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Drunk Driving Laws

All states define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, but specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state.

42 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver's license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test. Most of these states allow limited driving privileges (such as to/from work).

Learn More About Drunk Driving

State Laws
   Drug Impaired Driving
   Sobriety Checkpoints

Issue Brief

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

All states have some type of ignition interlock law, in which judges require all or some convicted drunk drivers to install interlocks in their cars to analyze their breath and disable the engine if alcohol is detected. 20 states* (and 4 California counties) have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders.
*We defer to our State Highway Safety Office members' interpretation of the law. Some groups may have a higher count.

Federal law mandates that states adopt open container and repeat offender laws meeting specific requirements. Otherwise, a portion of the state's surface transportation funding is transferred to the state DOT or State Highway Safety Office.

Alcohol exclusion laws allow insurance companies to deny payment for treatment of drunk drivers' injuries, but they have limited doctors' abilities to diagnose alcohol problems and recommend treatment. Some states have repealed such laws.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drunk driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

State Inc. Penalty for High BAC Admin. License Susp. on 1st Offense Limited Driving Privileges During Susp. Ignition Interlocks Vehicle and License Plate Sanctions Alcohol Exclusion Laws Limiting Treatment
*Meeting Federal Requirements
Ala. .15 90 days   Mandatory for repeat convictions   Pending review by NHTSA & FHWA Pending review by NHTSA & FHWA Yes
Alaska .15
(at judges' disc.)
90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle impoundment     Yes
Ariz. .15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Immobilization or impoundment Yes   Yes
Ark. .15 6 months Yes Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation   Yes Yes
Calif. .15 4 months After 30 days Discretionary

Mandatory for all convictions in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties (pilot project)
Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes   Yes
Colo. .17 3 months Yes Highly incentivized for all convictions   Yes Yes  
Conn. .16 90 days Yes Mandatory for all convictions     Yes  
Del. .16 3 months   Mandatory for all convictions
(eff. 2/2015)
Vehicle sanction and license plate impoundment   Yes Yes
D.C. .20 and .25 2-90 days or until disposition Yes Discretionary   Yes Yes  
Fla. .20 6 months for DUI After 30 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) convictions Impoundment, vehicle forfeiture Yes Yes Yes
12 months for refusal After 90 days
Ga. .15 1 year Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Guam From .08 to .10         Yes Yes  
Hawaii .15 3 months After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions   Yes Yes Yes
Idaho .20 90 days After 30 days Discretionary   Yes Yes Yes
Ill. .16 6 months After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes Yes  
Ind. .15 180 days After 30 days Discretionary Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes  
Iowa .15 180 days After 30 days Discretionary   Yes Yes  
Kan. .15 30 days   Mandatory for all convictions   Yes Yes Yes
Ky. .18 30 - 120 days Yes Discretionary Impoundment Yes Yes Yes
La. 1 .15 and .20 See footnote   Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation     Yes
Maine .15 90 days Yes Highly incentivized for all convictions
(eff. 12/2013)
Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes  
Md. .15 45 days Yes, under certain circum-
stances
Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) convictions   Yes Yes  
Mass. .20 (applies to ages 17-21) 90 days Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Mich. 2 .17 See footnote After 45 days Mandatory for high BAC convictions, restricted driving conditions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Minn. .20 90 days After 15 days Mandatory for high BAC and repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation, special plates/
markings
Yes   Yes
Miss.   90 days   Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation   Yes Yes
Mo. .15 90 days After 0 days w/ interlock use (restricted)

After 30 days
(restricted)
Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle forfeiture or impoundment (cities w/ 100,000+ allowed to enact ordinance)   Yes Yes
Mont. .16     Mandatory for repeat convictions Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes   Yes
Neb. .15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle immobilization, continuous alcohol monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Nev. .18 90 days After 45 days Discretionary   Yes Yes  
N.H. .16 6 months   Mandatory for high BAC convictions   Yes Yes Yes
N.J. .10     Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions   Yes Yes Yes
N.M. .16 (w/ mand. jail on all offenses) <21: 1 yr.;
>21: 6 mo.
Immediately w/ Ignition Interlock Mandatory for all convictions Immobilization of vehicle for driving while revoked Yes   Yes
N.Y. .18 Yes Yes Mandatory for all convictions   Yes Yes Yes
N.C. .15 30 days After 10 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes  
N.D. .18 91 days After 30 days Discretionary Vehicle confiscation, license plate removal Yes Yes Yes
M.P.   30 days -
<6 months
      Yes Yes  
Ohio .17 90 days After 15 days Discretionary Impoundment, vehicle confiscation or immobilization, restricted plates Yes   Yes
Okla. .15 180 days Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15), repeat convictions, and refusals   Yes Yes Yes
Ore. .15 90 days After 30 days Mandatory for all convictions and diversions   Yes Yes  
Pa. 3 .16   See footnote Mandatory for repeat convictions   Yes Yes Yes
R.I. .10 and .15     Judicial discretion on 2rd or subsequent conviction Judicial discretion on 3rd or subsequent conviction Yes    
S.C. .15 1 month (for >.15 BAC) Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
S.D. 4 .17 See footnote Yes Discretionary   Yes    
Tenn. .20     Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation   Yes Yes
Texas .15 90 days if .08 or greater; 180 days for refusal Yes Mandatory for repeat convictions Vehicle confiscation Yes Yes Yes
Utah .16 120 days   Mandatory for all convictions Impoundment Yes Yes Yes
Vt.   90 days   Discretionary Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes   Yes
V.I.   Variable Yes   Revoke license plate Yes Yes  
Va. .15 and .20 7 days   Mandatory for all convictions Vehicle confiscation   Yes Yes
Wash. .15 90 days With an ignition interlock driver’s license Mandatory for all convictions Mandatory tow and 12 hour impound Yes    
W.Va. .15 6 months After 30 days Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions     Yes Yes
Wis. .17, .20 and .25 6 months Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions   Yes Yes Yes
Wy. .15 90 days Yes Mandatory for high BAC (>.15) and repeat convictions       Yes
Total States 48 + D.C., 1 Terr. 42 + D.C., 2 Terr. 36 + D.C., 1 Terr. Mandatory For
All (20)
High BAC (4)
Repeat (8)
High BAC & Repeat (7)

Disc.:
11 + D.C.
Varies 30 + 3 Terr. 26 + D.C., 3 Terr. 37
1 Louisiana requires a 45 day hard suspension of driving privileges for a second DWI conviction.
2 Michigan has administrative license suspension for for refusal to submit to chemical test.
3 Pennsylvania uses a program called Occupational Limited Licenses (OLL).
4 South Dakota has administrative license suspension for 30 days for refusal to submit to chemical test.

Sources: Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and State Highway Safety Offices.