DUI/DWI

October 2014

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have per se laws making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a specified level, currently 0.08 percent (0.08 g alcohol per 100 ml blood).

License suspension or revocation traditionally follows conviction for alcohol-impaired driving. Licenses can also be taken before conviction, under a procedure called administrative license suspension, when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Because administrative license suspension occurs immediately, it has been found to be more effective than post-conviction sanctions. Administrative license suspension is allowed in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

In many states driving privileges can be restored during a suspension, but drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship, and the restored privileges often come with limitations. For example, a person could be allowed only to drive to work or could be required to install an ignition interlock.

An interlock device is a breath-testing unit that a driver must blow into before starting a vehicle. The device disables the ignition if alcohol is detected. All states have laws either requiring interlocks for certain offenders or allowing courts to order interlocks at their discretion. In 26 states and four California counties, all alcohol-impaired driving offenders, including first-time offenders, must install interlocks to resume driving. An additional 11 states require interlocks for offenders with high BACs (usually 0.15 percent or higher) and for repeat offenders, 8 states require them only for repeat offenders, and one state requires them only for high-BAC offenders. Four states and D.C. have no mandatory interlock requirements.

State Administrative license suspension
1st offense?
Restore driving privileges
during suspension?
Are ignition interlocks mandatory under
state law for the following offenses?
First offenders Repeat offenders
Alabama 90 days no all offenders yes
Alaska 90 days after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Arizona 90 days after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Arkansas 6 months yes1 all offenders yes
California 4 months after 30 days1 all offenders (only in 4 counties)2 yes
Colorado 3 months yes1 all offenders yes
Connecticut 90 days yes1 all offenders yes
Delaware 3 months no all offenders (effective 02/02/15) yes
District of Columbia 2-90 days yes1 no no
Florida 6 months after 30 days1 high-BAC offenders only yes
Georgia 1 year yes1 no yes3
Hawaii 3 months after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Idaho 90 days after 30 days1 no yes
Illinois 6 months after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Indiana 180 days after 30 days1 no yes (effective 01/01/15)
Iowa 180 days after 90 days1 no no
Kansas 30 days no all offenders yes
Kentucky no not applicable no yes
Louisiana 90 days after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Maine 90 days yes1 all offenders yes
Maryland 45 days yes1 high-BAC offenders only yes
Massachusetts 90 days no no yes
Michigan no not applicable high-BAC offenders only yes
Minnesota 90 days after 15 days1 all offenders yes
Mississippi 90 days no all offenders yes
Missouri 30 days no all offenders yes
Montana no not applicable no yes
Nebraska 180 days after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Nevada 90 days after 45 days1 high-BAC offenders only high-BAC offenders only
New Hampshire 6 months no all offenders (effective 01/01/16) yes
New Jersey no not applicable high-BAC offenders only yes
New Mexico 6 months yes1 all offenders yes
New York variable4 yes1 all offenders yes
North Carolina 30 days after 10 days1 high-BAC offenders only yes
North Dakota 91 days after 30 days1 no no
Ohio 90 days after 15 days1 no no
Oklahoma 180 days yes1 high-BAC offenders only yes
Oregon 90 days after 30 days1 all offenders yes
Pennsylvania no not applicable no yes
Rhode Island no not applicable high-BAC offenders only (effective 01/01/15) yes (effective 01/01/15)
South Carolina no not applicable high-BAC offenders only yes
South Dakota no not applicable no no
Tennessee no not applicable all offenders yes
Texas 90 days yes1 high-BAC offenders only5 yes
Utah 120 days no all offenders yes
Vermont 90 days no all offenders yes
Virginia 7 days no all offenders yes
Washington 90 days yes1 all offenders yes
West Virginia 6 months after 30 days 1 all offenders yes
Wisconsin 6 months yes1 high-BAC offenders only yes
Wyoming 90 days yes1 high-BAC offenders only yes

1Drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship to justify restoring privileges during suspension, and then privileges often are restricted.

2The all-offender pilot program is in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

3Interlock is mandatory unless waived due to financial hardship.

4In New York, administrative license suspension lasts until prosecution is complete.

5In Texas, an interlock is mandatory as a condition of suspending the jail sentence for a high-BAC first-time offender.