How Different US States Treat DUI Offenses


Drunk or impaired driving is considered by the courts as a serious offense. If you convicted of DUI driving, you may lose the license for a specific period of time, pay fines or end up in jail if your driving has threatened the safety of motorists. In serious cases, the DUI lawyer may not be able to dismiss the case but the sentence can be reduced to avoid jail time.

Driving while impaired due to the effects of alcohol or drugs including prescription medications are considered a crime in many states. Some states call the offense as driving under the influence (DUI) while in other states, it is called driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Arizona has the strictest laws for DUI. First offenders can be penalized with minimum jail time of 10 days. Second offenders face 90 days jail time with the vehicle impounded. For the third offense, DUI will be considered as an automatic felony. It is mandatory to install an ignition interlock device on all DUI offenses.

Other states that have the strictest DUI laws include Alaska, Connecticut, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah. Meanwhile, the least strict among the US states is South Dakota that has no minimum sentence for the first and second DUI offenses. The third DUI offense is considered a felony but there is no license suspension, vehicle impound or mandatory ignition interlock device. Other states that have lenient DUI laws include D.C., Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Maryland, Montana, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

Based on statistics, most drivers who were convicted of DUI take all necessary efforts to avoid a second conviction. However, there are chronic offenders who do not care whether they put other motorists and pedestrians at risk. Stricter DUI laws that will impose tougher penalties will hopefully change society’s attitude toward drunk driving.

Legal representation through a DUI lawyer is not cheap but the help provided to obtain a better outcome for the case is definitely worth the price paid. It is important to note that courts always consider the risks of DUI. If there are no damages, it can work as a mitigating factor to absolve the accused from liability for the offense.

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