Toughest DUI Laws by State


Alcohol-impaired driving is a crime in all fifty states of the United States of America. If you are driving with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit, then you are committing a crime, and law enforcement agencies across the state can arrest you and you will be tried according to the laws of that state.

DUI and DWI laws differ from state to state. The penalties for DUI or DWI crimes can differ greatly; for example, some states include the penalty of having to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in your car. This is a device that acts as a breathalyzer and won’t let your car start until you breathe into it and have a blood alcohol level below 0.08%. Not all states include the installation of an IID in the list of penalties for DUI and DWI. States that do include its installation as a penalty vary greatly in the amount of time an offender has to keep it installed in his or her car.

The following are the four strictest states when it comes to DUI law:


Arizona tops the charts for the state with the strictest DUI laws in effect. In 2007, Arizona became one of the only states that require first-time DUI offenders to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in their vehicles for one year. Offenders also face a minimum of $1,250 in fines and a maximum amount of fines in the thousands. Additionally, community service may be imposed on the offender. The offender’s license can be suspended for up to 360 days and he or she may serve up to 10 days in jail.


Individuals who drink and drive may be subjected to a minimum suspension of their driver’s license for six months. Additionally, offenders can face up to nine months in jail. Fines range between $500 and $2,000. If a first-time offender has a BAC of .08 or higher, he or she will also have to install an IID in his or her car.

South Carolina

With one of the highest rates of fatalities caused by drunk driving, South Carolina has cracked down on drinking and driving in recent years. Offenders face a minimum jail stay of 48 hours unless the judge decides to substitute the time for community service. Drivers with a BAC of .16 or more face a minimum of 30 days in jail.


In Alaska, first-time offenders can have their license suspended for 90 days. The minimum fine for a first-time offender is $1500, and a judge can increase this time based on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. First-time offenders also have to install an IID for a minimum of six months.


First-time offenders in Oklahoma may have to serve jail time between ten days and one year. Fines assessed up to $1,000 with a minimum of an additional $300 may be applied as DUI fees. Fines and fees expenses noted above do not cover costs incurred during the completion of other terms of a criminal sentence or during the administrative reinstatement process. These penalties also increase if there is a minor present in the car at the time of the arrest.