DUI Penalties by State | What Are the Penalties for a DUI | DWI Penalties by State | What are the Consequences in A DUI or DWI?

The penalties for a DUI are different in every state. By clicking on the state in which your drunk driving arrest took place in the table below you will be brought to that particular state's DUI / DWI penalties page. It is important to note that while every effort has been made to ensure that this table's information is current and accurate, the penalties you imposed on you by the court may ultimately be different than those outlined on this site. This is due to the fact that the judge and prosecutor have some discretion in most instances with regard to exactly what penalties you will face for your drunk driving arrest. In most cases, a skilled drunk driving DUI lawyer will be able to work with the prosecutor and judge to obtain a fair punishment given the specific circumstances and facts in your DUI arrest. It is, therefore, very important that after reading the penalties for DUI in your state you contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your case and obtaining legal representation. 

If you are planning on drinking any amount of alcohol you should think twice before driving. Any impairment to your ability to operate a motor vehicle is dangerous--potentially deadly. 

It is possible, however, for most people to have a few drinks before reaching a level of intoxication that would qualify them for a DUI offense (.08% BAC). Consult the DUI BAC Table to see how alcohol affects different people. 

Penalties for DUI / DWI - In General

There are three types of penalties that accompany practically every DUI: jail time, fines, and license revocation and / or suspension. In addition to these standard penalties, many states impose some combination of additional penalties as well. These penalties include things like: DUI schools, alcohol assessment and treatment programs, special vehicle tags identifying driver as DUI offender, photograph in local newspaper identifying DUI offender, attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel (MADD VIP), installation of an ignition interlock device (IID or BAIID), community service, conviction based surcharges, impoundment/immobilization of vehicle, loss of registration, vehicle seizure, forfeiture, and possible sale.  

Click on the state where your DUI arrest occurred to learn about the DUI Penalties you may face:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington Washington DC West Virginia Wisconsin


Do not attempt to deal with your DUI on your own. Obtaining representation by a qualified drunk driving attorney will likely mean the difference between a harsh sentence and a more lenient one.


Contact a skilled drunk driving criminal defense attorney today to discuss the specific facts and circumstances of your case. The initial consultation is free!


You may not be able to beat your DUI charge entirely, but hiring an experienced DUI lawyer is likely to have a significant impact on the disposition of your case.


4 ways to avoid a DUI / DWI Arrest

1. Don't drive drunk

This should be obvious. If you are planning on drinking, do not drive. The only sure fire way to beat a DUI charge is by never being charged with drunk driving in the first place. Instead of getting behind the wheel drunk, designate a sober driver, take a taxi or public transportation, or walk. By not drinking and driving not only are you saving yourself the hassle, shame, and difficulty of a DUI arrest and conviction, you are also potentially saving your own life and the lives of others. Remember: The only DUI defense certain to beat a DUI is that you did not drink alcohol before driving. 

2. Know your limits

Everyone metabolizes alcohol at a different rate. For some people, one or two drinks could put them over the legal limit of .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for DUI. For other people, one or two drinks may not be enough to reach the .08% BAC threshold. Variables such as your height and weight, whether you have consumed any food, and the amount of time over which your drinks were consumed can have an impact on your level of intoxication. While it would be nice to say that anyone who has consumed any amount of alcohol would think twice before driving, the reality is that most people feel comfortable consuming some small amount of alcohol and driving. If you have had a few glasses of wine over the course of an evening and decide to get behind the wheel, you may not be in danger of a DUI. Knowing your level of tolerance and having the ability to know when you've too much to drink could save you from a DUI arrest. 

3. Purchase a portable breathalyzer

While most people feel that they know their level of tolerance and believe that they are able to judge whether they are fit to operate a motor vehicle or not, the reality is that they are making these decisions while they are inebriated. One way to prevent a DUI is by purchasing a portable breathalyzer that you can use if you have consumed alcohol and are now contemplating driving. Then, in the scenario where you've had a couple beers and feel like you're okay to drive you have the ability to see if your BAC level confirms your belief. Remember that you can still be charged with certain drunk driving crimes even with a BAC of less than .08% but having your own portable breath test will ensure that you know if you are over the legal limit and should find a different, safer way home. 

4. Know your rights

From the moment you are pulled over, the police officer is trying to build a case against you. If you know your rights and assert them, you may be able to avoid a DUI. Remember that--aside from providing the officer with a driver's license and proof of insurance--you do not have to tell the officer anything. You are not required to answer questions such as where you have been, where you are going, or whether you have had anything to drink. In some states you are not required to submit to any form of field sobriety testing or portable alcohol screening tests (some states, however, do have penalties for refusing pre-arrest testing if an arrest does occur). Remember to be polite to the officer and comply with his or her instructions. Having a bad attitude or being abusive or rude toward the officer will not help your cause.

By asserting your rights and keeping quiet, you are making it more difficult for the police officer to arrest you for a DUI. The officer is trying to build probable cause for a drunk driving arrest and the less information you give him, the less likely you will be arrested. Keep in mind that certain erratic or dangerous driving behavior can give the officer enough cause for a DUI arrest without your cooperation. 

BAC Charts


BAC Chart for Men

Number of

Body Weight in Pounds

  100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240
0 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00
1 .04 .03 .03 .02 .02 .02 .02 .02
2 .08 .06 .05 .05 .04 .04 .03 .03
3 .11 .09 .08 .07 .06 .06 .05 .05
4 .15 .12 .11 .09 .08 .08 .07 .06
5 .19 .16 .13 .12 .11 .09 .09 .09
6 .23 .19 .16 .14 .13 .11 .10 .09
7 .26 .22 .19 .16 .15 .13 .12 .11
8 .30 .25 .21 .19 .17 .15 .14 .13
9 .34 .28 .24 .21 .19 .17 .15 .14
10 .38 .31 .27 .23 .21 .19 .17 .16


BAC Chart for Women

Number of

Body Weight in Pounds

  90 100 120 140 160 180 200 220
0 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00
1 .05 .05 .04 .03 .03 .03 .02 .02
2 .10 .09 .08 .07 .06 .05 .05 .04
3 .15 .14 .11 .11 .09 .08 .07 .06
4 .20 .18 .15 .13 .11 .10 .09 .08
5 .25 .23 .19 .16 .14 .13 .11 .10
6 .30 .27 .23 .19 .17 .15 .14 .12
7 .35 .32 .27 .23 .20 .18 .16 .14
8 .40 .36 .30 .26 .23 .20 .18 .17
9 .45 .41 .34 .29 .26 .23 .20 .19
10 .51 .45 .38 .32 .28 .25 .23 .21

Notes on BAC Charts:

  • 1 Drink = approximately 1.25 oz of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz of beer, or 4 oz of wine. 
  • Subtract .01 from your BAC for each 40 minutes of drinking
  • The numbers on these charts are only estimates. Your actual BAC could significantly differ from the estimated BAC in the table. 

DUI / DWI Lawyers Know Your State's Drunk Driving Penalties and Are Available to Help Fight for You!

If you are facing a DUI / DWI you have probably done some research to learn about the penalties you are facing. The truth is that no amount of research is a substitute for the knowledge of an experienced drunk driving criminal defense attorney in your area. When you are facing the severe penalties that accompany a DUI or DWI you want to hire the best DUI / DWI defense attorney you can afford. Although it is unlikely that you will be able to beat your drunk driving arrest entirely (and no competent DUI / DWI lawyer will make that promise), having a lawyer who knows the local DUI laws and courtroom procedures looking out for your best interests will ensure that the system does not take advantage of you. As soon as possible after your drunk driving arrest, contact a DUI lawyer to discuss your case. Even if you don't feel comfortable and may even be a little intimidated by the thought of dealing with an attorney, you should know that DUI lawyers are in the business of helping you fight DUI charges. Don't hesitate, contact a drunk driving defense lawyer as soon as possible. The initial consultation will be free of charge.

Dealing with the consequences of a DUI stinks! Contact a local DUI lawyer today and discuss the specifics of your drunk driving arrest

Dealing with the consequences of a DUI stinks!  Contact a local DUI attorney who will fight for you today.