Driving under the influence has become a serious problem in the United States. With so many different convictions throughout the nation each month, more and more lawmakers are passing stricter laws to reduce the incidence of DUI's. DUI laws, fines, and penalties are all written by state lawmakers. This means that the laws can vary from state to state. While no state is lenient when it comes to Driving under the influence, some states with a higher rate of DUI's based on the size of the population have introduced stricter and tougher laws to prevent people from driving while intoxicated. The following five states are known for having the toughest DUI laws in the nation:
Arizona tops the list because they have the strongest interlock law in the nation. When a first-time offender is convicted of driving under the influence with Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher in the state of Arizona, they are ordered to have an interlock device installed in their vehicle for one year. The interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer in that it prevents the vehicle from starting when the driver's BAC is .08 or higher. First-time offenders are also fined a base fine of $250, an AZ Surcharge of $200, a Prison Construction Assessment of $500, and an extra DUI Assessment of $500. Offenders can expect to spend 24 hours to 10 days in jail and will have their license suspended for 90 to 360 days.
Florida is another state requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device. The device is mandatory on a second offense and may be required for some first-time offenders. In addition to paying for the installation, you must also pay a fine of $250 to $500. The offender's driver license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months when convicted for a first-time offense. This is why so many people choose to hire an Orlando DUI attorney to fight the charges.
3. South Carolina
South Carolina has one of the highest rates of drunk driving deaths per capita in the United States. Because of this, you would expect the state to have very strict DUI laws to reduce the number of deaths and injuries reported each year. The state has buckled down and become very strict when it comes to DUI's. When drivers of caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, they are required to spend at least 48 hours in jail. This can be substituted for 48 hours of Public Service Employment if the judge allows. Drivers with a BAC of .16 or higher are required to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail. They can be sentenced up to 90 days in jail, depending in the circumstances. Fines for DUI convictions in South Carolina can range between $400 and $1000. (Reference http://dui.drivinglaws.org/SCarolina.php
Iowa is another state that now requires the installation of interlocking devices. If the driver has a BAC of .10 or higher, they will be required to have an interlocking device installed in their vehicle for 6 months to a year. In addition to this, first-time offenders can spend anywhere from 48 hours to 1 year in jail when convicted of a DUI. License suspensions last for 180 days, with the opportunity to get a restricted license.
5. New York
While the city is a place where people take cabs to get to bars and nightclubs; there are still 12,000 DUI fatalities in New York every year. State lawmakers have taken action by putting into effect a bill that mandates that all offenders must have an interlock device installed in their vehicles. While there is no minimum jail stay required for first-time offenders, sentencing can range between 1 day and 1 year. All licenses are suspended for a minimum of 6 months and drivers can expect to pay fines between $500 and $1000.
Driving under the influence is a serious crime that comes with serious consequences. Each of these states has modified their current laws to deal with the rising number of deaths and injuries associated with DUI convictions. If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible. A reputable Orlando DUI lawyer will help you fight the case so your driving record and criminal record are not blemished.
Molly Henshaw is a freelance writer and law student living in the DC Metro area. She also is a contributing author for the Katz & Phillips criminal defense team. It is important to know your rights when you’ve been accused of DUI!