DUI/DWI laws

January 2009

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have per se laws defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a proscribed level, 0.08 percent.

License suspension or revocation traditionally follows conviction for alcohol-impaired driving.  Under a procedure called administrative license suspension, licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test.  Because administrative license suspension laws are independent of criminal procedures and are invoked right after arrest, they've been found to be more effective than traditional post-conviction sanctions.  Administrative license suspension laws are in place in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

Some offenders in 47 states and the District of Columbia are permitted to drive only if their vehicles have been equipped with ignition interlocks.  These devices analyze a driver's breath and disable the ignition if the driver has been drinking.

In 32 states, multiple offenders may have to forfeit their vehicles.

Laws prohibiting the driver, passengers, or both from possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle are in place in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Sponsored Links