a restricted license. 

What to do if your driver's license is suspended in another state

Once your driver’s license has been suspended in another state, do not keep driving in your home state as if nothing happened—even if you haven’t received your in-state suspension notice yet. 
If you have a court date coming up, you should strongly consider seeking legal advice. Some law firms specialize in traffic law and will be able to advise you on how to proceed—many firms even offer a free consultation. If you don’t want to plead guilty to the traffic violation you’re being accused of, you’ll need a lawyer to represent you in court. 
The best way to get through the suspension period is to follow the law and work on moving forward from the incident. If you’re caught driving with a suspended license, it will make everything worse. This is a serious charge that will likely result in additional fines, an extension of your license suspension, or even the possibility of jail time.
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FAQs

Yes. If you’ve had your driver’s license suspended or revoked in one state and then moved to another state, you won’t be able to get a driver’s license in your new state. You will need to wait until your license has been reinstated before another driver’s license can be issued to you.
No. If your driver’s license has been suspended in another state, that state will enter your name into the National Driver Register (NDR), as well as the Interstate Drivers’ License Compact (IDLC) if they are a participating IDLC member. These interstate agreements allow states to alert one another regarding drivers whose licenses have been suspended due to a traffic violation that took place out of state. 
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