If you are from another state and you are arrested for DUI / DWI in California then the results may be different. If your license was issued to you by another state, California cannot take your license because it is the property of another state; however, they can still revoke, suspend or restrict your driving privileges in California.
That doesn’t mean you are clear to go back home and drive. The Interstate Driver’s license Compact is an agreement between 45 states to share information regarding certain types of convictions, including Drunk Driving (DUI and DWI) convictions. If your license was issued by one of these states, the licensing state may take action against your driving privileges.
Whether a state will take action against your driver’s license / privileges depends on the state itself. Obviously there are five states that are not a party to this agreement and will not take any action. These states are: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Some states have the administrative system like California has. These states may acknowledge an APS suspension even without a court conviction in California. Other states that don’t have the administrative system may require a court conviction before they will take any action against your driving privileges.
The type of action taken depends on the state as well. Some states will reciprocate with the action taken by California. For example, if California suspends your driving privileges in the state for four (4) months, your licensing state may suspend for the same length of time or require California to notify them when their suspension ends before the licensing state will reinstate your driving privileges. Other states may enhance the action or even require fines paid to them. Still other states may take less harsh action against your driving privileges. It all depends on your specific state.