States with harsh dui penalties

With the holidays right around the corner, there is so much to celebrate, but celebrating too much can get you in serious trouble. We’re talking about Driving Under the Influence--a bad idea anywhere; however some states are particularly harsher than others.


If you get a DUI in this southern state, you won’t be driving for a long time! For your first offense, you can lose your license for up to 1 year, and your second offense is 3 years! On top of all that, for the first offense you will have a minimum of 40 hours of community service and for the second offense a 30-day minimum.


Ahh, sunny Florida. A DUI in this vacation destination will cause you to lose your license anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, and can cost you up to $2000---definitely much more expensive than the cost of a taxi, even a super far one! If the blood alcohol content is .15 or above, or the person is a second offender, the driver will be forced to use an Ignition Interlock Device for up to 6 months after gaining their license back.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, getting a DUI will cause you to lose your license for six months--possibly even spending up to 3 of those months in jail, depending on whether it is your first, second or third offense---let’s hope, it’s none of these. You will also serve a minimum of 48 hours public service employment.

South Carolina comes in second just under Montana as the state with the highest number of deaths related to drunk driving, according to AOL Autos, which is part of the reason for the harsher penalties.


Getting a DUI, or an OWI (operating while intoxicated) as they call it in Iowa, for a first offense will restrict your license for 180 days and for a full year for a second offense, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Second offenders or anyone who had an accident or had a .10 BAC level with their OWI are forced to install Ignition Interlock for 1 year from the date of license reinstatement.


Tennessee really hits you hard. If you get busted for a DUI, your license will be suspended for 1 year, and you could be in jail anywhere from 48 hours to 11 months! You will also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device if you blow a .15 or above, refuse to take the breathalyzer or have a passenger under 18 in your vehicle.

So, this holiday season, play it safe. Drinking and driving is not smart. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you are putting your passengers and others on the road in danger. Reserve a designated driver, call a taxi or even stay the night. You’ll thank yourself the next morning.

**Data for each state was gathered from in addition to sources mentioned in the article.

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