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Worst States in Which to Get a DUI

— September 9, 2020

Some states have more stringent measures in place to prevent individuals from driving under the influence. The best choice? Don’t drink and drive!

In the United States, significant strides have been made to reduce the incidents of drunk driving dramatically. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have been very vigilant in educating and curbing dangerous driving habits. However, the problem is far from solved.

Nearly 11,000 people died in drunk-driving car crashes (including more than 200 children aged below 14), and this was in 2017 alone. In 2015, over 10,000 alcohol-related deaths accounted for at least a third of all traffic-related deaths. 

In line with this, certain states have imposed harsher penalties for DUI law violators. If you get a DUI in the following states, consider it ideal to find the best DUI defense attorney you can find.


The Grand Canyon State is known for many things: hiking, sunshine, deserts, and the worst state to get a DUI in. Like most states, Arizona’s DUI laws prohibit all motorists from driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.

Arizona’s DUI laws also prohibit motorists from driving even if they are impaired “to the slightest degree.” It is worth noting that their impaired “to the slightest degree” distinction is stricter than that of other states.

Arizona also has a “not-a-drop” DUI law in place for all motorists under 21 years of age. This “not-a-drop” law prohibits anyone below 21 from driving with any alcohol in their system. 

If you think the “not a drop law” is harsh, consider this: it is possible to get a DUI there without actually driving! In other words, if you are “in physical control” of a car while impaired, you can be cited for DUI. 

Other states like California require actual vehicle movement. Arizona’s justification for the law? It helps stop impaired driving before it even starts.

Arizona is also known for being tough on first-time DUI offenders. It was the first state to require a mandatory interlock device policy for first-time violators. Arizona also has mandatory jail time and the highest fine for first-time offenders.


The Buckeye State is known for its extensive driver’s license suspensions for DUI violators. If you are convicted of DUI in Ohio, you can lose your driver’s license for three years. 

This is a stark contrast to other states like South Dakota, Rhode Island, New Jersey, South Carolina, Kentucky, Montana, and Michigan that do not mandate driver’s license suspension.

Drunk Driving Defendants Get No Sympathy in Court
Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash

Undoubtedly, Ohio is really tough in terms of license suspensions compared to other states. This is something you should keep in mind before you operate a vehicle under the influence, as you might find it difficult to get around for many years once convicted.


The Bay State imposes the most jail time for a DUI conviction. A first-time offender can face up to two and a half years in jail. Massachusetts also has a strict penalty for those who drive under the influence with a child (under 14 years of age) in their vehicle. 

If caught, the driver can be convicted of a separate offense, which is child endangerment. This offense carries with it a one-year license suspension, ninety to two and a half years in jail, and up to $5,000 in fines.


The Beehive State is known to have the lowest BAC limit of any state. Anyone in physical control of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.05% (or higher) has per se committed a DUI offense. Utah is also the only state which has implemented such a limit.

Also, a first or second DUI offense in Utah is categorized as a Class B misdemeanor. However, the DUI offense can become a Class A misdemeanor if the impaired motorist has inflicted bodily harm upon another as a result of DUI or if they had a passenger below 16 years old in the vehicle when the offense was committed.

While the misdemeanor class distinctions are somewhat identical to that in other states, its low BAC limit is unique. 


Some states have more stringent measures in place to prevent individuals from driving under the influence. With that said, it would be best never to drive while under the influence, regardless of the state you are in to play it safe.

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