Can California prevent me from renwing my driver’s license because of a drunk driving incident that happened in Missouri in 1991?

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Can California prevent me from renwing my driver’s license because of a drunk driving incident that happened in Missouri in 1991?

In 1991 I was taken into custody after crashing into a highway exit sign after falling asleep. I was drunk and received a citation for driving while intoxicated. I went to court and paid all the fines and fees. I took care of everything that I was made aware of. Now 17 years later California will not renew my license. My DMV printout has no record of this event. In addition DMV cannot / will not tell me why they will not renew my license, only saying “it is something from Missouri”. I have renewed my license at least two times since the incident – what is going on?

Asked on June 23, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It sounds strange since the DMV usually sends a notice of suspension/revocation of a license accompanied by instructions on how to clear your record and get your license re-instated or least get a temporary license that allows you to use your car to go to work, etc. Also, it's strange that you were able to renew your license twice before without any problems.

Many states today have "reciprocal" agreements whereby one state reports DUI convictions that occurred in its state to other states. The other states can refuse to give a license in their state to someone with a conviction from another state.

In your case you should consult a lawyer who specializes in DMV cases. He/she may need to look into your original Missouri conviction to see if you have grounds to appeal California's decision not to renew your license.


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