Woody White Law PLLC
Phone 910-338-4900
Toll Free 866-677-8525

What happens if you get a DWI while visiting from out of state?

If you receive a DWI charge in North Carolina and you live elsewhere, it is easy to feel uncertainty over what happens next. You may wonder how it will affect your driving record in your home state or what kind of penalty you might end up facing.

Because each state has its own laws regarding drivers under the influence, it is important to understand how this process works. Here is what you should expect for your out-of-state DWI in North Carolina.  

Driver License Compact

The Driver License Compact is an agreement between states to share information regarding license revocation, suspensions or DWI convictions. Currently, there are 45 states that participate, including North Carolina.

What this means for you is that if you receive a DWI conviction while traveling in North Carolina, officials will notify your home state, provided it is also a member of the compact. The problem will not simply go away if you leave town.


If the state convicts you, you will be at the mercy of whatever penalties your home state issues for a similar offense. In North Carolina, the first offense incurs you an automatic license suspension of one year, so your residing state may have a comparable sentence.

In addition to a license suspension, you will need to complete any required educational courses and a substance use assessment. You may take care of these issues in your home state, but a provider from North Carolina must approve the specific programs you choose.

Dealing with a DWI conviction from a different state can be frustrating. If you find yourself in this situation, and you suspect that something went wrong during the process, it could be worth it to fight the charge. A conviction in another state may follow you back home, and you could lose your license for a significant amount of time.

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