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First DUI Conviction- Penalties by State

First DUI Conviction: Penalties by State

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You were caught drinking and driving, and the first thought in your mind is what kind of penalty are you likely to face for a first DUI conviction. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume there were no  aggravating factors present – anything from an accident, high blood alcohol content to driving with a minor – for sentencing purposes.

Although it is possible to be sentenced to time in jail as part of the penalty for a basic first DUI conviction, prosecutors and judges in most states usually recommend participation in alcohol education, community service or driver’s education classes instead. On the other hand, the fines and penalties – even for a first  conviction – can be significant. It’s a good idea to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney – someone familiar with the judges and prosecutors – who can negotiate on your behalf to keep the impact of your DUI conviction to a minimum.

(Click on the state name for more details about DUI law and penalties in your state.)

Alabama – Up to 1 year in jail, with no mandatory minimum, a fine of between $600 and $2,100 and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. All first offenders must attend DWI school.

Alaska – A minimum of 3 days in jail, a $1,500 fine and a minimum 90-day license suspension. All convictions, including those for first offenders, require that an interlock ignition device be placed on your vehicle. That cost is approximately $100 a month.

Arizona – A minimum of 10 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months and fines and fees that can add up to $2,500 in addition to a 1-year driver’s license suspension. In addition, it is common for a first offender to be sentenced to community service hours and up to 3 years of probation. An ignition interlock device will be required during the probation period.

Arkansas – A minimum of 24 hours in jail up to a maximum of 1 year in jail, a fine of no less than $150 and no more than $1,000 and a 6-month driver’s license suspension. In addition, DWI School is required.

California – A minimum of 4 days in jail, up to a maximum of 6 months, fines and penalties that range from $1,400 to $2,600 and up to a 1-year driver’s license suspension. In addition, offenders must undergo a DUI education program.

Colorado – Up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 9 months. (Penalties included are for DUI, not the lesser crime of DWAI). First offenders also must undergo an alcohol evaluation, attend a MADD victim impact panel and perform up to 96 hours of public service.

Connecticut – A minimum of 2 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months, a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000 and up to a 1-year driver’s license suspension. In addition, offenders must perform 100 hours of community service.

Delaware – A maximum of 6 months in jail, a fine ranging between $500 and $1,500 and a driver’s license suspension no less than 12 months and no more than 24 months.

Florida – Between 6 and 9 months in jail, a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $2,000 and a driver’s license suspension of no less than 6 months and no more than 1 year. First offenders must attend DUI School and community service is commonly ordered, particularly as an alternative to jail time.

Georgia – A minimum of 1 day in jail up to a maximum of 1 year, a fine ranging between $300 and $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year. In addition, there is a mandatory 40 hours of community service for all first offenders.

Hawaii – Between 2 and 5 days of jail, though jail time is usually deferred in favor of up to 72 hours of community service, a fine of up to $1,000 and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. In addition, all offenders must undergo a 14-hour substance abuse program.

Iowa – A minimum of 48 hours in jail up to a maximum of 1 year, a fine of up to $1,200 that can be reduced with community service hours and a driver’s license suspension of 6 months. All offenders also must attend Alcohol School.

Idaho – Up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension no less than 3 months and no more than 6 months. An alcohol assessment evaluation is mandatory.

Illinois – Up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 and a driver’s license suspension of 6 months. Offenders must undergo a DUI evaluation that could lead to educational classes or drug counseling.

Indiana – A potential jail sentence between 60 days and 1 year, a fine between $500 and $5,000 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 2 years.

Kansas – A minimum of 2 days in jail, a fine of at least $500 and no more than $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of 30 days. In addition, up to 100 hours of community service may be ordered and alcohol and drug assessment is required.

Kentucky – A minimum of 2 days in jail, with a maximum of 30 days, along with a fine between $200 an $500 along with a statutory fee of $350 and a driver’s license suspension between 1 and 4 months. Jail is usually deferred for a first offender in favor community service.

Louisiana – A minimum of 2 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months, a fine between $300 and $1,000 and a 3-month driver’s license suspension. All first offenders must undergo alcohol education classes and at least 32 hours of community service.

Maine – A minimum of 4 days in jail up to a maximum of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine and a driver’s license suspension of 150 days. In addition, installation of an ignition interlock device is required, along with alcohol education classes.

Maryland – Up to 1 year in jail, a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months.

Massachusetts – There is no required jail sentence, though it is common for first offenders to be sentenced to house arrest. In addition, first offenders face a fine no lower than $500 and up to a $5,000 fine and a driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year.

MichiganUp to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months and up to 360 hours of community service  

Minnesota – Up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. First offenders have the option to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle in order to gain restricted driving privileges more quickly.

Mississippi – Up to 2 days in jail, a fine of between $250 and $1,100 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days. An alcohol/substance abuse program is mandatory, along with a crime victim’s impact panel. 

Missouri – Up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $500 and a 30-day driver’s license suspension. Offenders also must enter the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program, which includes alcohol assessment and treatment evaluation.

Montana – A minimum of 2 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months along with a fine between $300 and $1,000 and a 6-month driver’s license suspension. Also, all offenders undergo a chemical dependency assessment and participate in a chemical dependency treatment program.

Nebraska – A minimum of 7 days in jail up to a maximum of 60 days along with a fine of up to $500 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 60 days. All offenders must undergo an alcohol assessment, which could lead alcohol treatment.

Nevada – A minimum of 2 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months, a fine between $400 and $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days. Additionally, offenders must attend Nevada DUI School and the Nevada Victim Impact Council.

New Hampshire – A minimum of 10 days in jail, a fine of at least $500 and no more than $750 and a driver’s license suspension between 9 and 18 months. In addition, all offenders must complete the state’s Impaired Driver Care Management program, which includes 20 hours of alcohol and drug education and the potential to be referred to aftercare.

New JerseyUp to 30 days in jail, a fine between $250 and $400 and a driver’s license no less than 3 months and no more than 1 year. Also, an alcohol/substance assessment and an Alcohol and Driving Awareness Program are both required for all offenders. 

New Mexico – Up to 90 days in jail, though any jail time is usually waived in favor of community service, a fine of up to $500 and a driver’s license suspension between 6 months and 1 year. Also, offenders must attend DWI School and install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for 1 year.

New York – Up to 1 year in jail, a driver’s license suspension of at least 6 months and a fine between $500 and $1,000. All offenders must attend the state’s Drinking Driver’s Program.

North Carolina – Assuming the conviction qualified for the lowest of the five sentencing levels, a first offender faces a minimum of 24 hours in jail up to a maximum of 60 days and a fine of no more than $20 along with a driver’s license suspension between 6 months and 1 year. Additionally, offenders must attend the 10-hour Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School. 

North Dakota – The state has no minimum jail time for a first offender, although judges have the discretion hand down sentences on a case-by-case basis. The fine is between $500 and $750 and the driver’s license suspension is between 91 and 180 days. Offenders also must attend Alcohol Addiction Evaluation sessions.

Ohio – A minimum of 3 days in jail up to a maximum of 6 months, a fine of at least $375 and up to $1,075 and a driver’s license suspension no less than 6 months and no more than 3 years. Jail time is often deferred if the offender agrees to attend a certified driver intervention program.

Oklahoma – A minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 1 year in jail, though jail time is usually deferred without aggravating circumstances. Other penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, along with $300 in DUI fees and a 30-day driver’s license suspension. All offenders go through drug and alcohol evaluation and assessment under the state’s Aaron Gillming Act.

Oregon – A minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $1,000 and up to $2,000 and a 1-year driver’s license suspension. In addition, offenders must install an interlock ignition device to qualify for a restricted license and must go through Alcohol and Drug Evaluation.

Pennsylvania – There is no minimum jail time for a 1st DUI conviction. Other penalties include a $300 fine and six months of probation. All offenders must attend Alcohol Highway Safety School.

Rhode Island – Up to 1 year in jail, a fine between $100 and $500 and a driver’s license suspension of at least 2 months and no more than 18 months. First offenders typically perform 10 to 60 hours of community service.

South Carolina – A minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 90 days in jail, a fine of at least $400 and as much as $1,000 and a 6-month driver’s license suspension. All offenders must go through an Alcohol Drug Safety Action program.

South DakotaUp to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 and a driver’s license suspension of at least 30 days and up to 1 year. In addition, first offenders must attend 8 hours of alcohol education classes. 

Tennessee – A minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 11 months, 29 days in jail along with a fine of between $350 and $1,500 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year. First offenders generally will be offer roadside litter pickup to avoid jail time and will be required to to go through a DUI Assessment and attend DUI School.

TexasA minimum of 3 days in jail, up to a maximum of 6 months, a driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $2,000. In addition to the fine, Texas charges 1st DUI offenders a surcharge of up to $2,000 a year – for a total of three years – to retain their driver’s license. As long as the driver did not refuse to take the chemical test, that surcharge routinely is $1,000 per year. Also, offenders will be required to complete 12 hours of DWI education classes. 

Utah – A minimum of 2 days in jail along with a minimum $700 fine and a driver’s license suspension of 4 months, in addition to alcohol screening and the potential for alcohol education classes.

Vermont – Up to 2 years in jail, a fine of up to $750 and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. All offenders are required to go through alcohol screening, which could lead to additional classes, counseling and rehabilitation.

Virginia – The minimum jail sentence is 5 days for a first conviction with a fine of at least $250 and a 1 year driver’s license suspension. An Alcohol Safety Action Program is required for all offenders and includes driver education, alcohol and drug education and additional education and counseling, if necessary.

Washington – A minimum of 1 day in jail, up to a maximum of 1 year, although it is common for the jail time to be waived in a conviction without aggravating circumstances in favor of 15 days of home detention. The fine will range between $865.50 and $5,000 with a driver’s license suspension ranging between 3 months and 1 year. Alcohol evaluation is required for all DUI convictions.  

West Virginia – A minimum of 1 day in jail, up to a maximum of 6 months along with a fine between $100 and $500 and a driver’s license suspension of between 15 and 45 days.

WisconsinA fine of between $150 and $300 and a driver’s license suspension of between 6 and 9 months. There is no jail time for a basic 1st DUI conviction in the state.

Wyoming – Up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $750 and a driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days is the basic punishment faced for a 1st DUI conviction with no aggravating circumstances

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