This past June, the irk of Philadelphians was felt far out west as former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb – a dual resident of Pennsylvania and Arizona – was arrested  in Arizona for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This was his second offense in Arizona for DUI and now likely faces at least 30 days in jail and a period of a license suspension.

Many people may wonder: would Pennsylvania find out about the DUI? How would this affect his ability to drive in PA? More importantly, if subsequently arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, would it be a first or third offense? The answer to these questions rests in the Driver License Compact (DLC).


What is the DLC?

The DLC is a compact between 45[1] states, the goal of which is to share traffic information in order to have an across-the-board “one driver license” concept. It prevents individuals with suspended licenses from simply going across state lines and obtaining a new license. It also allows a resident’s home-state to consider certain out-of-state traffic related offenses, such as DUI, and suspend a home-state license accordingly. Each state has its own rules.

In Pennsylvania, under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1581, PennDOT considers only serious traffic offenses, and will not assess points for minor traffic infractions. Your license will be suspended for one year if you are convicted of any of the following out-of-state traffic-related offense:

  • Manslaughter in connection with the use of a motor vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs if the statute is substantially similar in nature to PA’s DUI laws under 75 Pa.C.S. 3802 (see below)
  • A felony conviction in connection with the use of a motor vehicle
  • Failure to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle accident results in death or personal injury


How does Pennsylvania treat out of state DUIs?

If you are convicted of DUI in another state and it is your first offense ever, Pennsylvania will not suspend your license. Under the PA DUI penalty statute, an out-of-state DUI conviction is treated as if it had occurred in PA under subsection 3802(a). Under this subsection, there is no driving license suspension. However, if it is your second offense or more, PennDOT will suspend your license for one year. This is in addition to any license suspension penalties from the DLC state.


If my PA license is suspended, can I go to another state and obtain a new one?

No. If your license in your home-state is suspended and you attempt to obtain a license from any of the DLC states using a DLC residence, you will not be able to obtain a driver’s license. Under the information-sharing agreement clause of the DLC, notice of an applicant’s license suspension will be shared among the states.

This same concept is true for out of state residents trying to obtain a PA driver’s license. PennDOT will not issue a driver’s license for any out of state driver who has a suspended license. 75 Pa.C.S. § 1503.


If I received ARD for a DUI in PA, and then got a DUI in another state, will my license be suspended?

PennDOT has a 10 year look-back period. In addition, ARD is considered a conviction for subsequent sentencing and licensing purposes. If you received ARD for a DUI within the past 10 years, and are subsequently convicted of DUI in any DLC state, your license will be suspended for at least one year.


If I got a DUI in another state, then got a DUI in PA, is it a first or second offense?

If you have a conviction for DUI in a DLC state, and are subsequently convicted of DUI in PA within the next 10 years, you will be sentenced as a second offender. Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1581, Article III and IV, a conviction from a DLC state will  have the same effect as if it occurred in PA. For example, if you were convicted of DUI in Florida, and subsequently convicted of DUI: Highest Tier (.16+) in PA, you will be subject to the second-offender penalties, which include a minimum incarceration of 90 days, minimum $1,500 fine, and 18 month license suspension.


Thus, to answer the McNabb dilemma: if Donavan McNabb is convicted of a second offense DUI in Arizona and holds a PA driver license, then his PA driver’s license will be suspended for one year. In addition, if he is subsequently arrested and convicted of DUI in PA, he will not be a first or second offender; he will be a third time offended. A third offense DUI in PA carries severe penalties.


If you feel your situation is similar to any of the above DUI or  PA driver’s license issues, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (267) 388-3476 to discuss your case.

[1] The following states are not part of the Compact: Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin

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