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Which States Have the Harshest DUI Laws?

wine-glass-with-handcuffs-xs.jpgAs a drunk driving attorney, I often monitor the DUI laws of other states. In particular, I have recently researched which states have the harshest DUI laws. Out of all 50 states, Arizona is ranked the highest.

Michigan is ranked as one of the least strict states. Here is a side-by-side comparison of how Arizona drunk driving laws compare with Michigan's first time offenders.



MinimumMandatory Jail Sentence

10 - 90 days

No minimum, mandatory jailsentence for themost first time DUI offenders

Administrative License Suspension

3 months

3 months for the lowest DUI offense of Operating While Visibly Impaired

Ignition Interlock Device Mandatory

Mandatory for first conviction BAC .08%

Nonefor first conviction of Operating While Visibly Impaired or Operating While Intoxicated. Mandatory for High BAC (.17% or higher)

Additional Penalties  for High BAC

0.15%BAC or higher -additional penalties applicable

0.17%or higher -additional penalties applicable

Minimum StatutoryFine



Average Insurance RateIncrease



Sobriety Checkpoints



Behind Arizona are Alaska, Connecticut, and West Virginia. On average, each state requires at minimum one day in jail, 3 months license suspension, and an ignition interlock device installation.

Which States Have the Most Lenient DUI Laws?

Pennsylvania and Montana have some of the most lenient DUI laws. In Pennsylvania, first time offenders who have a BAC of .10% or less face no jail time if charged with a DUI. Convicted first time drunk drivers are required to pay a fine of $300 and court costs. Their driving privileges are also not suspended or revoked. In Montana, the average conviction for a DUI occurs when a person's BAC is .16%.

DUI Penalties Overseas

Drunk driving penalties in other countries greatly vary in comparison to the U.S. For example, in Australia, the names of drunk drivers are published in local newspapers under the heading "He's Drunk and in Jail." In Malaysia, the drunk driver is jailed in addition to his wife being jailed. In Russia, a drunk driver loses his license for life.

Opponents of harsh drunk driving laws believe that such penalties do not work. In particular, some opponents of harsher DUI laws believe that lowering BAC levels will not make driving any safer.

So what is the solution? DUI attorneys typically say that short of permanent incarceration, it is nearly impossible to stop people who habitually drink excessively from driving if they've made up their minds to do so. Leave the DUI limit at 0.08 BAC and focus law enforcement activity on removing high-BAC drivers from the road and putting them into treatment programs that address the core issue: their problem drinking. More highway tragedies will be prevented and fewer innocent lives will be turned upside down.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in the Ann Arbor area, contact my law office for a consultation. I can review your case and provide you with guidance on how to best proceed in preparing a criminal defense.


Strictest And Most Lenient States On DUI

Drunk Driving Penalties in Other Countries

There Are Better Ways to Keep Drunk Drivers Off the Road

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