drunk driving laws

What 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.

Effective Dec. 30, 2018, Utah’s BAC will be set at 0.05 percent. 

Forty-eight states and D.C. have increased penalties for convictions for BAC levels higher than .08

Typically, license suspension or revocation follows a conviction for drunk driving. In addition, 44 impose an administrative license suspension, where licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test.

All states have some form of ignition interlock program. Twenty-seven states (and four California counties) have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders. An additional three states mandate interlocks for high BACs, eight states require them for repeat offenders; and 8 states for both high BAC and repeat offenders. The remaining  four states and D.C. make interlocks discretionary.

Another consequence of a drunk-driving violation is that car insurance after DUI is more expensive. The average percentage hike is 80 percent ($1,163 more a year), according to Insure.com’s rate analysis.

Review the chart below for more information. Source: Governors Highway Safety Association; as of April 2018.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Laws By State

State Inc.Penalty for High BAC Admin. License Susp. on 1st Offense Limited Driving Privileges During Susp. Ignition Interlocks Vehicle and License Plate Sanctions Open Container Laws* Repeat Offender Laws* Alcohol Exclusion Laws Limiting Treatment
*Meeting Federal Requirements
Alabama 0.15 90 days Mandatory for repeat convictions Yes Yes Yes
Alaska 0.15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle impoundment Yes
(at judges’ disc.)
Arizona 0.15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Immobilization or impoundment Yes Yes
Arkansas 0.15 6 months Yes Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
California 0.15 4 months After 30 days Discretionary Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Mandatory for all convictions in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties (pilot project)
Colorado 0.15 3 months Yes Highly incentivized for all convictions Yes Yes
Connecticut 0.16 90 days Yes Mandatory for all convictions Yes
Delaware 0.16 3 months Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle sanction and license plate impoundment Yes Yes
D.C. .20 and .25 2-90 days or until deposition Yes Discretionary Yes Yes
Florida 0.2 6 months for DUI After 30 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15)convictions Impoundment, vehicle forfeiture Yes Yes Yes
12 months for refusal After 90 days
Georgia 0.15 1 year Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Guam From .08 to.10 Discretionary Yes Yes
Hawaii 0.15 3 months After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Yes Yes Yes
Idaho 0.2 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions(eff. 1/1/19) Yes Yes Yes
Illinois 0.16 6 months After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Indiana 0.15 180 days After 30 days Discretionary Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Iowa 0.15 180 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions(eff. 7/1/18) Yes Yes
Kansas 0.15 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Yes Yes Yes
Kentucky 0.18 30 – 120days Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Impoundment Yes Yes Yes
Louisiana1 .15 and .20 See footnote Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes
Maine 0.15 90 days Yes Highly incentivized for all convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Maryland 90 days Yes, w/ interlock Mandatory for all convictions Yes Yes
Massachusetts .20 (appliesto ages 17-21) 90 days Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Michigan2 0.17 See footnote After 45 days Mandatory for high BAC convictions, restricted driving conditions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota 0.16 90 days After 15 days Mandatory for high BAC and repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation,special plates/ Yes Yes Yes
markings
Mississippi 90 days Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Missouri 0.15 90 days After 0 days w/ interlock use (restricted) Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle forfeiture or impoundment (cities w/ 100,000+allowed to enact ordinance) Yes Yes
After 30 days
(restricted)
Montana 0.16 6 months Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Nebraska 0.15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle immobilization, continuous alcohol monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Nevada 0.18 90 days After 45 days Mandatory forall convictions Yes Yes
New Hampshire 0.16 6 months Mandatory for high BAC convictions Yes Yes Yes
New Jersey 0.1 Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Yes Yes Yes
New Mexico .16 (w/ mand. jail on all offenses) Immediately w/ Ignition Interlock Mandatory for all convictions Immobilization of vehicle for driving while revoked Yes Yes
>21: 6 mo.
New York 0.18 Yes Yes Mandatory for all convictions Yes Yes Yes
North Carolina 0.15 30 days After 10 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
North Dakota 0.18 91 days After 30 days Discretionary Vehicle confiscation, license plate removal Yes Yes Yes
Northern Mariana Islands 30 days – Yes Yes
Ohio 0.17 90 days After 15 days Mandatory for repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation or immobilization, restricted plates Yes Yes
Oklahoma 0.15 180 days Yes Mandatory for all convictions Yes Yes Yes
Oregon 0.15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions and diversions Yes Yes
Pennsylvania3 0.1 See footnote Mandatory for high BAC (>.10) and repeat convictions Yes Yes Yes
(eff. 8/25/17)
Rhode Island .10 and .15 Mandatory for all convictions Judicial discretion on 3rd or subsequent conviction Yes
South Carolina 0.15 1 month(for >.15 BAC) Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions and for first-time offenders convicted of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% orhigher Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
South Dakota4 0.17 See footnote Yes Discretionary Yes
Tennessee 0.2 1 year Yes Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation on 2nd or subsequentconviction Yes Yes Yes
Texas 0.15 90 days if.08 or greater; 180 days for refusal Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Utah 0.16 120 days Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment Yes Yes Yes
Vermont 90 days Mandatory for repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Virgin Islands Variable Yes Revoke license plate Yes Yes
Virginia .15 and .20 7 days Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes
Washington 0.15 90 days With an ignition interlockdriver’s license Mandatory for all convictions Mandatory tow and 12 hour impound Yes
West Virginia 0.15 6 months After 30 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Yes Yes Yes
Wisconsin .17, .20 and.25 6 months Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Yes Yes Yes
Wyoming 0.15 90 days Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Yes
Total States 48 + D.C., 1Terr. 44 + D.C.,2 Terr. 38 + D.C., 1Terr. Mandatory For Varies 33 + 3Terr. 28 +D.C., 3Terr. 37
All (25)
High BAC (3)
Repeat (9)
High BAC & Repeat (8)
Disc.: 5 + D.C.

1  Louisiana requires a 45 day hard suspension of driving privileges for a second DWI conviction.

2  Michigan has administrative license suspension for for refusal to submit to chemical test.

3  Pennsylvania uses programs called Occupational Limited License (OLL) and Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL).

4  South Dakota has administrative license suspension for 30 days for refusal to submit to chemical test.