Study Compares the Strictest States on DUI


A study released by WalletHub comparing the strictest states on DUI finds that California is right in the middle. The study compared drunk driving penalties across the US, including minimum jail time provisions for first and following convictions, license suspensions, how long DUIs remain on records, whether DUI is ruled an automatic felony, fines, insurance rates, additional penalties for high BAC, sobriety testing, and ignition interlock rates.

Ranked as the most punitive DUI states were Arizona, Georgia, Alaska, and Arkansas. California was ranked 21st out of 51 states, with #1 being the strictest on DUI. California has an above-average minimum jail time for DUI first convictions at 4 days. It also has one of the highest average insurance rate increases after a DUI, a 103% increase.

The most lenient states were North Dakota, Ohio, District of Columbia, and South Dakota. South Dakota took the spot of most lenient because it has no mandatory jail time.

The average fine for a first DUI conviction across the nation came out to $352 in 2017. Second-DUI average fine is $762. All states except 6 can automatically suspend the drivers’ license of someone arrested for DUI without any court involvement. 88% of states require DUI offenders to employ Ignition Interlock devices after a DUI. Repeat offenders spend an average of almost three weeks longer in jail than first-time offenders.

According to the report, dunk driving fatalities are down 57% from 1982 to 2014. This means car crashes are no longer in America’s top 10 causes of death. Yet DUIs accounted for 29% of motor vehicle fatalities in 2015.

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