Sonoma County Courthouse

Top Ten Questions > From Non-Residents

2. May an officer take my home state license?

Out of state platesNot usually. A good Santa Rosa DUI lawyer will explain to you that a driver license is commonly known to be the property of the state which issued it. Although Sonoma County police have the duty to confiscate a California driver license under the "stop and snatch" law (CVC 13382) following an alcohol-related DUI arrest, this authority is not extended to non-California licenses.

But all too often, Sonoma DUI lawyers see new or poorly trained law enforcement officers (often from smaller, rural police departments) make mistakes and fail to return an out-of-state license to the driver. Typically, licenses which are confiscated by Sonoma County law enforcement are forwarded to the Sacramento DMV and destroyed within days of arrest. If you held a driver license issued by a state other than California and it was not returned to you, then you should seriously consider contacting a Santa Rosa DUI attorney, such as Jake, immediately to try to secure the return of your home state license before it is mailed from the arresting agency. Consult with a Sonoma County DUI lawyer about your individual case.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

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Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.


Dave Jake Schwartz