State DUI Laws

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Most state dui laws use similar legal terms to describe a drunk driving arrest. Knowing these terms can help you better understand the specific charges against you.

Some of these legal terms are :

"Per Se" Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Level

All DUI laws consider a driver drunk whose BAC level is above 0.08. This means that you can be arrested and charged with a DUI even if your driving wasn'tt impaired.

"Zero Tolerance" BAC Level

These state DUI laws target underage drinking. Under this law, any driver who is caught driving while having any trace of alcohol in their system ( BAC above 0.0) will be charged with drunk driving.

"Enhanced Penalty" BAC Level

Many states are imposing harsher punishments for drivers with a high BAC level. This is typically for drivers that have BAC level around 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent. If you are arrested with a high BAC level you will get a larger fine, longer jail time, and your driver's license will be suspended longer.

Implied Consent Laws

These state dui laws require the driver to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. When you got approved for your driver's license, you automatically signed an agreement with your state to comply with these laws. If you are suspected of drunk driving and refuse to take one of the tests, your driver's license will be suspended between 6 months - 1 year. The amount of time varies by each state.

To get a better idea of your immediate and long term consequences for drinking and driving read

DUI Consequences: What Happens After a Drunk Driving Arrest

State DUI Laws Prosecution

In each state, the prosecution for you drunk driving depends on 4 main things.

Driving patterns

Many police officers have been trained to identify drunk drivers by looking at their driving behavior. This includes looking for things like:

  • Swerving
  • Drifting
  • Wide turns
  • Braking erratically
  • Driving with headlights off
  • Driving 10mph below the speed limit

The officers will note down your driving pattern before you were pulled over. This is done to show that there was a reasonable cause for the officers to investigate you.

Physical Appearance

The officers at the scene will record a description of your overall appearance. Although by itself it may not be incriminating, your physical description can be combined with the rest of the information to paint a more convincing picture of a drunk driver.

DUI Test

These are also known as Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are designed to test the balance and coordination of the driver pulled over for drunk driving. If you fail to complete the test, you will be arrested and be taken down the police station to take the chemical test.

DUI Test : Learn the 5 Different Sobriety Tests

Chemical Test Results

You are given a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine test) because it is more reliable than a breathalyzer and field sobriety test. The chemical test will give a more accurate reading of the amount of alcohol in your blood. The results of this test are very important. The results of chemical tests are more scientifically accepted by the courts as showing whether or not you were driving drunk.

Different Drunk Driving Terms

There are some differences in the state dui laws. One of them is the specific term used to describe drunk driving. Some states use DUI and some use DWI.

DUI vs DWI: What is the Difference?

Learn what are the main differences and how you may be able to reduce your charges.

DUI Checkpoints

Learn where most drunk driving arrests take place and what you should expect at these locations.

Find Your State's DUI Laws

California DUI Penalties
Florida DUI Laws
Illinois DUI Laws
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
Texas DUI Laws