A look at the states with the harshest & most lenient DUI laws in the U.S.

A look at the states with the harshest & most lenient DUI laws in the U.S.

DUI laws and penalties across the U.S. have been getting increasingly harsher over the past few decades as lawmakers and other authorities remain focused on preventing drunk driving.

Not all DUI laws are created equally, however, as some states have far harsher – or far more relaxed – laws than others.

Analyzing the differences between DUI laws across the U.S., a recent study1 has ranked every state according to how strict its DUI laws are and how effective they seem to be at deterring impaired driving. We’ll present some of this study’s findings below.

States with the Toughest DUI Laws in the U.S.

According to these researchers, as of November 2015, the top states with the harshest DUI laws in the nation include:

  1. Arizona, where a first-time DUI conviction can result in a minimum of 10 days in jail and the lookback period is 7 years
  2. Alaska, where a first DUI conviction can result in at least 3 days in jail and the lookback period is 10 years
  3. Connecticut, where a first DUI can lead to at least 2 days in jail and the lookback period is also 10 years
  4. West Virginia, where there is no mandatory jail time for first DUIs but there is at least a 6-month driver’s license suspension, and the lookback period is a decade
  5. Kansas, where a first DUI will result in at least 2 days in jail and the lookback period is a decade.

Interestingly, researchers also found that, although each of these states had some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation, only Arizona’s laws seemed to be remarkably effective at preventing future DUIs among drivers.

States with the Weakest DUI Laws in the U.S.

At the other end of the spectrum, here are the states/regions that researchers deemed to have the most lenient DUI laws in the nation:

  1. South Dakota
  2. The District of Columbia
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. North Dakota
  5. Maryland.

In each of these states, there is no minimum mandatory jail sentence associated with first-time DUI cases. In fact, while in South Dakota and D.C., there’s also no minimum mandatory jail time for a second DUI, in three of these regions (D.C., PA, & MD), there are also no options for filing felony DUI charges (i.e., DUI charges can only be misdemeanors).

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Contact a Colorado Springs DUI Attorney at Kohn Law Firm

Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? If so, a Colorado Springs DUI attorney at Kohn Law Firm are ready to aggressively defend your rights and help you bring your case to a successful resolution.

To learn more about how we can help you, set up a free initial consultation with us by calling us at (719) 328-9555 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Colorado Springs, we represent clients throughout the Pikes Peak region and Colorado.

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1: Study conducted by WalletHub