DUI Consequences and Penalties: Everything about DUI

By Randy Luton | Last Updated: 06/06/2024

Key Insights:

  • Driving under the influence is not only dangerous, it is also a crime in our country.
  • DUI can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on different factors.
  • DUI consequences include arrest, jail time, and higher insurance rates.
  • The first-time offenders might get some lenient punishment depending on the state.
  • Every state has its own rules and laws for DUI offenders.

Did You Know? Every day more than 35 people die in the USA because of drunk driving crashes. Driving under the influence is one of the most common criminal offenses that most Americans are accused of. Even though DUI does not seem like a big crime, Consequences of dui are huge, especially for the middle class and lower class drivers.

RateForce has decided to write this detailed guide for everyone to help you understand what exactly is DUI, its consequences, state dui laws, and everything else. Keep reading till the end to know some effective ways to save money after a DUI on record.

What is DUI?

DUI stands for; Driving Under the Influence and it is considered a misdemeanor or felony based on the circumstances. It is an offense of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. In simple terms; DUI means if a driver gets caught drinking and driving, the amount of toxicity in your blood higher than the amount that makes it unsafe to operate any vehicle.

Every state has its own allowed blood alcohol content level. In general, if the BAC of the driver is higher than the range of .05% to .08% then the driver will get punished under the state laws of DUI.

Is DUI a Felony?

There are a lot of factors that affect the final decision in this case like age of the driver, the mental state, the physical state, etc.

A first-time DUI driver might get a misdemeanor but in the consequent cases, it will be a felony. Even based on the level of toxication the driver might get punished for a felony for the first time only.

If an officer gives you a DUI ticket then also you can go to court to prove that it was a misdemeanor and to get it revoked from your records.

What Happens for Your First DUI Offense?

DUI laws vary a lot from state to state. Some states have lenient punishment for first-time DUI offenders while others do not have a separate section for first-time or N-time offenders. In most cases, there are a lot of other factors that affect your punishment as a first-time offender like your age, your experience on road, your driving record, etc.

As a result; we have tried to cover the general scenario of what happens with the first-time DUI offense:

  • You will have to pay a fine as per the limit of your state and your BAC level.
  • You might get jail time from 2 days to 180 days.
  • Your driving license will get suspended from 24 hours to 1 year.
  • Your vehicle will be impounded for a specific period.
  • You will have to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

DUI Laws by State

Every state has its own laws and rules for DUI, some are a bit lenient with the DUI drivers and others are too strict. To help you have a better understanding we have listed out all the requirements of a DUI driver for every state of our country:

StateMinimum JailFines & FeesMinimum License SuspensionIgnition Interlock Device
AlabamaNot requiredBetween $600 to $2,1003 months or 90 daysNot required
AlaskaAt least 72 hours$1,500Minimum. 90 daysRequired
ArizonaAt Least 24 hours$250 base fine90 to 360 daysRequired
ArkansasFrom 24 hours to 1 year$150 to $1,0006 monthsRequired
CaliforniaFrom 4 days to 6 months$1,400 to $2,60030 days to 10 monthsRequired, in some areas
ColoradoUp to 1 year in case of DUIUp to $1,000 (DUI), or up to $500 (DWAI)9 months (DUI), none for DWAINot required
ConnecticutFrom 2 days up to 6 months$500 to $1,0001 yearNot required
DelawareMaximum 6 months$500 to $1,15001 to 2 yearsNot required
D.C.Maximum 90 days$300 to $1,1006 monthsNot required
FloridaFrom 6 to 9 months$500 to $2,000180 days to 1 yearRequired
GeorgiaFrom 24 hours to 1 year$300 to $1,000Up to 1 yearNot required
HawaiiNone$150 to $1,00090 daysNot required
IdahoMaximum 6 monthsUp to $1,00090 to 180 daysNot required
IllinoisMaximum 1 yearUp to $2,500Min. 1 yearRequired
IndianaFrom 60 days to 1 year$500 to $5,000Up to 2 yearsNot required
IowaFrom 48 hours up to 1 year$625 to $1,200180 daysRequired, if BAC above .10
Kansas48 hour minimum$750 to $1,00030 daysRequired
KentuckyNot required$600 to $2,10090 daysNot required
LouisianaFrom 2 days to 6 months$1,00090 daysPossible
Maine30 days$50090 daysNot required
MarylandMaximum 1 year in case of DUIUp to $1,000 DUIMin 6 months (DUI & DWI)Not required
MassachusettsUp to 30 months$500 to $5,0001 yearNot required
MichiganUp to 93 daysFrom $100 to $500Up to 6 monthsPossible
MinnesotaMaximum 90 days$1,000Up to 90 daysRequired
MississippiMaximum 48 hours$250 to $1,00090 daysNot required
MissouriUp to 6 monthsUp to $50030 daysPossible
MontanaFrom 2 days to 6 months$300 to $1,0006 monthsPossible
NebraskaFrom 7 to 60 daysUp to $500Up to 60 daysNot required
NevadaFrom 2 days to 6 months$400 to $1,00090 daysPossible
New HampshireNot required$500 to $1,2006 monthsNot required
New JerseyMaximum 30 days$250 to $5003 months to 1 yearPossible
New MexicoMaximum 90 daysUp to $500Up to 1 yearRequired
New YorkNone$500 to $1,0006 monthsRequired
North Carolina24 hours (for level 5 offender) (however, if 3 aggravated factors are present then it will be Level 1A with minimum of 12 months)$200 (for level 5 offender)60 days to 1 yearNot required
North DakotaNot required$500 to $75091 to 180 daysNot required
Ohio3 days to 6 months$250 to $1,0006 months to 3 yearsNot required
Oklahoma5 days to 1 yearUp to $1,00030 daysNot required
Oregon2 days or 80 hours community services$1,000 to $6,2501 yearRequired
PennsylvaniaNone$300NoRequired, if refusal to take chemical test
Rhode IslandUp to 1 year$100 to $5002 to 18 monthsNot required
South Carolina48 hours to 90 days$400 to $1,0006 monthsNot required
South DakotaMaximum 1 year$1,00030 days to 1 yearNot required
Tennessee48 hours up to 11 months$350 to $1,5001 yearRequired
Texas3 to 180 daysUp to $2,00090 to 365 daysNot required
Utah48 hours minimum$700 min.120 daysNot required
VermontMaximum 2 yearsUp to $75090 daysNot required
VirginiaMinimum 5 daysMin. $2501 yearRequired (if BAC .15 or above)
WashingtonFrom 24 hours to 1 year$865.50 to $5,00090 days to 1 yearRequired
West VirginiaMaximum 6 months$100 to $1,00015 to 45 daysPossible
WisconsinNone$150 to $3006 to 9 monthsNot required
WyomingMaximum 6 monthsUp to $75090 daysRequired – if BAC .15 or above

DUI Consequences

Now comes the most important part; what will be the consequences of driving under the influence in any state?

  • Jail Time
    If a driver gets arrested for a DUI type offense then he or she might have to spend time in jail. The jail time will be decided by the court based on the BAC level and other factors.
  • The Expense of Attorney Fees
    You are asked to be present in front of the court on a specific date and the judge will decide your fine and jail time. You will have to hire an attorney to represent you in court so that you don’t get much higher fines and jail time.
  • Expect Immediate Financial Liability
    Your financial liability will increase immediately as you will be declared as an unsafe driver for the insurance companies.
  • Restrictions on Your Driving Privileges
    The court will decide the restrictions you will get on your driving privileges; in most cases, you will not be allowed to drive after late evening or during high traffic days. You might not be allowed to drive on weekends or during holidays.
  • Expect to Pay More Money for Car Insurance
    Be ready to do your research on cheap car insurance in your state because your insurance premium will increase to a huge extent. As you will be on the list of unsafe drivers; your insurance company will ask you to pay higher premiums. In some cases, insurance companies even decline the renewal of the policy for such drivers.
  • Expect to Be Placed on Probation
    You will have to go to the assigned police station at regular time intervals for a specific duration. It can be days, months, or years to sign your attendance and prove you are a responsible driver now.
  • Be Ready to Attend an Alcohol Education Program
    In case you get caught more than once or your blood alcohol content level was too much higher, then you will be required to attend an alcohol education program.
  • Be Ready to Complete a Formal Alcohol or Substance Use Disorder Evaluation
    The court will ask you to undergo a medical evaluation to check if you have an alcohol or substance abuse disorder. In this evaluation, they will check if you have any mental problems that are pushing you to take alcohol or any other substance in high amounts.
  • Be Ready To Undergo Substance Use Disorder Treatment
    If the medical attendant and court find out that you have substance abuse disorder then you will have to undergo treatment for that. Until a doctor gives you a clean chit you will have to continue the treatment.
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DUI vs DWI: What’s the Difference?

We all know that DUI stands from Driving Under the Influence. On the other hand; DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired. The difference between DUI vs DWI varies a lot from state to state. In some states, DUI and DWI are considered similar, and in others, they are considered separate felonies.

In some states, DUI only covers driving under the influence of Alcohol. While in the case of DWI, the driver is not able to operate the vehicle properly because of some prescribed or not prescribed drugs that are affecting his or her brain.

The definition of DUI and DWI might be different in your state too. It is always recommended to clear both the terms with your insurance agency before buying a policy.

FAQs About DUI

  • Which is the most common DUI penalties?

    The common DUI penalties in every state for drivers are fine, license suspension, jail time, and community service.

  • Which state has the toughest penalties for DUI?

    Arizona is the toughest state when it comes to penalties for DUI. the driver will lose his or her driving privilege at the moment he or she gets caught driving under the influence.

  • Which state has the weakest DUI laws?

    South Dakota, the driver will get no jail time, no license suspension, or even no vehicle impoundment.

  • What drugs are considered under DUI laws?

    Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, etc are the drugs that affect the driving ability and result in reckless driving.

  • Do I have to appear before the court for DUI?

    Yes. In most states; DUI is considered a criminal felony and the driver is required to report to the court.

Over To You!

More than 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI every year. DUI can be a huge problem when it comes to renewing your insurance policy. Drivers with DUI on records are required to pay way more than the other drivers.

RateForce knows that you are looking for ways to get cheap car insurance rates this year. The best way to get affordable car insurance is to shop around and compare the rates of insurance policies with different companies.

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  • Checked the NHTSA website to see the statistics of accidents caused by DUI drivers.
  • Referred to Wikipedia to understand the laws and impact of DUI in different states of our country.
  • Referred to One DUI to check the facts related to Driving Under the influence rules and laws.
  • Checked the website of the Driving Laws to understand the state-wise laws for DUI drivers.

Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

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Randy Luton is the Founder and CEO of RateForce. He is passionate about InsurTech services and has in-depth knowledge about the auto insurance sector of the USA.