Have you ever gotten a ticket out of state and thought that it wouldn't show up on your driving record at home? In 90 percent of the country, being from another state won't save you. Forty-five of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have signed the Driver License Compact, a multi-state agreement to share driving records of non-residents with their home states. The agreement applies to both minor violations such as speeding as well as major ones like DUI, but doesn't include non-moving violations such as parking tickets.
Can Your License Be Suspended in One State and Not Another?
The motto of the Driver License Compact is One Driver, One License, One Record. This means that your license and everything connected to it will follow you to every state in the compact. If your license is suspended in your home state, and that state is a member of the Driver License Compact, it will likely be suspended in all other member states.
The only exception to this rule is if your home state suspends your license for something that isn't a suspending offense in the new state. For instance, if you allow your auto insurance to lapse in the state of Florida, it will suspend your license. If you go to North Dakota, there's no suspension penalty on the books, so your license would still be valid.
Which States Have Reciprocal Agreements?
Forty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, currently have reciprocal agreements under the Driver License Compact. They all share driving record information with each other. The only states not a member of this group are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Some of these states choose to share information via different channels. Massachusetts, for example, shares driving record information through the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Read More: States Without Reciprocal Driving Laws
What Constitutes a Legal Residence?
Legal residence is a specific term that has been established by court cases. It isn't simply the place where you keep your things and go to sleep most nights. A legal residence is the place where individuals can prove they intend to make their home, using factual evidence. This evidence can be a driver's license, utility bills at the address, tax receipts, a library card or multiple pieces of mail received at the address in question.
Your legal residence isn't a place where you temporarily stay. Rather, it's somewhere you intend to live for a length of time, and you have multiple pieces of paperwork to prove it.
Can You Have a Driver's License in Two Different States?
You're allowed to have a driver's license in only one state, and that's because your license must be connected to your state of legal residence. Florida used to allow a second, Florida-only, license for its many part-time residents, but the Real ID Act of 2005 outlawed them.
All states except these five are part of the Driver License Compact: Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
- NCIC: Driver License Compact
- Car Insurance.com: Lapse in coverage: Penalties by state
- Traffic Violation Law Firms: What States Do Not Share Driving Records in the Drivers License Compact
- Vote Brevard: Legal Residency Requirements
- Car Insurance.com: Can I hold driver's licenses from two different states at the same time?
Victoria Bailey has a degree in Public Law and Government. She has spoken before state Supreme Court justices and her photograph is on the back cover of Bill Clinton's autobiography. As a former member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Bailey worked closely with lawmakers to help set public policy. Bailey's work appears on numerous websites, and she's currently writing the text for a governmental information app.