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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.

StateBlood alcohol level defined as illegalAdministrative license suspension, 1st offense(1)Restore driving privileges during suspension?(1),(2)Do penalties include interlock for 1st time offenders/repeat offenders?(3)
Alabama0.0890 daysnono/no
Alaska0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Arizona0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Arkansas0.086 monthsyes (1)yes/yes
California0.084 monthsafter 30 days (1)yes (3)/no
Colorado0.083 monthsyes (1)yes/yes
Connecticut0.0890 daysyes (1)no/no
Delaware0.083 monthsnono/no
District of Columbia0.082-90 daysyes (1)no/no
Florida0.086 monthsafter 30 days (1)high BAC offenders only/yes
Georgia0.081 yearyes (1)no/no
Hawaii0.083 monthsafter 30 days (1)yes (3)/yes
Idaho0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)no/no
Illinois0.083 monthsafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Indiana0.08180 daysafter 30 days (1)

no/no

Iowa0.08180 daysafter 90 days (1)no/no
Kansas0.0830 daysnohigh BAC offenders only/yes
Kentucky0.08non/ano/no
Louisiana0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Maine0.0890 daysyes (1)no/no
Maryland0.0845 daysyes (1)no/no
Massachusetts0.0890 daysnono/yes
Michigan0.08non/ano/no
Minnesota0.0890 daysafter 15 days (1)no/no
Mississippi0.0890 daysnono/no
Missouri0.0830 daysnono/yes
Montana0.08non/ano/yes
Nebraska0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Nevada0.0890 daysafter 45 days (1)no/no
New Hampshire0.086 monthsnohigh BAC offenders only/yes
New Jersey0.08non/ahigh BAC offenders only/yes
New Mexico0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
New York0.08variable (2)yesyes (3)/yes
North Carolina0.0830 daysafter 10 days (1)high BAC offenders only/yes
North Dakota0.0891 daysafter 30 days (1)no/no
Ohio0.0890 daysafter 15 days (1)no/no
Oklahoma0.08180 daysyes (1)no/yes
Oregon0.0890 daysafter 30 days (1)yes/yes
Pennsylvania0.08non/ano/no
Rhode Island0.08non/ano/no
South Carolina0.08non/ayes/yes
South Dakota0.08non/ano/no
Tennessee0.08non/ano/no
Texas0.0890 daysyes (1)no/yes
Utah0.08120 daysnoyes/yes
Vermont0.0890 daysnono/no
Virginia0.087 daysnohigh BAC offenders only/yes
Washington0.0890 daysyes (1)yes/yes
West Virginia0.086 monthsafter 30 days (1)high BAC offenders only/yes
Wisconsin0.086 monthsyes (1)high BAC offenders only (3)/yes
Wyoming0.0890 daysyes (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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