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Drunk-driving penalties by state

drunk driving lawsWhat will happen if you're pulled over for drunk driving? All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that define a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 as legally drunk. Typically, license suspension or revocation follows a conviction for drunk driving. In addition, some states impose an administrative license suspension, where licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test.

After a conviction, more than half of all U.S. states permit offenders to drive only if their vehicles have been equipped with ignition interlocks, which analyze a driver's breath and disable the ignition if alcohol is detected. Plus, many states force multiple offenders to forfeit the vehicles they were driving while impaired by alcohol. Check out our partner site's drunk driving limit calculator and the chart below for more information.

State Blood alcohol level defined as illegal Administrative license suspension, 1st offense(1) Restore driving privileges during suspension?(1),(2) Do penalties include interlock for 1st time offenders/repeat offenders?(3)
Alabama 0.08 90 days no no/no
Alaska 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Arizona 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Arkansas 0.08 6 months yes (1) yes/yes
California 0.08 4 months after 30 days (1) yes (3)/no
Colorado 0.08 3 months yes (1) yes/yes
Connecticut 0.08 90 days yes (1) no/no
Delaware 0.08 3 months no no/no
District of Columbia 0.08 2-90 days yes (1) no/no
Florida 0.08 6 months after 30 days (1) high BAC offenders only/yes
Georgia 0.08 1 year yes (1) no/no
Hawaii 0.08 3 months after 30 days (1) yes (3)/yes
Idaho 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) no/no
Illinois 0.08 3 months after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Indiana 0.08 180 days after 30 days (1)

no/no

Iowa 0.08 180 days after 90 days (1) no/no
Kansas 0.08 30 days no high BAC offenders only/yes
Kentucky 0.08 no n/a no/no
Louisiana 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Maine 0.08 90 days yes (1) no/no
Maryland 0.08 45 days yes (1) no/no
Massachusetts 0.08 90 days no no/yes
Michigan 0.08 no n/a no/no
Minnesota 0.08 90 days after 15 days (1) no/no
Mississippi 0.08 90 days no no/no
Missouri 0.08 30 days no no/yes
Montana 0.08 no n/a no/yes
Nebraska 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Nevada 0.08 90 days after 45 days (1) no/no
New Hampshire 0.08 6 months no high BAC offenders only/yes
New Jersey 0.08 no n/a high BAC offenders only/yes
New Mexico 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
New York 0.08 variable (2) yes yes (3)/yes
North Carolina 0.08 30 days after 10 days (1) high BAC offenders only/yes
North Dakota 0.08 91 days after 30 days (1) no/no
Ohio 0.08 90 days after 15 days (1) no/no
Oklahoma 0.08 180 days yes (1) no/yes
Oregon 0.08 90 days after 30 days (1) yes/yes
Pennsylvania 0.08 no n/a no/no
Rhode Island 0.08 no n/a no/no
South Carolina 0.08 no n/a yes/yes
South Dakota 0.08 no n/a no/no
Tennessee 0.08 no n/a no/no
Texas 0.08 90 days yes (1) no/yes
Utah 0.08 120 days no yes/yes
Vermont 0.08 90 days no no/no
Virginia 0.08 7 days no high BAC offenders only/yes
Washington 0.08 90 days yes (1) yes/yes
West Virginia 0.08 6 months after 30 days (1) high BAC offenders only/yes
Wisconsin 0.08 6 months yes (1) high BAC offenders only (3)/yes
Wyoming 0.08 90 days yes (1) high BAC offenders only/yes

1. Drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship to justify restoring privileges during suspension, and then privileges often are restricted.

2. In New York, administrative license suspension lasts until prosecution is complete.

3. The law requiring first time offenders to install ignition interlocks will go into effect on the following dates for the following states: California on 7/1/2010; Hawaii on 1/1/2011; New York on 8/18/2010; Wisconsin on 7/1/2010 but only for high BAC offenders.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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