Which States Have the Strictest DUI Laws?

Which States Have the Strictest DUI Laws?

August 28, 2019

DUI laws vary from state to state across the United States, and some are far stricter than others with how they penalize offenders. One recent study by WalletHub analyzed the rules each state has in place based on several important metrics, including the requirements for ignition interlock devices, minimum jail sentences and how they treat first-time offenders, among others.

So, which states came out as being the strictest and the most lenient? Let’s take a quick look at some DUI law facts.

The strictest state for DUIs: Arizona

Arizona turned out to be the strictest state in the United States for DUIs based on WalletHub’s metrics. It features the longest minimum jail term for a first-time offender (10 days), and second-time offenders face a minimum 90-day jail sentence and a vehicle impound. A third offense makes a DUI an automatic felony.

In addition, a first conviction will result in a mandate for the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). This means anyone who has had a DUI will, at least for a certain period of time, have to blow into the IID before the vehicle is able to start up. Offenders are required to pay for the installation of that IID in their vehicle.

Following Arizona, the strictest states on DUI were Alaska, Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

The most lenient state for DUIs: South Dakota

South Dakota was the most lenient state in the nation for DUIs, with no minimum sentence for first or second offenses. A third DUI is classified as a felony in the state, but there still isn’t any automatic license suspension, vehicle impound or ignition interlock device required.

The other states that came out as being the most lenient in the study include Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Nationwide information

First-time offenders across the nation face an average of a day in jail, with 21 days being the average for a second-timer. There are 37 states that require alcohol abuse assessment or treatment. “Red states” that tend to vote Republican also tend to be stricter on DUIs, with blue states tending to be more lenient.

While all states adhere to the national standard of .08 percent as being the legal limit, the laws and penalties can vary quite widely. There are 24 states that have a mandatory IID installed in a vehicle after a first arrest with more than a .08 BAC. In 14 other states, it’s only mandatory after a .15 BAC. In seven states the device only becomes mandatory after a second offense, and in six states the device is never required at all.

For more information about the various DUI laws around the country, or for assistance with your own case, we encourage you to contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Cincinnati, OH at Herzner Law, LLC. We’d be happy to discuss the particulars of your case and are committed to providing sound, responsible legal counsel to each of our clients.

Categorised in: