Driving while intoxicated

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Drunk Driving

9. Drunk Driving

Penalties for drunk driving continue to become tougher over the years as the cost of this dangerous behavior rises. Reckless alcohol consumption among young people has also risen markedly, and it has been met with sharp intolerance. There are often lower legal limits for minor drivers and longer drivers license suspensions.

Drunk driving, driving while intoxicated (DWI), or driving under the influence (DUI), is typically determined by the alcohol content found in the drivers blood. Blood alcohol content (BAC) may be determined in two ways: through breath analysis or urinalysis. All states have now lowered the legal limit of blood alcohol content from 0.10 to 0.08 percent. The last three states to change the BAC limit, Colorado, Delaware and Minnesota, have done so in the last three years. Also, thirty-four states have passed laws lowering the BAC to 0.02 percent or no amount for drivers under 21. Twelve states have also set a separate limit at 0.04 percent for commercial vehicle drivers.

Penalties for drunk driving are severe in most states. Virtually every state suspends the drivers license on a first offense, and the length of suspension increases sharply with each successive offense. There is, however, a great deal of variation in the lengths of suspension of driving privileges among the states. Several states include revocation on the third or fourth offense.

The newest development in the laws of drunk driving concern court-ordered attendance at an alcohol abuse rehabilitation program upon conviction for driving while intoxicated. Most have some sort of rehabilitation requirement for problem drinkers and drivers.

Table 9: Drunk Driving
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
ALABAMA32-5A-191.08% BAC; under 21 or school bus or day care driver on duty: .02%Yes on first offense; DUI court referral program approved by state1st offense: 90 days; 2nd: 1 yr.; 3rd: 3 yrs.; 4th or subsequent: 5 yrs.1st: imprisonment up to 1 yr. and/or $600-$2100; 2nd within 5 yrs.: up to 1 yr. including mandatory min. sentence of 5 days jail or min. 30 days community service $1100-$5100; 3rd: min. 60 days, max. 1 yr. and $2100-$10,100; 4th or subsequent within 5 yrs.: felony conviction, min. 1 yr. and 1 day, max. 10 yrs. and $4100-$10,100; doubled sentence if offender over the age of 21 was transporting minor under age of 14 at time of offense
ALASKA28.35.030; 28.15.181.08% BAC as determined by test taken within 4 hours of offenseYes, must satisfy screening, evaluation, referral, and program requirements of agency authorized by state to provide rehabilitative treatment; while in prison or as a condition of parole a court may order the administration of drugs intended to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages1st: 90 days min.; 2nd: 1 yr. min.; 3rd: 3 yrs. min., 4th or subsequent: 5 yrs. min.1st: min. 72 hrs. and min. $1500; 2nd: min. 20 days and min. $3000; 3rd: min. 60 days and min. $4000; 4th min. 120 days and min. $5000; 5th min. 240 days and min. $6000; 6th and subsequent: min. 360 days and min. $7000; while imprisoned: 1st: 24 hrs. of community service; 2nd: 160 hrs. of community service
ARIZONA28-1381, et seq. .08% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving or being in actual physical control of vehicle; commercial vehicle drivers: .04% BACYes, alcohol abuse screening session by screening or treatment facility approved by health services; alcohol abuse classes or approved treatment facility if necessary1st: 90 days; 2nd within 5 yrs. or within 1 yr. of similar conviction in another state: revocation for 1 yr. and required to equip all vehicles with a certified ignition interlock device for period determined by the court.1st: min. 10 days or 24 hrs. (if court ordered program completed) and min. $250 and court determined community service; 2nd within 60 months or 1 yr. of similar conviction in another state: min. 90 days or 30 days if court ordered program completed and min. $500 and court determined community service
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
ARKANSAS5-65-103, et seq. .08% BAC as determined by testAlcohol education program prescribed and approved of by Arkansas Highway Safety Program or alcoholism treatment program approved by Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention1st: 120 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 24 mos. or 1 yr. min. if court orders issuance of ignition interlock restricted license; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 30 mos. or 1 yr. min. if court orders issuance of ignition interlock restricted license; 4th or subsequent within 5 yrs.: revocation for 4 yrs.1st: 1 day to 1 yr. in prison, court can order community service in lieu of jail; 2nd: 7 days to 1 yr. in prison or minimum of 30 days community service; 3rd: 90 days to 1 yr. in prison or minimum of 90 days community service; 4th: 1 yr. to 6 yrs. in prison or minimum of 1 yr. community service; 5th or subsequent: 2 yrs. to 10 yrs. in prison or minimum of 2 yrs. community service. Fines (5-65-112) 1st: $150$1000, 2nd: $400$3000, 3rd or subsequent: $900$5000.
CALIFORNIAVeh. §§23152, et seq., §13352, §§23536, et seq., §23580.08% BAC at time of driving as determined by chemical test within 3 hrs. of driving (rebuttably presumed that percentage at time of driving was equal to or more than at time of test); commercial vehicle driver: .04% BACYes: must participate in a driving-under-the-influence program in drivers county of residence or employment1st: 6 mos., or if probation granted, could be 90 days with exception of traveling to work and rehab program; 2nd: 2 yrs., after 12 mos. a restricted license may be granted upon enrollment in an 18 or 30 month licensed program; 3rd: 3 yrs., after 24 mos. a restricted license may be granted upon completion of an 18 or 30 month authorized program; 4th: 4 yrs., after 24 mos. a restricted license may be granted upon completion of an 18 or 30 month authorized program1st: 96 hrs. to 6 mos. prison (48 hrs. continuous) and $390-1000; 2nd within 7 yrs.: 90 days to 1 yr. (48 hrs. continuous or 10 days min. community service) and $390-1000; 3rd within 7 yrs.: 120 days to 1 yr. and $390-$1000 and designation as habitual traffic offender for 3 yrs.; 4th within 7 yrs.: 180 days to 1 yr. and $390-1000 and designation as habitual traffic offender for 3 yrs. Note: penalties increase if violations include bodily injury.
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
COLORADO42-4-1301; 42-2-129; 42-2-132.08% BAC at the time of driving or within 2 hrs. after driving (if there was between .05% and .08% BAC, presumption is that driver was impaired); under age 21: .02% BAC within 2 hrs. of drivingYes, alcohol and drug driving safety programs in each judicial district provide presentence alcohol and drug evaluations and recommend treatment1 yr.1st: 5 days to 1 yr. and court may fine $300-1000 and 48-96 hrs. useful public service; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 90 days to 1 yr. and court may fine $500-1500 and 60-120 hrs. useful public service; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 70 days to 1 yr. and court may fine $450-1500 and 56-112 hrs. of useful public service and designation as habitual offender
CONNECTICUT14-227a.08% BAC at time of offenseCourt may order participation in alcohol education and treatment program in addition to any fine or sentence1st: 1 yr.; 2nd: 3yrs. or until 21st birthday, whichever longer; 3rd: permanently1st: $500-1000 and jail up to 6 mos. (minimum 48 consecutive hrs.) or probation including 100 hrs. community service; 2nd within 10 yrs.: $1000-4000 and jail up to 2 yrs. (minimum 120 days consecutive) and probation including 100 hrs. community service; 3rd within 10 yrs.: $2000-8000 and jail up to 3 yrs. (minimum 1 of which is consecutive) and probation, including 100 hrs. community service
DELAWARE21 §4177.08% BAC as shown by test taken within 4 hours of offense (evidence of .05-.08% BAC raises no presumption of intoxication but may be used as factor in intoxication determination); under age 21: .02% BAC within 4 hrs. of drivingYes, shall include course of instruction and/or program of rehabilitation (1st offense may include max. of 6 mos. confinement); subsequent offense may include max. of 15 mos. confinement1 yr., unless equipped with ignition interlocking device1st: $230-1150 and/or 60 days-6 mos.; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $575-2300 and 60 days-18 mos.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: guilty of class G felony, $1000-3000, 1-2 yrs.; 4th or subsequent: guilty of class E felony, $2000-6000, 2-5 yrs.
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA50-2201.05, 50.2205.02.08% BAC; .10% alcohol in urine (less than .03% BAC or .04% in urine is evidence of intoxication but no presumption of intoxication; greater than .05% BAC or .06% in urine constitutes prima facie case of intoxication); under age 21: no measurable amount of alcohol for blood, breath, or urineYes, can request person enter diversion programYes for unspecified time1st: $200-300, 30 days; 2nd within 15 yrs.: $300-500, 5 days1 yr. or 30 days community service; 3rd and subsequent within 15 yrs.: $1000-5000, 10 days1 yr. or 60 days community service, Note: vehicle may be impounded
FLORIDA316.193, 322.28.08% BAC; .08% in breathYes, required attendance at licensed substance abuse course, including psychological evaluationRevocation/suspension upon conviction; 1st: 180 days1 yr.; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 5 yrs.; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 10 yrs.; vehicle impounded; 1st: 10 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 30 days; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 90 days1st: $250-500 and jail up to 6 mos. and probation up to 1 yr. and community service of 50 hrs. minimum or $10 fine per hour not worked; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $500-1000 and jail up to 9 mos., min. 10 days; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 3rd degree felony $1000-2500 and jail up to 12 mos., min. 30 days; 4th: 3rd degree felony and min. $1000; if BAC exceeds .20%: 1st: $500-1000 and jail up to 9 mos.; 2nd: $1000-2000 and jail up to 12 mos.; 3rd: min. $2000
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
GEORGIA40-5-63; 40-6-391; 40-5-62.08% BAC within 3 hrs. of driving or being in actual physical control; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04% BAC; under age 21: .02% BAC within 3 hrs. of drivingLicense reinstated upon completion of clinical evaluation and DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program approved by Department of Human Resources and pays fee of $210 or $200.1st: 1 yr. (person may apply for reinstatement after 120 days if completed DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and pays restoration fee); 2nd within 5 yrs.: 3 yrs. (can apply for reinstatement as noted under 1st offense); 3rd within 5 yrs.: 5 yrs. and considered habitual violator1st: $300-1000 and 10 days to 12 mos. and min. 40 hrs. of community service; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $600-1000 and 90 days to 12 mos. and min. 30 days of community service; 3rd or subsequent: $1000-5000 and 120 days to 12 mos. (mandatory 10 days) and min. 30 days community service. For third or subsequent conviction, judge may suspend up to half of fine if defendant attends an alcohol or drug treatment program
HAWAII291-4, 5; 291E-61; 291E-61.5; 291E-3; 291E-64.08% BAC or breath within 3 hrs. after the time of the alleged violation (no presumption for .05-.08% BAC, but may be used in intoxication determination); under age 21: any measurable amount of alcohol1st: 14 hrs. minimum alcohol abuse rehab program including education and counseling or comparable program approved by court; subsequent: may be required pending evaluation by substance abuse counselor1st: 90 days (court can make it 30 days total prohibition and 60 days only for work and rehab); 2nd: 1 yr. absolute prohibition; 3rd: 1-5 yrs.1st: $150-1000 and/or min. 48 hrs.-5 days jail and/or 72 hrs. community service; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $500-1500, 240 hrs. community service or 5-14 days imprisonment (48 hrs. consecutively) 3rd within 5 yrs.: $500-2500 and 10-30 days jail (48 hrs. consecutively); 3rd and subsequent within 10yrs.: habitual offender, class C felony, 5 yrs. jail or probation (10 days jail)
IDAHO18-8004, et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21, .02-.08% BAC; .20% BAC is considered excessive; commercial truck driver: .04% BACAlcoholic evaluation (own expense) at approved facility; if necessary, an appropriate alcoholic treatment must be completed in addition to the rest of the sentence1st: 30 days absolute, 60-150 days restricted privileges; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr. absolute suspension after release from confinement; 3rd within 5 yrs.: absolute suspension 1-5 yrs. and after 1 yr., only drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock system1st: up to $1000 and/or up to 6 mos.; 2nd within 5 yrs.: up to $2000 and jail 10 days (1st 48 hrs. consecutive) to 1 yr.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: mandatory 30 days up to 5 yrs. and may be fined up to $5000 and felony conviction. Note: other states prior convictions count. Also note: separate penalties are listed for minors (under 21 yrs. of age) with BAC less than .08%, and those convicted with excessive BAC (over .20%)
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
ILLINOIS625 ILCS 5/ 11-501, et seq. .08% BAC; less than .05% at test: presumed not to be under the influence of alcohol; .05%-.08% at test: no presumption of guilt but take it with other evidence; .08% at test: guilty; under age 21: 0.00% BACProfessional evaluation to determine if there is abuse problem and extent; defendant pays cost; program must be approved/ licensed by Dept. of Alcohol and Substance AbuseDriving privileges revoked for indefinite period.1st: Class A misdemeanor (if transporting someone under 16 yrs. of age: min. $500 and 5 days of community service in a program benefitting children); 2nd within 5 yrs.: mandatory min. 48 hrs. jail or min. 100 hrs. community service (if transporting someone under 16 yrs. of age: min. $500 and 10 days of community service in a program benefitting children); 3rd or subsequent: Class 3 felony, 1-3 yrs. prison (mandatory min. 48 hrs. and 30 hrs. community service if given probation)
INDIANA9-30-5-1, et seq.; 9-30-10-4.08% BAC; under age 21, .02-.10%No1st: (or 2nd in more than 10 yrs.) 90 days to 2 yrs.; 2nd 5-10 yrs. ago: 180 days to 2 yrs.; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1-2 yrs. if offense included bodily injury or death: 2-5 yrs. Note: any probationary periods include equipping motor vehicle with functioning certified ignition interlock device1st: Class C misdemeanor; 2nd within 5 yrs.: min. 5 days jail or min. 80 hrs. community service in addition to Class D felony; 3rd within 10 yrs.: considered habitual violator
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
IOWA321J.2, et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21, .02% BAC1st: may be ordered to attend a course for drinking drivers; 1st if BAC is over .20% or 2nd: must undergo substance abuse evaluation prior to sentencing; 3rd offense or if evaluation recommends treatment: may be assigned to facility by director of corrections dept. Note that any portion of sentence for 2nd, 3rd, or subsequent offense may be served as inpatient treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction or dependency1st: 180 days (if deferred or suspended sentence: 30-90 days); 2nd within 6 yrs.: 1 yr.; 3rd or subsequent: 6 yrs. (can apply for restoration after 2 yrs.)1st: serious misdemeanor, $500-1000 and min. 48 hrs. jail; 2nd: aggravated misdemeanor, min. $1500-5000 and min. 7 days jail; 3rd and subsequent: Class D felony, min. $2500-7500 and 30 days to 5 yrs. jail
KANSAS8-1008, 1014, 1567, 1567a.08% BAC within 2 hrs. of operating vehicle (if BAC is less than .08%, this may be considered with other evidence of intoxication); under age 21: .02% BAC1st: person must enroll in alcohol and drug safety action education or treatment program; 2nd: must complete a treatment program for alcohol and drug abuse plus 60 days of restricted driving privileges (to and from work and alcohol program); 3rd: possible treatment program for alcohol/drug abuse1st: 30 days and 330 days restricted; 2nd and subsequent: 1 yr., and, 1 yr. subsequent, driving with ignition interlock device; 5th or subsequent: permanent. Note: all revocations are reinstated at the above time periods only upon completion of alcohol and drug safety program1st: Class B, nonperson misdemeanor, $500-1000 and 48 hrs.-6 mos. jail (within cts discretion, up to 100 hrs. in public service); 2nd: Class A, nonperson misdemeanor, $1000-1500 and 90 days-1 yr. jail (may be sentenced to work release program after 5 days or house arrest after 48 hrs.); 3rd or subsequent: nonperson felony, $1500-2500 and 90 days-12 mos. jail (Note that in lieu of fines, $5 per community hour will be credited)
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
KENTUCKY189A.010, et seq. .08% BAC (.05-.08% not considered a presumption of intoxication but considered with other evidence of intoxication); under age 21: .02% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving1st offense: 90 day alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program with assessment, defendant pay cost; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr.; 3rd or subsequent: 1 yr. (possible inpatient). Note that failure to complete program may constitute contempt1st: 30-120 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 12-18 mos.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 24-36 mos.; 4th within 5 yrs.: 60 mos.; (if person is under 18 yrs. of age: license revoked until he reaches 18 or the above relevant penalty, whichever is the longer revocation)1st: $200-500 or 48 hrs. to 30 days jail and/or 2-30 days community labor; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $350-500 and 7 days to 6 mos. jail and may get 10 days to 6 mos. community labor in addition to jail term; 3rd within 5 yrs.: $500-1000 and 30 days to 12 mos. jail and may get 10 days to 1 yr. community labor in addition to jail term; 4th and subsequent within 5 yrs.: Class D felony. Note: all prior convictions include other states
LOUISIANA14:98; 32:414.08% BACCourt approved substance abuse program and court approved driver improvement program is a min. condition for all probation, parole, or suspension of sentence1st: 90 days (can be restricted if necessary)-$100 reinstatement fee; 2nd: 1 yr.-$200 reinstatement fee; 3rd or subsequent: 2 yrs.-$300 reinstatement fee1st: $300-1000 and 10 days to 6 mos. jail (possible suspension by attending program with minimal jail time or community service); 2nd: $750-1000 and 30 days to 6 mos. jail (possible suspension by attending program with minimal jail time or community service); 3rd: $2000 and 1-5 yrs. jail; 4th: hard labor 10-30 yrs. and $5000. Note that prior convictions include other states
MAINETit. 29A §2411.08% BACYes, for 2nd and subsequent offense, defendant may be required to participate in a Weekend Intervention Program (or residential treatment program) administered by the Office of Substance Abuse1st (with no previous drunk driving convictions): 90 days; 2nd within 10 yrs.: 18 mos.; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 4 yrs; 4th and subsequent: 6 yrs.All convictions are Class D crimes. 1st (with no previous drunk driving convictions): no less than $400 (if BAC was greater than .15%, was driving in excess of 30 mph over the speed limit, eluded officer, or had a passenger under 21 yrs. of age: add 48 hrs. of jail, if failed to submit the chemical test, 96 hrs.); 2nd within 10 yrs.: no less than $600 and 7 days jail; 3rd within 10 years.: no less than $1000 and 30 days. 4th and subsequent: class C crime, $2000 and 6 mos. jail. Note that penalties are more severe if they caused bodily injury
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
MARYLANDAnnotated code of MD.Transp. 16-205; 16-212; 21-902; 27-101.08% BACDriver Improvement Program and Alcohol Education Program required1st: 60 days; 2nd: 120 daysIf Under the influence: 1st: up to $500, 2 mos. in jail; 2nd: up to $500 and 1 yr. in jail; While intoxicated: 1st: up to $1000 and/or 1 yr. in jail; 2nd: up to $2000 and/or no more than 2 yrs. in jail; 3rd and subsequent: min. $3000 and/or min. 3 yrs. Note: offenses including bodily injury or death or fleeing/evading police involve stiffer penalties
MASSACHUSETTSCh. 90 §24.08% BAC (<.05%, presumption is not under the influence; .05-.08% BAC, no presumption); under age 21: .02%1st offense: appropriate to defendant with his/ her consent as a condition of probation upon written finding that appropriate and adequate treatment is available to defendant and defendant would benefit and safety of public would not be endangered; minimum 14 days in residential alcohol treatment program (defendant pays cost)1st: 1 yr.; 2nd: 2 yrs.; 3rd: 8yrs.; 4th: 10 yrs. (can apply for new license on grounds of hardship and registrars discretion: 1st: within 3 mos.; 2nd: within 6 mos.; 3rd: within 2 yrs.; 4th: within 5 yrs.; 5th: revoked for life)1st: $500-5000 or up to 2½ yrs. jail or both (jail time may be ordered by court to be served only on weekends, evenings, and holidays); 2nd within 10 yrs.: $600-10,000 and 60 days to 2½ yrs. jail; 3rd within 10 yrs.: $1000-15,000 and 180 days to 2½ yrs. jail or same fine and 2½ to 5 years state prison; 4th within 10 yrs.: $1500-25,000 and 2-2½ yrs. or same fine and 2½-5 yrs. state prison; 5th or subsequent: $2000-50,000 and 2½ yrs. or same fine and 2½-5 yrs. state prison
MICHIGANMCLA 257.625 et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21: .02%Screening and assessment to determine the likely benefit from rehabilitation. Court may order person to participate and successfully complete one or more alcohol or drug education or treatment programs1st: 6 mos.; 2nd or subsequent within 7 yrs.: 1 yr. (injuries or death-causing accidents heighten restrictions)1st: $100-500 and/or up to 93 days jail and costs of prosecution and community service up to 45 days; 2nd within 7 yrs.: $2001000 and 30-90 days community service and up to 1 yr. jail; 3rd within 10 yrs., felony: $500-5000 and either 1-5 yrs. jail or 30 days to 1 yr. probation with imprisonment and 60-180 days community service; Injuries or death-causing accident heightens penalties of all offenses
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
MINNESOTA169A.20 et seq. .08% BAC within 2 hrs. of time of driving; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving; under age 21: any amountMust submit to level of care recommended in mandatory chemical use assessment, at drivers expense.1st: 30 days; 2nd within 10 yrs.: 180 days; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 1 yr.; 4th & subsequent: 2 yrs.1st: misdemeanor; 2nd within 10 yrs.: gross misdemeanor, min. 30 days jail or 8 hrs. community service for each jail day served less than 30; 3rd within 10 yrs.: gross misdemeanor, min. 90 days jail or intensive supervision; 4th: 180 days jail or intensive supervision or up to 150 days home detention; 5th or subsequent: 1 yr. jail or intensive supervision
MISSISSIPPI63-11-30.08% BAC; under age 21 .02% or more; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04% BACRequired alcohol safety education program1st: 90 days and successful completion of programmax. 1 yr. (may petition for hardship after 30 days); 2nd: 2 yrs. (after 1 yr., can be reduced for successful completion of program); 3rd and subsequent: 5 yrs. (eligible for reinstatement after 3 yrs. and successful completion of program)1st: $250-1000 and/or up to 48 hrs. jail; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $600-1500 and 5 days to 1 yr. jail and 10 days to 1 yr. community service; 3rd or subsequent within 5 yrs.: possible forfeiture of vehicle, $2000-5000, and 1-5 yrs. jail, felony
MISSOURI577.010, 577.012, 020-049, 302.525, 302.505.08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BAC or moreYes, court shall order participation and successful completion of alcohol or drug-related traffic offender education or rehab program which meets standards established by Dept. of Public Safety and Dept. of Mental Health and professional assessmentUpon failure to submit to breath test (given a 15 day temporary permit) for 1 yr.; 1st: 30 days followed by 60 days restricted license; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr.1st: Class B misdemeanor; 2nd within 10 yrs. (prior offender): Class A misdemeanor; 3rd within 10 yrs. (persistent offender): Class D felony, (min. 48 consecutive hrs. in jail or 10 days community service before sentence or parole); After 10 yrs. with no other alcohol-related offenses on record, can apply for expungement
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
MONTANA61-5- 205, 208; 61-8-406, 722, 61-8-410.08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BAC or more; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04% BACDefendant shall complete alcohol information course at alcohol treatment program approved by Dept. of Corrections & Human Services which may include alcohol or drug treatment or both if considered necessary by counselor conducting program1st: 6 mos.; subsequent: 1 yr. (completion of alcohol information course or treatment must be completed before revocation ends)1st: $3001000 and up to 10 days in jail; 2nd: $600 1000 and 530 days jail; 3rd: $10005000 and 10 days6 months jail (except for initial 510 days in jail, rest of jail time can be home arrest)
NEBRASKA28-106; 60-6, 196, et seq.; 28-105.08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BACPresentence evaluation in alcohol assessment, paid for by person convicted; judge may order program based on results of assessment1st: 6 mos. (if judge orders suspension of sentence or probation, 60 days from time of order); 2nd within 12 yrs.: 1 yr. (if judge orders suspension of sentence or probation, 1 yr. from time of order); 3rd or subsequent within 12 yrs.: 15 yrs. (if judge orders suspension of sentence or probation, 1 yr. from time of order)1st: $400-500 and 7-60 days jail; 2nd within 12 yrs.: $500 and 30-90 days jail; 3rd within 12 yrs.: $600 and 3 mos.-1 yr. jail; 4th and subsequent: up to 5 yrs. imprisonment and/or up to $10.000 fine or both
NEVADA484.379, et seq. .08% BAC within 2 hrs. after driving or being in actual physical control of vehicle1st: must pay for and complete educational course on alcohol and substance abuse; 2nd within 7 yrs.: may order to undergo program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse (for 1st and 2nd violation: person may apply to undergo 1 yr. program for alcoholism and drug abuse if hes classified by counselor or physician as drugor alcoholic)Revoked if BAC is greater than .08%1st: $400-1000 and 2 days to 6 mos. jail or 4896 hrs. community service (dressed in distinctive garb); 2nd within 7 yrs.: $750-1000 and 10 days to 6 mos. jail and 100-200 hrs. community service; 3rd or subsequent within 7 yrs.: category B felony, $2000-5000 and 1-6 yrs. jail; in addition to any penalty, civil penalty of $35 paid to court
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
NEW HAMPSHIRE263:65-a; 265.82 et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21: .02% or moreYes, Impaired Driver Intervention Program; must successfully complete to get license back; must be approved by the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services and the commissioner of Safety1st: 9 months to 2 yrs.; 2nd within 7 yrs.: 3 yrs.; 3rd within 7 yrs.: indefinite, min. 5 yrs.; 4th or subsequent: indefinite, min. 7 yrs.1st: $350; 2nd within 7 yrs.: $500 and 10 days (3 in city jail and 7 in DWI offender intervention detention center); 3rd within 7 yrs.: $500 and 30 days jail and 28 day treatment program. (Stiffer penalties for transporting person under 16 yrs. old, speeding 30 mph over limit, or accident resulting in serious bodily injury)
NEW JERSEY39:4-50; 39:4-50.14.08% BAC; under age 21: .01% or moreScreening, evaluation, referral program, and fee requirements of Div. of Alcoholisms Intoxicated Driving Programs Unit and 12-48 hrs. in two consecutive days in Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and a program of alcohol education and highway safety as proscribed by director of Div. of Motor Vehicles1st: 3 months1 yr.; 2nd: 2 yrs.; 3rd: 10 yrs. (if driver is under 17 yrs. old, period of revocation begins at 17th birthday)1st: $250-400 and up to 30 days jail and 12-48 hrs. in Intoxicated Driver Resource Center; 2nd: $500-1000, 30 days community service, and 48 hrs. to 90 days jail; 3rd: $1000 and min. 180 days jail; up to 90 days of jail can be exchanged for community service (those who are underage for drinking and found DWI are subject to stiffer penalties)
NEW MEXICO66-5-29; 66-8-102; 66-8-112.08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BAC; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04%May be required by court to enroll in screening program to determine level of abuse and recommendation of treatment, if necessary; must complete any recommended treatment program required by court; 1st offense: must attend driver rehab program for alcohol or drugs, a DWI school, and any other rehab programs the court finds necessary1 yr. (on 1st offense suspension can be avoided by attending driver rehab program)1st: $300-500 and/or up to 90 days jail and min. 48 hrs. of community service; 2nd: $500 and/or up to 1 yr. jail and min. 48 hrs. of community service; 3rd: $750 and min. 30 days-1 yr. jail; 4th: 4th degree felonymin. 6 mos. jail (penalties more severe for BAC over .16% and accident causing bodily injury)
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
NEW YORKVeh. &Traf. 1192, 1193 et seq. ; 1192-a.08% BAC; commercial motor vehicle drivers: .04%; under age 21: .02%Court may require attendance at single session of victims impact program1st: 90 days; 2nd within 5yrs.: 6 mos.; 3rd within 10 yrs: 6 mos.1st: $300-500 and/or up to 15 days jail; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $500-750 and/or 30 days jail; 3rd or more within 10 yrs.: misdemeanor, $750-1500 fine, and/or up to 180 days jail
NORTH CAROLINA20-138.1, et seq., 179.08% BAC at any relevant time after the driving; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04%; under age 21: no amount of alcoholAssessment may be required for alcoholism and substance abuse and appropriate treatment if necessary in program approved by Dept. of Human Res.Level 5: 30 days; level 4: 60 days; level 3: 90 daysCourt assesses the following levels of penalties based upon a list of grossly aggravating, aggravating and mitigating factors: level 5: 24 hrs. jail, 24 hrs. community service, and $200 fine; level 4: 48 hrs. jail, 48 hrs. community service, and $500 fine; level 3: 72 hrs. jail, 72 hrs. community service, and $1000; level 2: up to $2000 fine, 7 days-12 mos. jail; level 1: up to $4000 fine, 30 days-24 mos. jail. Level 1 and 2 reserved for grossly aggravating factors only (such as prior convictions, serious injury, driving with child under 16 yrs. old)
NORTH DAKOTA39-06.1-10; 39-08-01.08% BAC at time of test given within 2 hrs. of drivingOrder for addiction evaluation by appropriate licensed addiction treatment program with appropriate treatment if necessary1st: 90 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 2 yrs.1st: Class B misdemeanor, min. $250; 2nd within 5 yrs.: Class B misdemeanor, min. $500 and min. 5 days jail or 30 days community service; 3rd within 5 yrs.: Class A misdemeanor, $1000 and min. 60 days jail; 4th within 7 yrs.: Class A misdemeanor, $1000 and 180 days jail; 5th or subsequent within 7 yrs: class C felony, $1000 and 180 days jail
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
OHIOTit. 37 3793.10; Tit. 45 4511.19; 4511.99; 4510.02; 4510.021.08% BAC (.02% BAC if under 21 yrs. old)1st: Drivers Intervention Program (as 1 yr. alternative to jail sentence); rehab may be required in sentences; 4th or more: required attendance at alcohol and drug addiction program1st: 6 mos. to 3 yrs.; 2nd within 6 yrs.: 1-5 yrs.; 3rd within 6 yrs.: 2-10 yrs.; 4th within 6 yrs.: min. 3 yrs.-permanent.1st: 1st degree misdemeanor, $250-1000 and 3 days or longer jail; 2nd within 6 yrs.: 1st degree misdemeanor, $350-1500, 10 days or longer jail (part of term may be on house arrest or allow work release); 3rd within 6 yrs.: $550-2500 and 30 days to 1 yr. jail (part of term may be on house arrest or allow work release); 4th or subsequent: 60 days-1yr. jail, $800-10,000 fine
OKLAHOMATit. 47 §§6-205.1, 11-902.08% BAC at time of test given within 2 hrs. after arrestReferred to Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services alcoholism evaluation facility for evaluation and substance abuse course1st: 180 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 3 yrs.1st: up to $1000 and 10 days to 1 yr. jail; 2nd within 10 yrs.: up to $2500 and 1-5 yrs. jail, felony conviction; 3rd within 10 yrs.: up to $5000, 17 yrs. jail, felony conviction; 4th or subsequent: up to $5000, 110 yrs. jail, felony conviction
OREGON161.615, et seq. ; 813.010, et seq. ; 809.420.08% BAC (any amount for persons under 21 yrs. of age)Mandatory complete exam by court approved agency/ organization to determine whether individual has a problem condition involving alcohol or controlled substances; complete a treatment program if exam shows it necessary; if none necessary, then complete alcohol and drug information program.1st: 1 yr.; 2nd or subsequent within 5 yrs.: 3 yrs.1st: Class A misdemeanor, minimum $1000, up to 1 yr. jail, fees for programs; 2nd: minimum $1500, up to 1 yr. jail, fees for programs; 3rd or subsequent: minimum $2000, up to 1 yr. jail, fees for programs; 4th or subsequent: Class C felony, up to 5 yrs. jail.
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
PENNSYLVANIATit. 75 1548; 1532; 3731; 3802 et seq. .08% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving or actual physical control of vehicle; under age 21: .02% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving or actual physical control of any vehicleEvaluation to determine extent of persons involvement with alcohol or controlled substances using Court Reporting Network instruments (may order treatment if necessary) and mandatory attendance in approved alcohol highway safety school1 month (of part of Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) to 12 mos.1st: up to 6 months probation, $300, misdemeanor; 2nd: 5 days6 months jail, $300 2500; 3rd or subsequent: misdemeanor in 2nd degree, 10 days2 yrs. jail, $5005000; Note: Sentencing and fines higher for minors and commercial drivers, and judge may impose up to 150 hrs. community service in addition to above penalties
RHODE ISLAND31-27-2.08% BACAttendance required at special course on DWI or under the influence of controlled substance and/or alcoholic or drug treatment for individual1st: 1-6 mos.; 2nd: 1-2 yrs.; 3rd within 5 yrs.: 2-3 yrs.1st: $100-300 and 10-60 hrs. community service and/or up to 1 yr. jail; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $400 and 10 days to 1 yr. jail; 3rd or subsequent within 5 yrs.: $400, 13 yrs. jail, may have car seized and sold by State of Rhode Island and proceeds going to general fund. Note: anyone convicted under this section pays highway assessment fine of $500. Different penalties for those under 18 yrs. of age.
SOUTH CAROLINA56-5-2930, et seq. Under influence of intoxicating substancesliquor or drugs; .08% BACEvaluation and successful completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program certified by South Carolina Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse prior to reinstatement of license1st: 6 mos.; 2nd: 1 yr.; 3rd: 2 yrs.; 4th: permanent1st: $400 and 48 hrs. to 30 days jail or 48 hrs. public service; 2nd: $2000-5100 and 5 days to 1 yr. jail or min. 30 days public service; 3rd within 10 yrs.: $3800-6300 and 60 days to 3 yrs. jail; 4th and subsequent: 1-5 yrs. jail
SOUTH DAKOTA32-23-1, et seq. ; 22-6-1; 22-6-2.08% BAC or under the influence; under age 21: .02% BAC1st: required if .17% BAC; court-ordered evaluation to determine if addicted to alcohol1st: min. 30 days to 1 yr.; 2nd: min. 1 yr.; 3rd: min. 1 yr.; 4th: min. 2 yrs.1st: Class 1 misdemeanor, $1000 and/or 1 yr. jail; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $1000 and/or 1 yr. jail; 3rd within 5 yrs.: Class 6 felony, $2000 and/ or 2 yrs. jail; 4th: Class 5 felony, 5 yrs. jail and may impose fine of $5000
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
TENNESSEE55-10-401, 403Under the influence .08% BAC2nd offense: may be required to participate in court-approved inpatient alcohol and drug treatment program, up to 28 days1st: 1 yr.; 2nd: 2 yrs.; 3rd: 3-10 yrs.; 4th or subsequent: 5 yrs.1st: $350-1500 and 48 hrs. to 11 mos. 29 days jail or 200 hrs. of public service; 2nd within 10 yrs.: $600-3500 and 45 days to 11 mos. 29 days jail; 3rd and subsequent: $1100-10,000 and 120 days to 11 mos. 29 days jail; 4th or subsequent: $3000-15,000, class E felony, min. 150 days jail. Note: there are more serious penalties for multiple offenders (within 10 yrs.), serious bodily injury, or minor offenders.
TEXASTex. Codes Ann.-Penal 49.04, 49.09, 12.21, 12.22, 12.34; Tex. Stat. Ann. Art. 42.12; 49.01.08% BAC  1st: Class B misdemeanor, $2000 and/or 72 hrs.-180 days jail; 2nd within 10 yrs.: Class A misdemeanor, $4000 and/ or 15 days-1 yr. jail; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 3rd degree felony, 2-10 yrs. jail, and max. $10,000 fine; court may order community supervision
UTAH41-6-44.08% BAC within 2 hrs. of operation or physical control1st: assessment and educational series at a licensed alcohol dependency rehab facility (court may order treatment if person has problem); 2nd: same as above (treatment at courts discretion); 3rd and subsequent: same as above (treatment at alcohol rehab facility is mandatory)1st: 90 days; subsequent within 6 yrs. of prior conviction: 1 yr.1st: Class B misdemeanor (Class A if bodily injury involved or child under 16 yrs. old is passenger), minimum $750 and min. 48 hrs. jail or min. 24 hrs. community service; 2nd within 6 yrs.: minimum $800 and min. 240 hrs. jail or min. 240 hrs. community service; 3rd or subsequent within 6 yrs.: 3rd degree felony, minimum $1500, 1500 hours jail
VERMONTTitle 23 1201, et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BAC1st: alcohol assessment screening-therapy program or driver rehab if necessary at courts discretion; 2nd: completion or substantial progress in completing therapy program1st: 90 days; 2nd: 18 months; 3rd or subsequent: life1st: max. $750 and/or up to 2 yrs. jail; 2nd: up to $1500 and/or 48 hrs. to 2 yrs. jail and 200 hrs. community service; 3rd: up to $2500 and/or up to 5 yrs. jail, and 400 hrs. community service. Note that serious injury or death carries harsher penalties.
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
VIRGINIA18.2-266, et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BACAlcohol Safety Action Program certified by commission on the VA Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASP) for 1st or 2nd offense at courts discretion1st: 1 yr.; 2nd within 10 yrs.: 3 yrs.; 3rd within 10 yrs.: 3 yrs.1st: Class 1 misdemeanor: 2nd within 5-10 yrs.: $200-2500 and 1 mo. to 1 yr. jail; 3rd or subsequent: minimum $1000, and minimum 1 yr. jail for 4th or subsequent, Class 6 felony. Note: harsher penalties for minors with BAC .02-.10% or those transporting minor under 17 yrs. old.
WASHINGTON46.61.502 et seq..08% BAC within 2 hrs. of driving; under age 21: .02% BAC within 2 hrs. of drivingA diagnostic evaluation and treatment recommendation by alcoholism agency approved by Dept. of Social & Health Services and completion of alcohol information course1st: 90 days; 2nd within 3 yrs.: 2 yrs. and subject to vehicle seizure and forfeiture; 3rd or subsequent: 3 yrs. Note: longer suspension period for higher BAC (over .15%)1st: Gross misdemeanor, $350-5000 and 24 hrs. to 1 yr. jail; 2nd within 7 yrs.: $500$5000 and 30 days 1 yr. jail and 60 days electronic home monitoring at offenders cost; 3rd or subsequent within 7 yrs.: $1000 $5000 and 90 days1 yr. jail and 120 days electronic home monitoring at offenders cost. Higher BAC (above .15%) or refusal to take test results in harsher penalties
WEST VIRGINIA17C-5-2 et seq. .08% BAC; under age 21: .02% BACYes, an approved educational and treatment program1st: min. 6 mos.; 2nd: 10 yrs.; 3rd within 10 yrs.: life1st: $100-500 and 1 day to 6 mos. jail; 2nd: $1000-3000 and/or 6 mos. to 1 yr. jail; 3rd: $3000-5000 and/ or 1-3 yrs. jail, felony. Bodily injury, death, or .02-.10% BAC for minors results in harsher penalties
WISCONSIN343.30 et seq. ; 346.63 et seq., 340.01.08% BAC; under age 21: 0.0% BAC; commercial motor vehicle driver: .04% BACAssessment by approved public treatment facility for examining persons use of alcohol or drugs and for developing a driver safety plan for the person1st: 6-9 mos.; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr. to 18 mos., court may order motor vehicle to be seized; 3rd or more within 10 yrs.: 2-3 yrs.1st: $150-300; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $350-1100 and 5 days to 6 mos. jail; 3rd within 10 yrs.: $600-2000 and 30 days to 1 yr. jail; 4th within 10 yrs.: $600-2000 and 60 days to 1 yr. jail; 5th within 10 yrs.: $600-2000 and 6 mos. to 5 yrs. jail. May do community service in lieu of all or part of fine
StateCode SectionBAC Legal LimitRehabilitation Required?Drivers License Suspension?Other Penalties
WYOMING31-5-233; 31-7-127, 128; 31-5-234.08% BAC (.05-.08% no presumption but may be used as evidence); under age 21: .02% BACSuspension of imprisonment or parole based on pursuit of alcohol education and treatment program prescribed by judge1st: 90 days; 2nd within 5 yrs.: 1 yr. (vehicle registration also suspended by the state) 3rd conviction within 5 yrs.: 3 yrs.1st: misdemeanor, up to $750 and/or up to 6 mos. jail; 2nd within 5 yrs.: $200-750 and 7 days to 6 mos. jail; 3rd or subsequent: 1-6 mos. and $750-3000. Harsher penalties for serious bodily injury

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Driving under the Influence (DUI)

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI)

Driving Under the Influence is a term that refers to the operation of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and being affected by it in some way. It may be used as a legal term denoting a lesser offense than Driving while intoxicated (DWI). Specific blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limits are associated with a DUI offense. These vary among states and countries but are often between .05 percent and .10 percent (50 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dl] and 100 mg/dl). In the United States, most states place the limit at .010 percent to be classified as driving under the influence. Some states have reduced the legal limit to 0.08 percent, but Congress rejected legislation in 1998 that would have required all states to lower the drunken driving arrest threshold to .08 percent.

There is a strong correlation between a BAC greater than 0.05 percent and risk of serious injury or death while operating a motor vehicle. After the BAC reaches .08 percent or more, the probability of a crash climbs rapidly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 1998, alcohol was involved in 39 percent of all fatal crashes (almost 16,000 fatalities) and 7 percent of all crashes. NHTSA estimates that three out of ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash sometime during their lives.

(See also: Breathalyzer ; Dramshop Liability Laws ; Driving, Alcohol, and Drugs ; Drug Interactions and Alcohol ; Drunk Driving ; Mothers Against Drunk Driving ; Students Against Destructive Decisions )

BIBLIOGRAPHY

AMERICAN Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs. (1986). Alcohol and the driver. Journal of the American Medical Association, 255 (4), 522-527.

National Highway Safety Administration. (1998). Alcohol fact sheet. Washington, D.C.

Myroslava Romach

Karen Parker

Revised by Frederick K. Grittner

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ROMACH, MYROSLAVA; PARKER, KAREN; GRITTNER, FREDERICK K.. "Driving under the Influence (DUI)." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (June 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403100170.html

ROMACH, MYROSLAVA; PARKER, KAREN; GRITTNER, FREDERICK K.. "Driving under the Influence (DUI)." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. 2001. Retrieved June 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403100170.html

Drunk Driving

DRUNK DRIVING

Drunk driving results in one of the most costly social consequences of Alco-Hol abuse. The toll on human life and health exacted by drunk drivers can, on its own, make alcohol abuse one of the most serious U.S. social problems. The extent and consequences of drunk driving demonstrate the challenges of harmonizing a drinking culture with a modern industrial society.

The combination of drinking and driving has been recognized as a serious problem since the invention of the automobile in the 1880s. In 1904, the Quarterly Journal on Inebriety editorialized that "the precaution of railroad companies to have only total abstainers guide their engines will soon extend to the owners of these new motor wagons with the increased popularity of these wagons, accidents of this kind will multiply rapidly." By 1910, drunk driving had already been codified as a misdemeanor offense. Moreover, the dangerous mixture of alcohol and driving was a key point in the Prohibitionists' argument in favor of the Eighteenth Amendment.

During the 1950s and 1960s, with postwar prosperity and a developing highway network, both alcohol abuse and traffic safety became serious national widespread issues. The Highway Safety Act of 1966 was crucial to mobilizing attention and resources in an attack against drunk driving. In effect, it established a federal (not just a state and local) jurisdiction by creating the National Highway Safety Bureau, the precursor of the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it authorized the U.S. Department of Education's 1968 Report, Alcohol and Highway Safety. This report found that "the use of alcohol by drivers and pedestrians leads to some 25,000 deaths and a total of at least 800,000 crashes in the United States each year." The report warned that "this major source of human morbidity will continue to plague our mechanically powered society until its ramifications and many present questions have been exhaustively explored and the precise possibilities for truly effective countermeasures determined."

NHTSA became the main sponsor of research and action projects aimed at reducing drunk driving. In 1970, NHTSA launched the Alcohol Safety Action Project (ASAP), the first major U.S. initiative against drunk driving. The ASAP, established in thirty-five communities, sought to achieve a significant reduction in drunk driving through a mixture of intensive countermeasuresincluding law enforcement, rehabilitation, and education. These programs were rigorously monitored. Unfortunately, despite huge increases in arrests and tens of thousands of referrals to drunk-driver schools and rehabilitation programs, a significant decrease in drunk driving could not be confirmed, and the ASAP was terminated in 1977.

The attack on drunk driving did not subside. In the late 1970s, there emerged a remarkable grass-roots anti-drunk driving movement comprised of victims, their families, and many other concerned citizens. Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD), Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD), and Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) opened local chapters throughout the United States and vigorously campaigned for new and tougher drunk-driving countermeasures. The crusade launched by these groups attracted a great deal of media attention, vaulting drunk driving to the top of the nation's social problems agenda. In 1982, President Ronald W. Reagan appointed a Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving. Congress linked state highway funds to the states' passage of specified anti-drunk driving measures, including a minimum drinking age of twenty-one. Ultimately, every state raised its drinking age accordingly. The states passed a deluge of legislation, providing for more and better law enforcement and more severe criminal penalties of a greater rangeincluding mandatory jail terms, automatic license forfeiture, public education, drunk-driver schools, and rehabilitation.

MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM

More than 2 million people are arrested each year for drunk driving. The actual number of offenses, while unknown and unknowable, must be far greater, since only a fraction of all violators are apprehended. A few researchers have mounted roadside surveys in which drivers are stopped and asked to voluntarily provide a breath sample from which the amount of alcohol in the blood can be calculated. While this is the best strategy for determining the actual amount of drunk driving, there are many problems with this methodology (which roads? what times? how many refusals?). A 1985 Minnesota roadside survey found that of 838 drivers on the road between 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. (prime time for drunk driving), 82.3 percent tested negative for any alcohol, 6 percent tested at Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) 0.05-0.09 percent (included as a lesser Driving While Intoxicated [DWI] offense in some states), and 2.4 percent tested above the drunk-driving threshold of BAC0.1 percent.

Drunk drivers do not pose a uniform risk to themselves, their passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. The most dangerous of the drunk drivers are the vehicular equivalent of the "fighting drunk"; they drive far in excess of the speed limit, weave in and out of traffic, and cross into lanes of traffic going in the opposite direction. At the low end of the continuum are drunk drivers who make an impaired effort to drive safely; although operating with diminished skill and judgment, they pose less of a risk than the agressive drunk drivers.

The most impressive experimental study of the causal role of alcohol in traffic crashes was carried out during the 1960s by Professor Robert Borkenstein (inventor of the Breathalyzer) and his University of Indiana colleagues. The researchers obtained breath samples from 6,000 accident-involved drivers and, as controls, from 7,500 non-accident-involved drivers. They found that 6.3 percent of the accident-involved drivers, but fewer than 1 percent of the control drivers, had BACs equal to or greater than 0.1 percent (the prevailing definition of drunk driving in the 1980s). Moreover, each higher BAC level included a disproportionate number from the accident-involved group. Thus Borkenstein and his colleagues concluded that "BACs above .04% are definitely associated with an increased accident rate. The probability of accident-involvement increases rapidly at BACs above .15%. When drivers with BACs over 0.08% have accidents, they disproportionately involve only the driver's vehicle, and are more costly in terms of personal injury and property damage."

While most drunk-driving episodes do not result in a crash or injuries, the aggregate personal and property damage perpetrated by drunk drivers is staggering. A good deal of methodological controversy exists about the percentage of the approximately 45,000 annual traffic fatalities in the United States that can be attributed to drunk drivers. NHTSA's Fatal Accident Reporting System, which has been operating since the mid-1970s, presents important information about alcohol and traffic fatalities but does not attempt to estimate what proportion of all traffic deaths were caused by drunken driving. James Fell and Terry Klein, using statistical modeling techniques, have estimated that approximately 30 percent of all traffic fatalities can be attributed to drunk driving; other analyses have put this estimate at 50 percent.

Drunk drivers themselves, often in single-car collisions, comprise a large proportion of those who are killed, giving fatal drunk-driving episodes as much resemblance to suicide as to homicide. Nevertheless, each year thousands of innocent pedestrians and motorists are killed by drunk drivers, and tens of thousands are badly injured. There is also a huge amount of property damage.

THE OFFENDER

It is difficult to find reliable data on which to base a profile of the drunk driver. Using arrest data, we find that the vast majority, 90 percent, of drunk drivers are male and white. Despite the common belief that teenage drivers are most likely to be drunk, it is the mid-twenties age group that deserves this notoriety. Since it takes heavy drinking (from four to six drinks in two hours, depending on the drinker's weight) to reach the prohibited level, it is unlikely that light drinkers very often commit drunk-driving offenses. Thus, people who drive drunk are likely to be heavy drinkers and alcohol abusers. Nevertheless, light and moderate drinkers may on occasion drive drunk, perhaps due to a binge. Since light and moderate drinkers greatly outnumber heavy and abusive drinkers, they may in fact comprise a substantial proportion of arrested drunk drivers.

The consensus of studies based on screening tests of drunk drivers is that about 50 percent arrested for this offense are alcohol abusers, about 35 percent are social drinkers, and the remainder fall in between. While the categories alcohol abuser and social drinker are amorphous, a disproportionately high percentage of those arrested for drunk driving are actually heavy drinkers.

The large majority of drunk drivers arrested in any given year have not been arrested before. A well-executed Minnesota study found that only 7 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents had been convicted of drunk driving in the preceding three years; of drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents, 13 percent had a DWI conviction in the previous 3 years, and 25 percent had a license revocation during the preceding 8 years. The low official rate of recidivism probably means that the chance of a drunk driver's being caught is extremely small.

THE CRIME OF DRUNK DRIVING

The first drunk-driving laws made it an offense to drive while intoxicated or to drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Starting in the 1950s, states began to pass per se laws, which made it an offense to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC that exceeds certain levels. When a suspect is arrested for drunk driving, he or she is asked to take a deep breath and blow into a machine (the Breathalyzer is one model) that measures the amount of alcohol in the breath and converts it into a measure of the amount of alcohol in the blood. Pursuant to implied consent laws, suspects who refuse to provide a deep-lung breath sample are penalized by loss of their driver's license and sometimes by other sanctions as well. The evolution of breath-testing equipment, including hand-held devices (like the Intoxilyzer), has greatly eased the identification and conviction of drunk drivers. Despite folklore to the contrary, it is extremely rare that suspects who "fail" the breath test obtain acquittals. Indeed, the conviction rate for drunk driving is well over 90 percent.

In most states, a first drunk-driving offense is a misdemeanor, and a second offense within a specified time period (up to ten years in some states) is a felony. In a few states, a first offense is treated as a traffic violation, a second offense a misdemeanor, and a third offense a felony. Punishments vary from state to state; however, the usual range of punishments includes forfeiture of a driver's license for up to 1 year, fines of 500 to 1,000 dollars, and incarceration up to 30 days. In the late 1980s, spurred by the anti-drunk driving citizens' groups and federal financial incentives, several states passed laws mandating at least forty-eight hours of incarceration for a first DWI offense and a longer time for a second or subsequent offense. Another penalty that has been gaining popularity is the automatic and immediate forfeiture of the driver's license at the police station when the suspect fails or refuses to take the breath test (administrative per se law). In the early 1990s, and once again in response to federal pressure, states began lowering the prohibited BAC from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent.

At least since the early 1970s, the criminal justice system's processing of drunk drivers has been linked to alcohol-treatment programs. In many jurisdictions, all drunk-driving offenders are routinely screened for Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholics and abusers may be diverted from prosecution to Treatment. More likely, however, the judge will require the offender to participate in treatment as a condition of probation or in order to obtain a provisional or regular driver's license. In some jurisdictions, the criminal-justice system is the largest source of clients flowing into alcohol-treatment programs. Thus, enforcement of the drunk-driving laws is one of the major ways that alcohol abusers are brought into the alcohol-treatment matrix.

In addition to the standard alcohol treatments, the attack on drunk driving has produced one unique kind of treatmentthe drinking-driver school, which several million people have passed through since the mid-1970s. States and localities that have such schools often require all drunk drivers to attend. New York's school consists of five two-hour sessions and two three-hour sessions. The classes provide information about such matters as the deterioration of driving skills at different BAC levels, the inability to counteract intoxication with coffee or cold showers, and criminal penalties for drunk driving. People taking these classes are also required to fill out the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) to determine whether they are alcohol abusers.

ENFORCEMENT

Enforcement of drunk-driving laws is the responsibility of local police, county sheriffs, and the state police or highway patrol. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents police from stopping cars at random and requiring drivers to take breath tests. Police must have probable cause to believe that drunk driving or some other offense (including traffic offenses) has been, is, or is about to be committed. Once a driver has been legitimately stopped, the police officer can order the driver to submit to a field sobriety test, which may consist of walking heel-to-toe, counting backwards, or performing other tasks that reveal intoxication. If the driver's performance on the test gives the officer probable cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated, the officer will arrest the driver. At the station, drivers will be told that they are required by the implied-consent law to submit to a breath test; refusal to cooperate will lead to license revocation.

In the 1980s, as states and localities searched for more effective anti-drunk driving strategies, some police departments mounted roadblocks at which every car (or every n th car) was briefly stopped and the driver briefly observed and sometimes questioned. If the officer detected alcohol, the driver was pulled over and required to submit to a breath test. Since these drunk-driving roadblocks were not based upon probable cause, they were challenged. In 1990, however, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld drunk-driving roadblocks under its administrative search doctrine (Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 110 S. Ct. 2481). The Court ruled that as long as the roadblocks are situated in a fixed location, overseen by high-level officials, and operated nondiscriminatorily, they do not violate the Fourth Amendment.

DETERRING THE DRINKING DRIVER

Deterrence based on the threat of arrest, conviction, and punishment remains the chief strategy in the attack on drunk driving. During the 1980s, state and local governments have established dozens of strike forces and passed hundreds of laws aiming to raise the costs to the offender of driving while intoxicated. In a series of empirical evaluations of police crackdowns and elevated maximum punishments in the United States and abroad, the sociologist H. Laurence Ross found that this type of law-enforcement escalation usually produces a reduction in drunk driving (as measured by single-vehicle fatalities), but not a long-term reduction. "No such policies have been scientifically demonstrated to work over time under conditions achieved in any jurisdiction the option of merely increasing penalties for drinking and driving has been strongly discredited by experience to date."

While Ross has done far more empirical research than anybody else on deterring the drunk driver, his conclusion is not uncontroversial. One criticism is that he uses single-vehicle automobile fatalities to measure the amount of drunk driving; however, this kind of accident might not be strongly associated with the full range of drunk driving, but only with a narrow group, the most drunken and reckless of drunk driving. Possibly, while law-enforcement escalations cannot affect the kind of drunk drivers who kill themselves in single-vehicle crashes, they might be effective in the far more numerous non-fatal drunk-driving episodes that are engaged in by less pathological alcohol abusers and sociopathological persons.

The number of traffic fatalities has fallen from the late 1980s into the 1990s; drunk-driving fatalities seem to have fallen more than non-alcohol-related accidents. There may be reasons for this other than deterrence, including general reductions in alcohol consumption and abuse and more responsible public attitudes toward sober drivinghowever, a marginal deterrence effect cannot be ruled out.

OTHER ANTIDRUNK-DRIVING STRATEGIES

In addition to deterrence, states and localities have implemented many other anti-drunk driving strategies. Since all these strategies are being used simultaneously, it is impossible to attribute any reductions to one strategy over another.

Some courts have made punitive damages available in drunk-driving cases. This allows the victim of a drunk driver to recover any amount of money a jury deems appropriate for punishment. Some states permit insurance coverage of punitive damages, thereby negating whatever deterrent effect such damages might produce, but not negating a windfall for the victim.

In some states, legislatures and courts have expanded civil (tort) liability for causing drunk-driving injuries to include commercial hosts and package sellers of alcohol. While these Dramshop Laws vary from state to state, they essentially make purveyors of alcohol to underage or intoxicated persons liable for the injuries caused by such persons to themselves or others. A few state courts have even made social hosts liable for the alcohol-related traffic injuries caused by their guests.

An essential strategy for incapacitating drunk drivers is taking away their licenses to drive. Several studies have shown that drunk drivers who lose their drivers' licenses are less likely to have a recurrence than drunk drivers who are fined, sent to jail, or assigned to mandatory treatment programs (actually, all these sanctions can be imposed together). Nevertheless, when licenses are suspended or revoked, a good deal of licenseless driving takes placewhich is not surprising in a society where people depend on automobiles for their economic and social lives. Several states also have laws that authorize vehicle impoundment or forfeiture, but these sanctions are rarely used, perhaps because of the sacred status of the automobile as expensive private property.

Opportunity blocking refers to anti-crime strategies that change the environment to reduce the opportunities of committing particular offenses. The best opportunity-blocking strategy for drunk driving involves fixing the defendant's vehicle so that it cannot be started until he blows alcohol-free breath into a tube affixed to the vehicle. Such equipment is now available, and several jurisdictions have implemented experimental programs. Other opportunity-blocking strategies include the twenty-one-year-old drinking age and a spate of new laws and regulations on bars, taverns, and package-goods stores.

The anti-drunk driving movement has spawned a large number of educational strategies. These include public-service announcements on radio and television and educational materials for primary and secondary schools. The effects of such programs are very difficult to evaluate. Rehabilitation strategies for drunk drivers are closely linked to the matrix of community alcoholism and alcohol-abuse services. Drunk drivers are regularly screened for alcohol problems, and those who are identified as abusers are typically channeled into treatment through a probationary sentence.

(See also: Accidents and Injuries ; Addiction: Concepts and Definitions ; Distilled Spirits Council ; Driving, Alcohol, and Drugs ; Minimum Drinking Age Laws ; Prevention Movement ; Psychomotor Effects of Alcohol and Drugs ; Social Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse )

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gusfield, J. (1981). The culture of public problems: Drinkingdriving and the symbolic order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jacobs, J. B. (1989). Drunk Driving: An American dilemma. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Labell, A. (1992). John Barleycorn must pay: Compensating the victims of drinking drivers. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Moore, H., & Gerstein, D. (Eds.) (1981). Alcohol and public policy: Beyond the shadow of prohibition. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Ross, H. L. (1992). Confronting Drunk Driving. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Ross, H. L. (1982). Deterring the drinking driver: Legal policy and social control. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

James B. Jacobs

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JACOBS, JAMES B.. "Drunk Driving." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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JACOBS, JAMES B.. "Drunk Driving." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. 2001. Retrieved June 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403100186.html

drunk driving

drunk driv·ing (also drunk·en driv·ing) • n. the crime of driving a vehicle with an excess of alcohol in the blood. DERIVATIVES: drunk driv·er n.

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