Penalties for dui

Keywords: penalties for dui
Description: The chart below lists all current state drunk driving laws, including which states use ignition interlocks.

All states define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, but specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state.

42 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver's license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test. Most of these states allow limited driving privileges (such as to/from work).

All states have some type of ignition interlock law. in which judges require all or some convicted drunk drivers to install interlocks in their cars to analyze their breath and disable the engine if alcohol is detected. 20 states* (and 4 California counties) have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders.

*We defer to our State Highway Safety Office members' interpretation of the law. Some groups may have a higher count.

Federal law mandates that states adopt open container and repeat offender laws meeting specific requirements. Otherwise, a portion of the state's surface transportation funding is transferred to the state DOT or State Highway Safety Office.

Alcohol exclusion laws allow insurance companies to deny payment for treatment of drunk drivers' injuries, but they have limited doctors' abilities to diagnose alcohol problems and recommend treatment. Some states have repealed such laws.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drunk driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

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