DWI/DUI Laws of U.S. States

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have per se laws defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a proscribed level, 0.08 percent.

License suspension or revocation traditionally follows conviction for alcohol-impaired driving. Under a procedure called administrative license suspension, licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Because administrative license suspension laws are independent of criminal procedures and are invoked right after arrest, they've been found to be more effective than traditional post-conviction sanctions. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have administrative license suspension laws.

Forty-five states permit some offenders to drive only if their vehicles have been equipped with ignition interlocks. These devices analyze a driver's breath and disable the ignition if the driver has been drinking.

In 30 states, multiple offenders may forfeit vehicles that are driven while impaired by alcohol. Forty-three states and Washington D.C. have laws prohibiting the driver, passengers or both from possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

State

BAC Defined as illegal per se

Administrative license suspension 1st offense? 1 Restore driving privileges during suspension? 1, 2 Do penalties include interlock / forfeiture? 3 Open container laws

AL

0.08

90 days

no

no/no

driver / passenger

AK

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver

AZ

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

AR

0.08

120 days

yes

yes/yes

--

CA

0.08

4 months

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

CO

0.08

3 months

yes

yes/no

--

CT

0.08

90 days

yes

no/no

--

DE

0.08

3 months

no

yes/no

--

DC

0.08

2-90 days

yes

yes/no

driver / passenger

FL

0.08

6 months

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

GA

0.08

1 year

yes

yes/yes

driver / passenger

HI

0.08

3 months

after 30 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

ID

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

IL

0.08

3 months

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

IN

0.08

180 days

after 30 days

yes/no

driver 4

IA

0.08

180 days

after 90 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

KS

0.08

30 days

no

yes/no

driver

KY

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver / passenger

LA

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

ME

0.08

90 days

yes

yes/yes

driver / passenger

MD

0.08

45 days

yes

yes/no

driver / passenger

MA

0.08

90 days

no

no/no

driver / passenger

MI

0.08 5

--

--

yes/yes

driver / passenger

MN

0.08
(eff. 08/01/05)

90 days

after 15 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

MS

0.08

90 days

no

yes/yes

--

MO

0.08

30 days

no

yes/yes

--

MT

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver / passenger

NE

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

NV

0.08

90 days

after 45 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

NH

0.08

6 months

no

yes/no

driver / passenger

NJ

0.08

--

--

yes/no

driver / passenger

NM

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/no

driver / passenger

NY

0.08

variable 6

yes

yes/yes

driver / passenger

NC

0.08

30 days

after 10 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

ND

0.08

91 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

OH

0.08

90 days

after 15 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

OK

0.08

180 days

yes

yes/yes

driver

OR

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

PA

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver / passenger

RI

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver

SC

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver / passenger

SD

0.08

--

--

no/no

driver / passenger

TN

0.08

--

--

yes/yes

driver 7

TX

0.08

90 days

yes

yes/yes

driver / passenger

UT

0.08

90 days

no

yes/no

driver / passenger

VT

0.08

90 days

no

no/yes

driver / passenger

VA

0.08

7 days

no

yes/yes

 

WA

0.08

90 days

after 30 days

yes/yes

driver / passenger

WV

0.08

6 months

after 30 days

yes/no

--

WI

0.08

6 months

yes

yes/yes

driver / passenger

WY

0.08

90 days

yes

no/no

driver

1. Information pertains to drivers in violation of the BAC defined as illegal per se for all drivers, not the special BAC for young drivers.
2. Drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship to justify restoring privileges during suspension, and then privileges often are restricted.

3. A multiple offender's vehicle may be seized and disposed.
4. In Indiana, the open container restriction only applies if the driver has a BAC of 0.04.
5. The 0.08 per se BAC law in Michgan contains a sunset clause which states that the legal BAC will revert to 0.10 on October 1, 2013.
6. In New York, administrative license suspension lasts until prosecution is complete.
7. In Tennessee, the open container law does not prohibit any municipality, by ordinance, or any county, by resolution, from prohibiting passengers from possessing an open container.

Note: All of the above material below the title is copyrighted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. 1 Data are correct as of July, 2004.

References and Readings

filed under: Drinking and Driving

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