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Increased Penalties for High Blood Alcohol Content

Increased Penalties for High Blood Alcohol Content

Updated November 2012

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States
Penalties
If a first time DUI offender has a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, their license will be suspended for 90 days, after which an ignition interlock will be installed in their car for 2 years. The offender is also required to receive double the minimum penalty that would have applied for a DUI with a BAC under 0.15. Section 32-5A-191(i).
Alaska
.15

If BAC ≥ .15, first offense increase from mandatory 24 hours imprisonment to mandatory 10 days. Second offense increases from mandatory 30 days to mandatory 60 days.

Arizona
For offenders who were convicted of driving with a BAC of 0.15 to 0.2, a judge may suspend all but 9 days of their jail time if they install an ignition interlock device. For drivers convicted of driving with a BAC greater than 0.2, a judge may suspend all but 14 days of their jail sentence if they install an interlock device.
Arkansas

.15

No further information.

California
.16 (or BAC of .20): License suspension for 10 months (but restricted license after one month with completion of 9-month DUI education and counseling program).

The court may order a first offender to operate only motor vehicles equipped with “ignition interlock” devices for not more than 3 years. Heightened consideration is to be given to first offenders with a BAC ≥.15 or to first offenders who refused to take a chemical test, including to grant probation participation for at least 9 months or longer in a licensed alcohol and other drug education program that consists of at least 60 hours of program activities.

First offenders who have been placed on probation and at the time of the offense had either a BAC ≥0.20 or refused to submit to a chemical test must be placed in an alcohol education/counseling program for at least 6 months.

For the purpose of imposing enhanced sanctions, the court shall consider whether either (1) the offender’s blood alcohol level was ≥0.20 or (2) the person refused to submit to a test under the implied consent law. If the BAC was below .2, the offender must participate in a 6-month licensed program, with at least 45 hours of program participation. If the BAC was > .2 or the offender refused to take a chemical test, participation in a 9-month licensed program with 60 hours of program activities is required.

Colorado
.17

Driving Under the Influence/Illegal per se – first offense 5 days; first offense 162-70 days (7 days); subsequent offense or BAC or BrAC ≥ 0.20-90 days (10 days);

Subsequent offense or BAC/BrAC≥0.20 – $500 to $1,500; community service subsequent offense or BAC/BrAC≥0.20-60 to 20
hours (60 hours mandatory).

>.17 BAC classified as “persistent drunk driver” – Mandatory ignition interlock for at least one year. No probationary-restricted license may be issued for reasons of employment/alcohol education.

Connecticut
.16

First action if BAC ≥.16 – suspension – 120 days; second action – suspension – 9 months; second action if BAC ≥.16 – suspension – 10 months. Subsequent action – suspension 2 years; subsequent action if BAC ≥.16 – suspension – 2½ years.

.16

For subsequent offenders, higher BACs will increase time of revocation.

District of Columbia
First offense:
If BAC ≥ 0.20 but < 0.25: 5 days.
If BAC > 0.25: 10 days.

Second offense (within 15 years):
If BAC ≥ 0.20 but < 0.25: 10 days.
If BAC > 0.25: 20 days.

Third and subsequent offenses (within 15 years):
If BAC ≥ 0.20 but < 0.25: 15 days.

Florida
.2

A BAC/BrAC ≥0.20 or a passenger under 18 years old (child endangerment): first offense – not more than 9 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000; second offense – not more than 12 months in jail, a fine of $1,000 to $2,000; third offense – not more than 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,000 to $5,000.

Georgia

.15

The court cannot accept a nolo contendere plea in, where the offender’s BAC or BrAC was ≥ .15.

Guam
No Information
Hawaii
 *Effective January 1, 2011, there are no increased penalties for high BAC offenders.
.20

First offense with BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20-Misdemeanor – Not more than 1 year.

Second or subsequent offense with a BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20 where there has been a previous offense at or above 0.20 within10 years – felony–Not more than 10 years.

First offense with BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20-10 days (must serve 48 consecutive hours).

First offense with BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20 – Not more than $2,000;
second offense (within 10 years) – Not more than $2,000; second or subsequent offense with a BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20 where there has been a previous offense at or above 0.20 within 10 years – Not more than $5,000.

Post conviction licensing action first offense with BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20– suspension first offense with BAC/BrAC ≥ 0.20 – 1 year after release from confinement.

Illinois
.16

In addition to any other sanctions, a person, convicted for a drunk-driving offense is subject to the following sanctions if they (1) were transporting a child < 16 years old or (2) had a BAC/BrAC ≥ .16:

First offense –100 hours community service/$500 fine.
Second offense (within 10 years) – 2 days jail/$l,250 fine.
Third offense (within 20 years) – 90 days jail/$2,500 fine.
Fourth or subsequent offense- Class 2 felony-3 to 7 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $25,000 ($2,500 mandatory) with no eligibility for probation/conditional discharge.

Indiana
.15

BAC/BrAC ≥ .15 – Class A Misdemeanor – Not more than 1 year.

Endangerment Intoxicated offense/Illegal per se offense BAC/BrAC ≥ .15 – Class A Misdemeanor – Not more than $5,000 IC35-50-3-23.

Iowa
.15

For a first offense, there is a mandatory imprisonment sentence of 48 hours and fine if the offender had a BAC/BrAC > .15.

Kansas
First offense with a BAC of 0.15 or above, – Mandatory suspension of license for 1 year and restricted driving privileges for 1 year; for second offense – Suspension 1 year and restricted driving privileges 2 years.
Kentucky
.18

A person who has been convicted of a drunk-driving offense is subject to enhanced mandatory incarceration if driving with a BAC ≥ .18.

Louisiana
.15, .20

Blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent – at least 48 hours of the sentence shall be served without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.

Blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent – fined $1,000 and at least 96 hours of the sentence shall be served without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.

.15

Generally, imprisonment is not necessary for a first offense. However, a minimum of 48 hours imprisonment mandatory if BAC ≥ .15.

Maryland
.15. If a vehicle operator has a BAC of 0.15 or more at the time of testing, the driver is ineligible for modification of a license suspension or issuance of a restrictive license.
Massachusetts
.20 (age 17 through age 20)

If BAC was > .20 or if a repeat violation, the violator shall complete an assessment and alcohol treatment of the level of the offender’s addiction to alcohol or drugs, and the department’s recommended course of treatment.

Michigan
.17
For offenders where the BAC is ≥ .17, the offender must install an ignition interlock device.
Minnesota
.20

Unless maximum bail is imposed, a person charged with a drunk driving or implied consent offense where the offender has been charged with driving with an alcohol concentration ≥ 0.20 can be released from detention only by agreeing to abstain from alcohol use and to submit to daily monitoring of alcohol levels.

Mississippi
No increased penalties.
Missouri
.15

For persons who have violated the administrative per se law, driving privileges cannot be restored until they have successfully completed an alcohol or drug education or rehabilitation program. For cause, the court may modify or waive this requirement unless the offender’s BAC/BrAC was ≥.15.

If a driver's license has been either suspended or revoked under the point system for a drunk driving offense, such license cannot be reinstated until the driver completes a substance abuse program. For cause, the court may modify or waive this requirement unless the offender’s BAC/BrAC was ≥ .15.

Montana
.16
.18

First offense with BAC 0.15 or above, mandatory 120 hours of community service and (1 year license suspension or revocation). Second offense within 12 years if BAC is 0.15 or above, jail for 10 days or 240 hours of community service.

If a driver that has a prior felony conviction for driving with a BAC of over 0.15 is caught driving with a BAC higher than 0.02, on top of any other penalties, the act is a Class IIIA misdemeanor.

Nevada
.18

Alcohol treatment is mandatory for first offense if BAC/BrAC is ≥ .18.

New Hampshire
.16

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated Offense: Driving with a BAC/BrAC ≥.16. First offense is Class A misdemeanor.

Driving without high BAC is a violation instead of a crime.

New Jersey
.15. Installation of ignition interlock mandatory for an offender with a BAC of 0.15 or more.
New Mexico
.16

Aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs consists of a person who has an alcohol concentration of .16 or more in the blood or breath while a vehicle. First offense – 48 consecutive hours mandatory minimum imprisonment.

New York
.18

BAC > 0.18 – “Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated”: fine $1,000 to $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year or both; driver’s license revocation – one year (18 months for a second offense within 10 years) if probation granted for first offense, it must be accompanied by ignition interlock for the duration of the probation.

North Carolina
.16

The level of punishment given a DWI offender is determined by weighing aggravating factors (e.g., BAC ≥..16, reckless/dangerous driving, negligent driving resulting in an accident or driving with a revoked license) and mitigating factors.

Persons eligible for restricted driving privileges may be required to operate motor vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device. This requirement is mandatory if the BAC was ≥.16. If convicted of .16 BAC and restricted license is issued with ignition interlock—the driver must never have over .04 BAC.

North Dakota

.18

If BAC > .18, mandatory pre-DWI conviction license suspension increases from 30 to 80 days for first offense, increases from 1 to 2 years for second offense, and from 2 to 3 years for third or subsequent offense.

If BAC > .18, mandatory post-DWI conviction license suspension increases from 91 days to 180 for first offense, from 365 days to 2 years for second offense, and 2 to 3 years for third or subsequent offense.

.17

For illegal per se offenses with a BAC ≥.17: First offense – 3 consecutive days in jail with 3 consecutive days of a driver’s intervention program or 6 consecutive days in jail; Second offense (within 6 years) – 20 consecutive days (Alternative: 10 consecutive days in jail and not less than 36 consecutive days “house arrest” with electronic monitoring”).

Oklahoma
.15

Aggravated Driving: A person is guilty of Aggravated Driving if convicted of driving under the influence with a BAC/BrAC ≥.15. The following sanctions are imposed and such do not preclude other
possible punishments: mandatory minimum treatment for 28 days (inpatient) with1 year aftercare; 480 hours of community service; and, ignition interlock use for a minimum of 30 days.

Oregon
.15

The court shall impose a fine of a minimum of $2,000 if a person is convicted of driving a vehicle with .15 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood as shown by a chemical analysis of the blood or breath.

Pennsylvania
.16

High rate of alcohol: .01 to < .16

First offense -imprisonment of not less than 48consecutive hours nor more than six months, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements.

Second offense – imprisonment of not less than 30 days nor more than six months, a fine of not less than $750 nor more than $5,000, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements.

Highest rate of alcohol: .16

First offense – imprisonment of not less than 72 consecutive hours nor more than six months; a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol
treatment requirements.

Second offense – imprisonment of not less than 90 days nor more than five years, a fine of not less than $1,500, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements

Puerto Rico
No information.
Rhode Island
.15

First offense (BAC ≥ .15) (misdemeanor) – Not more than 1 year. Any first offense – No mandatory jail time. Mandatory minimum fine first offense (BAC ≥ .15 - misdemeanor) – $500. Community service: first offense (BAC ≥ .15) – 20 to 60 hours.

Term of License Withdrawal—first offense (BAC ≥ .15 - misdemeanor) – 3 to 18 months suspension.

A course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances is be required.

Yes (unspecified).

South Dakota

If BAC is 0.17 or higher the offender may be sentenced to a 24/7 continuous sobriety monitoring program..

Tennessee
.20

Mandatory minimum jail time: First offense – (If BAC/BrAC ≥0.20 – 7 consecutive days).

Texas
.15

If greater than .15 BAC, the court must order installation of ignition interlock devices on all owned motor vehicles for 1 year following a period of license suspension.

Utah
.16

If the defendant had a BAC of .16 or higher, the court shall order the following (or describe on record why the order or orders are not appropriate): Treatment and one or both of (1) ignition interlock system as a condition of probation and (2) home confinement through the use of electronic monitoring.

.16. Prohibits a person whose alcohol concentration is proven to be 0.16 or more from driving a motor vehicle for 3 years with a blood alcohol concentration is at a 0.02 or more.
Virginia
.15, .20

First offense for BAC ≥ .15 but <.20: mandatory jail for 5 days; if BAC >.20: mandatory jail for 10 days.

In terms of victims receiving civil damages: “Willful or wanton behavior” may be shown by proving that, when the incident occurred, the defendant’s BAC/BrAC was ≥ .15, or the person consumed alcoholic beverages intending to operate a motor vehicle.

A driver previously convicted of driving with a BAC above 0.15 must not operate a vehicle with a BAC over 0.02 within three years of the previous violation. If a second time high BAC offender operates a vehicle with a BAC over 0.02, it will constitute a third high BAC DUI.

Washington
.15

An offense where the offender’s BAC/BrAC is ≥ .15: Mandatory minimum term of 2 days or, as an alternative, not less than 30 days of electronic home monitoring.

An offense where the offender’s BAC/BrAC is ≥ .15: mandatory minimum $500 fine and up to $5,000.

For a first offense with BAC ≥ .15: after the license suspension or revocation period, the court must require an offender to operate only motor vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device. If there has been no previous ignition interlock use, the usage period is to be not less than 1 year.

West Virginia
.15. Installation of ignition interlock mandatory for an offender with a BAC of 0.15 or more.
Wisconsin
.17

If an offender’s BAC was .17 to .199, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled.

If an offender’s BAC was 0.20 to 0.249, the minimum and aximum
fines are tripled.

If an offender’s BAC was 0.25 or above, the minimum and maximum fines are quadrupled.
 

Normal fine for non-injury-related DWI first offence is $150 to $300.

Wyoming

.15

For a first conviction where the conviction is based on the person having an alcohol concentration of fifteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.15%) or more, operate only vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device for a period of six (6) months from the date of conviction

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009. Updated 2011. The above abstracts state statutes/legislation. This report is the property of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and is intended as a reference for state legislators and their states. NCSL makes no warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for third party use of this information, or represents that its use by such third party would not infringe on privately owned rights.

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