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Drinking and Driving Laws

Whether you live in California, Georgia, or anywhere in-between, it is against the law to operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol. However, because each state has its own drinking and driving laws, it is extremely important to be familiar with the specific laws in your area if you are ever arrested for driving under the influence—a crime known as DUI.

Regardless of the state, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.08% can lead to an arrest for drunk driving. One of the most common methods law enforcement officers use to determine BAC is breath testing. As the name suggests, these tests calculate BAC by measuring the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. In some areas, blood and/or urine tests may also be administered to determine BAC.

It is important to know that it is illegal to refuse an officer’s request for BAC testing in all 50 states. The reason for this is due to a little-known legal stipulation called “implied consent.” Simply put, this means that, by accepting a driver’s license, you agreed to comply with any officer’s request for BAC testing if he or she suspects you are drinking and driving.

Furthermore, while the penalties for violating implied consent laws vary from state to state, drivers who refuse to perform a breath or other BAC test often find themselves facing more severe punishment than those who failed. Therefore, it is usually in your best interest to comply with an officer’s request if he or she asks for a breath, blood, or urine test.

In recent years, each state has also enacted laws to prevent underage drivers from driving while intoxicated. Known as “Zero Tolerance Laws,” these statutes specify a much lower BAC for drivers under the age of 21. In fact, many of these laws make it illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in your system if you are underage—in other words, a BAC above 0.0% is often grounds for DUI.

The exact penalties you will face for drinking and driving vary from state to state. However, it is not uncommon for individuals convicted of DUI to receive jail sentences, lengthy license suspensions, and/or be fined hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

In many areas, repeat offenders (those with prior DUI convictions) or individuals who with an extremely high BAC (typically twice the legal limit) can face even more severe punishment.

If you were recently arrested for drinking and driving, it is important to obtain legal counsel immediately. An experienced DUI attorney will be familiar with the laws in your state and know how they apply to your case. Having a thorough understanding of these laws is crucial if you plan to challenge your charges in court.

To determine the best defense strategy for your situation, make sure you discuss your case with a DUI defense attorney in your area. Submit a free case evaluation form right away for legal aid.

States and Cities:
AK Alaska, Anchorage LA Louisiana, New Orleans OH Ohio, Cincinnati
AL Alabama, Montgomery MA Massachusetts, Boston OK Oklahoma, Tulsa
AR Arkansas, Little Rock MD Maryland, Baltimore OR Oregon, Portland
AZ Arizona, Phoenix ME Maine, Portland PA Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
CA California, Los Angeles MI Michigan, Detroit RI Rhode Island, Providence
CO Colorado, Denver MN Minnesota, Duluth SC South Carolina, Charleston
CT Connecticut, Hartford MO Missouri, Branson SD South Dakota, Sioux Falls
DE Delaware, Wilmington MS Mississippi, Jackson TN Tennessee, Nashville
FL Florida, Orlando MT Montana, Bozeman TX Texas, Houston
GA Georgia, Atlanta NC North Carolina, Charoltte UT Utah, Salt Lake City
HI Hawaii, Honolulu ND North Dakota, Fargo VT Vermont, Burlington
IA Iowa, Des Moines NE Nebraska, Omaha VA Virginia, Richmond
ID Idaho, Boise NH New Hampshire, Portsmouth WA Washington, Seattle
IL Illinois, Chicago NJ New Jersey, Newark WI Wisconsin, Milwaukee
IN Indiana, Indianapolis NM New Mexico, Albuquerque WV West Virginia, Charleston
KS Kansas, Kansas City NV Nevada, Las Vegas WY Wyoming, Cheyenne
KY Kentucky, Lexington NY New York, New York DC Washington DC