All 50 states and the District of Columbia have what is called per se DWI laws, which establish that a blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit higher than 0.08% is evidence of DWI based on that fact alone.
Laws vary from state to state as far as how harsh or how lenient DWI penalties may be. From how much jail time a person will serve to how long license suspension after a DWI conviction lasts, the laws can swing widely.
Below, the states with the harshest DUI laws are broken down, as ranked by the money-saving website Wallet Hub.
# 5. Oklahoma (Tied with #4)
Oklahoma is a state that has mandatory jail time for even a first-time DUI. A DUI conviction will net the driver a 10-day jail stay. Oklahoma doesn’t stop there. They also suspend the person’s license for 180 days upon arrest, making that penalty the harshest in the United States.
#4. Kansas (Tied with #5)
Kansas might not meet Oklahoma’s penalties when it comes to jail time, but the state is no pushover when it comes to the fines to be paid for a DUI. DUI fines range from $750-$1000. It doesn’t stop there, either. Next, there’s a fee to reinstate a person’s license after DUI, costing $200. As if that didn’t hit a person’s wallet hard enough, the ignition interlock device comes next, costing about $1000.
Alaska is no lightweight when it comes to DUI penalties. The first is a mandatory 3-day jail term, followed by a 90-day license suspension for first-time offenders. To get that license back, there’s a fee of up to $500, and a person might find themselves having to pass written and road tests once again. Alaska also has a 15-year period for previous DUIs, as opposed to the 10-year period for most other states.
When considering the possible penalties alone, Georgia may well have the harshest DUI laws in the country. It begins with a minimum of a 10-day jail term for first-time DUI offenders, followed by a license suspension of a full year. The fines are pretty harsh, too. A first-time DUI will cost up to $1,500. A second offense and a person will face a 90-day jail term and license suspension for up to three years.
Arizona has the strictest DUI laws for first-time offenders in the country. First, the fees for a conviction run around $1,450. Next, the state has a mandatory ignition-interlock installation for even first-time offenders, which must remain in place for 12 months. Arizona follows that up with mandatory jail time lasting up to 10 days.
Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In these states, it can cost not only a lot of money, but it will also likely land you in jail. Always make sure you have a designated driver or another way home.