• Justin Sparks

Which State Has the Toughest DUI Laws?

One thing that all of the states can agree on is that drunk driving is a huge no. However, the way in which the states handle drunk driving cases is different. Every state has many different DUI laws that govern the jail time, fines, and other penalties that its residents will endure should they drive while under the influence.


Toughest DUI Law for Intoxication

Toughest DUI Law for Intoxication


Almost every state defines intoxication in the DUI laws as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above 0.08. In order for an individual to get a more accurate idea of what intoxicated is for them, they can use a BAC calculator.


However, in 2017, Utah adopted one of the strictest DUI laws in the nation by lowering the blood alcohol content standard level to 0.05 BAC. This drop means that even a slightly strong drink could consider an individual as too drunk, depending on their weight and tolerance to alcohol. While most European countries have similar definitions of intoxication, this new law was considered extreme according to American standards, and it took effect on December 30, 2018.


Toughest DUI Law for Underage Drinkers


Additionally, individuals who are underage and driving with even the smallest amount of alcohol in their blood will also be charged with a DUI. A majority of states have defined a zero-tolerance underage BAC as 0.02, but there are certain states that consider any trace of alcohol to be a reason for a DUI. Therefore, the states that have the toughest DUI laws for underage drinkers are:


  • Arizona

  • Alaska

  • Maine

  • Minnesota

  • Illinois

  • Oregon

  • North Carolina

  • Washington D.C


Toughest DUI Law for High BAC Levels


There are also states that have imposed DUI Laws with much harsher penalties for those individuals with a high BAC level. A high BAC level is usually considered around double the legal limit or a 0.15 to 0.16 BAC, while a few other states have set the cutoff to as high as 0.20 BAC.


An exception to the above, however, is New Jersey, where an enhanced-penalty blood alcohol concentration level is considered to be only 0.10 BAC. In other words, an individual who decides to consume an extra drink on a night out may push them from being just under the legal intoxication limit to over the enhanced-penalty limit. This can result in extreme consequences such as jail time, heavy fines, and the loss of one’s license for as long as a year.


Which States Have the Toughest DUI Penalties?


When an individual is convicted of a DUI, they may get hit with several different kinds of penalties, like fines and jail time. However, different states dish out different penalties, and some are harsher than others.


  • Jail Time – the minimum prison sentence for a first-time DUI offender is usually quite short and lies somewhere between one day and five days. However, Georgia and Arizona DUI laws require DUI offenders to have a minimum sentence of 10 days for a first-time offense.


In West Virginia, second-time DUI offenders have to spend at least 180 days in jail, and this is considered to be one of the longest minimum sentences for a second DUI offense.


  • Fines – Those who are convicted of a DUI should be prepared to spend, spend, and then spend again. On average, a first-time offender’s DUI fine is considered to be $347, but court fees, DMV fees, and other penalties can easily cause an individual to pay much more.


Alaska, on the other hand, imposes the highest minimum fine out of all the states for a first-time offender. This amount is a hefty $1,500.


Texas DUI Laws


Texas DUI Laws are actually referred to as DWI Laws, and these laws state that if an individual's BAC is 0.08 or over then they are considered to be driving under the influence. While there are no minimum fines for a DWI, the maximum fines under these laws are steep – up to $2,000 for a first-time DUI offense and as much as $4,000 for a second offense.


  • Minimum jail time for a first conviction is three days and 30 days for a second conviction.

  • The minimum fine for a first and second conviction is $0.

  • A license suspension for up to one year for a first conviction.

  • There is no mandatory interlock device – car breathalyzer – needed for a first conviction.

Getting a DUI can have quite an effect on a person's life. Talk to a DUI lawyer to determine if a DUI will affect credit scores or if a person will go to jail for a first time DUI in Texas.


How the Lawyers at Sparks Law Firm Can Help


Anyone who is living in the state of Texas and needs the best DUI lawyer in Fort Worth by their side can count on the legal team at Sparks Law Firm for legal representation for their DUI. These lawyers understand the penalties for a DUI and will do everything they can to help ease the penalties for their clients.


Those in search of their help can call Sparks Law Firm today at (817) 381-7846 to schedule a free consultation.