The San Diego Union Tribune newspaper recently reported on a California DUI arrest with a Cook County, Illinois connection. A man in San Diego, California faces prison time of 15 years to life for a DUI arrest that led to the death of another person.
The article notes that California law, like that of many other states, including Illinois, provides for enhanced penalties when you have had previous DUI or reckless homicide convictions. It turns out that this driver had a reckless homicide conviction in Cook County, Illinois in 1952 and an Alaska DUI conviction in 1988. The California authorities are aware of these convictions, despite their age and distance from California.
There was a time that a driver could run from state to state in order to avoid the consequences of DUI convictions. A couple of things have since converged to make that more difficult. For one thing, technology had made it much easier and cost effective for agencies in the 50 states to communicate with one another.
However, while the technology constitutes a staring point, the National Driver Registry (NDR), also known as the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS), makes it possible for the 50 states to share information among themselves. The NDR is defined as “a central repository of information on individuals whose privilege to drive has been revoked, suspended, canceled or denied or who have been convicted of serious traffic-related offenses”.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a Federal agency in the Department of Transportation, maintains the database. If a law enforcement agency it doing its job, it can access the NDR to determine whether you have any previous serious driving offenses in any other state. Please note that these offenses will probably turn up even though they may have been purged or expunged from the driving record of the state in which the offense occurred.
In addition to being a means of enhancing criminal penalties in DUI and reckless homicide prosecutions, state driver’s licensing authorities will use the NDR in determining your eligibility for a driver’s license.