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Comparing State DUI Laws

Legal Limits of Alcohol Per State

The federal limit to legally drive in the United States is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. But drunk driving penalties are a lot like real estate values — it all comes down to location, location, location. Before you even think of getting behind the wheel after having just one drink, you should know the DUI laws of your state.

Even if you do not feel the effects of alcohol, your blood alcohol content may exceed your state's legal limit because everyone's body and alcohol tolerance is different.

Chart: Blood Alcohol Content By State

As seen in the chart below, some similarities are shared across the board. State DUI laws, however, vary across the country.

For example, while the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels are all .08, the punishments vary widely. Arizona, Tennessee, and Georgia are among the states with mandatory jail time for first offenders. On the other hand, California, Connecticut, and Indiana don't have such a requirement. Then there is Wisconsin, where a first-offense drunken driving isn't even a crime. It's a civil infraction that results in a ticket.

A note on terms in the table below: Per se BAC is the the level of blood alcohol content that means you are intoxicated under the law. Zero tolerance BAC refers to the level of intoxication considered illegal for drivers under 21. Enhanced penalty BAC is the BAC at which someone will face worse penalties. Finally, in implied consent law states, motorists are assumed to have given their consent to have their BAC tested.

State "Per Se" BAC Level "Zero Tolerance" BAC Level Enhanced Penalty BAC Level "Implied Consent" Law

Alabama

.08

.02

--

Yes

Alaska

.08

.00

.15

Yes

Arizona

.08

.00

.15

Yes

Arkansas

.08

.02

.15

Yes

California

.08

.02

.16

Yes

Colorado

.08

.02

.17

Yes

Connecticut

.08

.02

.16

Yes

Delaware

.08

.02

.15

Yes

District of Columbia

.08

.00

.15

Yes

Florida

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Georgia

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Hawaii

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Idaho

.08

.02

.20

Yes

Illinois

.08

.00

.16

Yes

Indiana

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Iowa

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Kansas

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Kentucky

.08

.02

.18

Yes

Louisiana

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Maine

.08

.00

.15

Yes

Maryland

.08

.02

--

Yes

Massachusetts

.08

.02

.20

Yes

Michigan

.08

.02

.17

Yes

Minnesota

.08

.00

.16

Yes

Mississippi

.08

.02

--

Yes

Missouri

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Montana

.08

.02

--

Yes

Nebraska

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Nevada

.08

.02

.18

Yes

New Hampshire

.08

.02

.18

Yes

New Jersey

.08

.01

.10

Yes

New Mexico

.08

.02

.16

Yes

New York

.08

.02

.18

Yes

North Carolina

.08

.00

.15

Yes

North Dakota

.08

.02

.18

Yes

Ohio

.08

.02

.17

Yes

Oklahoma

.08

.02

.17

Yes

Oregon

.08

.00

--

Yes

Pennsylvania

.08

.02

.16

Yes

Rhode Island

.08

.02

.15

Yes

South Carolina

.08

.02

.16

Yes

South Dakota

.08

.02

.17

Yes

Tennessee

.08

.02

.20

Yes

Texas

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Utah

.05

.02

.16

Yes

Vermont

.08

.02

--

Yes

Virginia

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Washington

.08

.02

.15

Yes

West Virginia

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Wisconsin

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Wyoming

.08

.02

.15

Yes

Regardless of Your State's DUI Laws, an Attorney Can Help You

DUI (or DWI, OUI, etc.) laws vary from state to state, including the license suspension procedure and penalties upon conviction. Even though the thought of hiring an attorney can be daunting, having experienced counsel by your side can make a huge difference. Don't delay; contact a local DUI attorney today.

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