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State DUI Penalties

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What Types of DUI Penalties Are Currently in Place?

The following is a general list of the types of penalties in place throughout the country: 

  • Jail time – amount of time depends on dangerousness of DUI event and history of behavior
  • Fines – typically a minimum of $2000 or more depending on jurisdiction
  • Community service – typically set by individual judges although may be subject to state regulations
  • Administrative license suspension and/or revocation
  • Mandatory alcohol education and/or assessment/treatment
  • Vehicle impounding or confiscation
  • Installation of ignition interlock

Will I Be Fined More Money if I Am Caught DUI More than Once?

Many states statutorily require that a person receives bigger and bigger financial penalties each time they Drive Under the Influence (DUI).  The reasoning is that eventually a person will start to feel the financial pinch and stop DUI.  Subsequent offenses have stiffer penalties

Will I Receive More Jail Time if I Am Caught DUI More than Once?

Many states statutorily require that a person receives more and more jail time each time they are stopped DUI.  Subsequent offenses have various stiffer penalties.

What Is an Administrative License Suspension or Revocation Law?

These laws require that the DMV take away or suspend the license of a DUI offender.  This penalty is separate and distinct from any jail time or fine the offender may face.  These penalties may be imposed for those that fail to submit to mandatory consent testing.  Most states revoke or suspend a license from 90 days to a year on a first offense, nine months to one year on a second offense, and one to four years on a third offense  

What Is Mandatory Alcohol Education and Treatment?

These penalties require DUI offenders to attend alcohol and/or treatment programs.  These classes teach about alcohol dependency and the consequences of DUI.  These classes also assist people with alcohol  and drug addictions and medically get over their dependency.  Sometimes attendance of the programs replaces, reduces, or is a condition to avoiding stiffer DUI penalties.  60% of states require both education and treatment.

What Is a Vehicle Impounding or Confiscation? 

Vehicle confiscation or impounding laws, which typically only apply to repeat DUI offender, allow the local DMV or local police department to seize a DUI offender’s car.  Depending on the severity of the DUI crime committed, this confiscation can be permanent or for a limited period of time.  Offenders usually must pay all costs associated with the confiscation. Half of all states prohibit confiscation on constitutional grounds.  A quarter of states allow confiscation only on a third offense. 

What Is an Ignition Interlock?

A vehicle ignition interlock is a breath-testing device which measures a vehicle operator's BAC.  This device prevents operation of a vehicle if more than a predetermined level of alcohol is detected when the operator blows and tries to start the vehicle.  65% of states allow installation of these devices.  Some states reject the use these devices as unconstitutional. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 11-09-2016 07:32 PM PST

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