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

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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

StateInc.Penalty for High BACAdmin. License Susp. on 1st OffenseLimited Driving Privileges During Susp.Ignition InterlocksVehicle and License Plate SanctionsOpen Container Laws*Repeat Offender Laws*Alcohol Exclusion Laws Limiting Treatment
*Meeting Federal Requirements
Alabama0.1590 daysMandatory for repeat convictionsYesYesYes
Alaska0.1590 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictionsVehicle impoundmentYes
(at judges' disc.)
Arizona0.1590 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictionsImmobilization or impoundmentYesYes
Arkansas0.156 monthsYesMandatory for all convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
California0.154 monthsAfter 30 daysDiscretionaryImpoundment, vehicle confiscationYesYes
Mandatory for all convictions in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties (pilot project)
Colorado0.153 monthsYesHighly incentivized for all convictionsYesYes
Connecticut0.1690 daysYesMandatory for all convictionsYes
Delaware0.163 monthsMandatory for all convictionsVehicle sanction and license plate impoundmentYesYes
D.C..20 and .252-90 days or until depositionYesDiscretionaryYesYes
Florida0.26 months for DUIAfter 30 daysMandatory for high BAC (>.15)convictionsImpoundment, vehicle forfeitureYesYesYes
12 months for refusalAfter 90 days
Georgia0.151 yearYesMandatory for repeat convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
GuamFrom .08 to.10DiscretionaryYesYes
Hawaii0.153 monthsAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictionsYesYesYes
Idaho0.290 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictions(eff. 1/1/19)YesYesYes
Illinois0.166 monthsAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscationYesYes
Indiana0.15180 daysAfter 30 daysDiscretionaryVehicle confiscationYesYes
Iowa0.15180 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictions(eff. 7/1/18)YesYes
Kansas0.1530 daysMandatory for all convictionsYesYesYes
Kentucky0.1830 - 120daysYesMandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsImpoundmentYesYesYes
Louisiana1.15 and .20See footnoteMandatory for all convictionsVehicle confiscationYes
Maine0.1590 daysYesHighly incentivized for all convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYes
Maryland90 daysYes, w/ interlockMandatory for all convictionsYesYes
Massachusetts.20 (appliesto ages 17-21)90 daysYesMandatory for repeat convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
Michigan20.17See footnoteAfter 45 daysMandatory for high BAC convictions, restricted driving conditionsVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
Minnesota0.1690 daysAfter 15 daysMandatory for high BAC and repeat convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscation,special plates/YesYesYes
Mississippi90 daysMandatory for all convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscationYesYes
Missouri0.1590 daysAfter 0 days w/ interlock use (restricted)Mandatory for repeat convictionsVehicle forfeiture or impoundment (cities w/ 100,000+allowed to enact ordinance)YesYes
After 30 days
Montana0.166 monthsYesMandatory for repeat convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscationYesYesYes
Nebraska0.1590 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictionsVehicle immobilization, continuous alcohol monitoringYesYesYes
Nevada0.1890 daysAfter 45 daysMandatory forall convictionsYesYes
New Hampshire0.166 monthsMandatory for high BAC convictionsYesYesYes
New Jersey0.1Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsYesYesYes
New Mexico.16 (w/ mand. jail on all offenses)<21: 1 yr.;Immediately w/ Ignition InterlockMandatory for all convictionsImmobilization of vehicle for driving while revokedYesYes
>21: 6 mo.
New York0.18YesYesMandatory for all convictionsYesYesYes
North Carolina0.1530 daysAfter 10 daysMandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYes
North Dakota0.1891 daysAfter 30 daysDiscretionaryVehicle confiscation, license plate removalYesYesYes
Northern Mariana Islands30 days -YesYes
<6 months
Ohio0.1790 daysAfter 15 daysMandatory for repeat convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscation or immobilization, restricted platesYesYes
Oklahoma0.15180 daysYesMandatory for all convictionsYesYesYes
Oregon0.1590 daysAfter 30 daysMandatory for all convictions and diversionsYesYes
Pennsylvania30.1See footnoteMandatory for high BAC (>.10) and repeat convictionsYesYesYes
(eff. 8/25/17)
Rhode Island.10 and .15Mandatory for all convictionsJudicial discretion on 3rd or subsequent convictionYes
South Carolina0.151 month(for >.15 BAC)YesMandatory for repeat convictions and for first-time offenders convicted of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% orhigherVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
South Dakota40.17See footnoteYesDiscretionaryYes
Tennessee0.21 yearYesMandatory for all convictionsVehicle confiscation on 2nd or subsequentconvictionYesYesYes
Texas0.1590 days if.08 or greater; 180 days for refusalYesMandatory for repeat convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYesYes
Utah0.16120 daysMandatory for all convictionsImpoundmentYesYesYes
Vermont90 daysMandatory for repeat convictionsImpoundment, vehicle confiscationYesYes
Virgin IslandsVariableYesRevoke license plateYesYes
Virginia.15 and .207 daysMandatory for all convictionsVehicle confiscationYesYes
Washington0.1590 daysWith an ignition interlockdriver’s licenseMandatory for all convictionsMandatory tow and 12 hour impoundYes
West Virginia0.156 monthsAfter 30 daysMandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsYesYesYes
Wisconsin.17, .20 and.256 monthsYesMandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsYesYesYes
Wyoming0.1590 daysYesMandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictionsYes
Total States48 + D.C., 1Terr.44 + D.C.,2 Terr.38 + D.C., 1Terr.Mandatory ForVaries33 + 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.