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Which State Has The Toughest DWI Laws 

If you are wondering which state has the toughest DWI laws, this post will answer your question on the topic! Here, you will learn everything about DWI laws and penalties across different states and some important information you need to be aware of.

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DWI Is A Huge Issue – And Many States Are Cracking Down

Driving while you’re suffering from intoxication is a severe issue, and because of that, you’ll find that many states are cracking down and creating new laws to deter people from drinking and driving. As with any law, you’ll find that the severity depends on where you choose to live. You may experience a sense of foreboding if you live in a less lenient state than you’d like. However, if you live in a tolerant state, you can find that it is a different story. 

However, whether or not your state is stern is something you’ll find out when you’re operating your vehicle. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you. The consequences can range from various measures, including the following.

  • A revoked driver’s license 
  • A suspended driver’s license
  • Jail time
  • Heavy fines 
  • Community service
  • Rehab
  • Damage to your driving record

You will want to avoid these options, and you may ask yourself which states are the most strict. We’ve got the answer for you. We’ve looked at which state is the harshest on first-time offenders, the most lenient states, and what happens when you are charged with these infractions. We’ve also provided information on finding the best attorney possible. 

Please take a look at this helpful E-Book: DWI: Practical Information For The Accused And Attorneys In Louisiana

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States are cracking down. It always pays to hire an attorney for DWI charges.

States That Have Tough DWI / DUI Laws & What You Need To Know

Arizona Is Strict On First-Time Offenders 

The prevailing thought about the strictest state for first-time offenders in Arizona. The reasoning behind these thoughts is that they are incredibly stringent on first-time offenses because they want to avoid repeat offenders. Not only that, they have specific programs they’ve put in place that are usually seen as options for people who have committed this infraction more than once. However, you’ll find that many states no longer want to wait for people to achieve this infraction twice, and as a result, more programs are being created to stop issues like this from happening. 

PRO TIP: Read our recent blog postcan a DWI be dismissed. We know you’ll find it very helpful and informative.

You Get An Ignition Interlock Device

To help you understand what we mean, think about the Ignition Interlock Device. Outside of Arizona, you’ll find that they use this as an option to avoid sentencing. It’s done for someone who has already been accused of a DWI. However, you don’t get a choice in this state, and it’s mandatory the first time out. While Arizona was the first to do this, many others have started to follow this idea and are cracking down more. That means there will be harsher punishments for people convicted of a DWI.

You Lose Your License

Another reason people think Arizona is tough? You don’t get to keep your license, either. Once you get put under arrest for a DUI, you’ll lose your license. If you look at how this compares to other states, you’ll see that they are more lenient. California, for example, will suspend your driver’s license but will give you a temporary one for a month. That is done while you’re requesting a hearing with the DMV. Many people like this approach, though you’ll find just as many that want harsher punishments. That reason is why you should seek a defense attorney right away. 

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There Are Other Reasons Arizona Is Considered More Strict

You may not believe us, but further reasons make this state the strictest parent of all the others. They include these consequences below that differ from those above. 

  • Mandatory screenings and consequences if you refuse to do so
  • The Ignition Interlock Device (it stays on for at least one year or more, and the cost falls to you. The price can be over five hundred dollars after the fees and initial cost.)

You’ll also find that Arizona and California have other things in common regarding DWI. You cannot refuse to have a chemical test performed. If you do, you’ll automatically lose your license if you haven’t already. You will find that Arizona isn’t a state that plays around with this, and they take it extremely seriously so that it’s not an issue in the future. 

It’s Going To Cost You! United States States With Worst Fines

Another thing that people always want to know is who has the worst fines. Well, we’ve got that answer for you as well. Times are not easy, and because of that, you’ll find that people need money to pay for things. That makes convictions like this more severe because people fear what will happen. 

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DWI’s are expensive. But when you hire a DWI attorney you will usually save over 50% in DWI costs & penalties

Repeat Offenders Typically Pay More

Like the other consequences, you’ll see that it varies depending on where you have chosen to reside. However, you can see a variety between the fines and crimes. First-time offenders will typically pay less than repeat offenders. 

Washington Has The Highest Fines

What you may need to learn quickly, however, is that Washington has the highest fines, with a past issue costing you over five grand in penalties. However, that’s not the scariest part. You can also go to prison for a year or have five years of probation.

Steer Clear Of DWI Charges In North Carolina & Massachusetts

Other states that are just a little behind Washington are North Carolina and Massachusetts. You’ll find that each state will have plans in place that are incredibly similar and does tend to take an approach that is unique to each area. It’s essential to know the laws of the site you’re in so you stay caught up later. 

It Pays To Hire An Attorney No Matter What State You’re In!

You must pay legal charges if you have a DWI in any of these areas. That all comes from you. This can be the most expensive part. However, you’ll find that defense attorneys have plans to ensure that you can do this because everyone deserves the best counsel and shouldn’t suffer because of financial instability.  In addition, it’s important to note that when you hire an attorney your overall costs go down and you save money in the long run. Fnes tend to be lower and other costs are diminished.

You’re Drunker Than You Think

This is a case of the laws that apply to each state. When you decide tonight is the night to have fun and want to go in a group or alone, you may not realize the legal drinking limit. When considering your threshold and if the state will consider you drunk, you should know that while a vast number of states agree on 0.08, others don’t. For example, Utah says you are drunk at well below 0.05. That means you can be accused of being drunk if you drink two drinks within an hour. Some states are asking for their limits to be lowered as well to keep more people off the road, which you’ll have to consider when driving. 

If you’re a commercial driver, it’s still stricter. You can not be underage and have alcohol in your system, of course, but you should also know that you can’t have a level of 0.04. Commercial driving has been taken extremely seriously, and this is another area that certain states are asking to be lowered to protect people better. 

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You Don’t Get To Avoid Jail

So we’ve looked at fines and other issues. Who has the most jail time is now what we’re worried about now. As such, we’ve got the information you need because, let’s face it. No one desires to go to prison or have that permanent mark on their record. It can ruin your entire life, making it difficult to get jobs or opportunities in the future. 

Don’t Get Busted Drunk Driving In Massachusetts!

As a result, you’ll see that you shouldn’t get a DWI in Massachusetts as you can face almost three years in jail, and that’s considered a minimum sentence, not a maximum one. You’ll also lose your license for twelve months. 

Additionally, you’ll find that California doesn’t usually require jail time for a first-timer, but it can happen. California is considered more lenient in these areas, but they do have laws in place, and while it’s not common to see their harshest sentences be carried out, it can happen in rare cases. For the rest of the states, you’ll find that most favor the idea of jail time to deter people from drinking and driving. 

Which States Are More Lenient: An Easier Punishment

You’ll want to see which states are more lenient if we cover the harshest conditions. There are a few of them, including these.

  • Ohio
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • North and South Dakota (with the latter winning the battle)
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky 

The reason that South Dakota wins the fight for the most lenient is the fact that they don’t require jail time for driving drunk. That is true whether it’s your first offense or your second. Even when you get a third offense, you’ll face a felony, but you still won’t get your vehicle towed, taken away, or forced to use the Interlock Device. 

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The Rules Will Vary From State To State

You can see that many states offer different consequences for your actions. Each has an individualized set of rules, and we will show you more examples of what we mean. 

Variations From State To State

  • South Carolina has at least two days in jail when you’ve committed a first offense. 
  • Alaska has a thirty-day suspension, heavy fines, and you’ll have to use the interlock for six months. To have your license returned to you, you’ll have to go through the driving process again and all the information and procedures that go with it. You’ll also have to provide forms to the DMV.
  • Florida has a six-month suspension, nine months in jail and using the interlock, and faces heavy fines.
  • Utah will suspend your license for over one hundred days, put you in jail for two, and ensure you have to pay to get your car and license back. You’ll also have to use the interlock for a year and a half. 
  • Texas will give you three days in jail as a first-time offender. You’ll have no access to your vehicle, a month in prison if you are on your second offense and heavy fines. 
  • Washington offers a three-month suspension on your license and a day in jail. 
  • Nebraska will let the conviction stay on your record for fifteen years. You’ll serve a week in jail, a three-month suspension, and a fine.

Having a defense plan in place is going to make all the difference. If you don’t want your life to face upheaval as much as possible, hire someone who knows what to do. You can’t have your life in a state of constant unrest. You’ll need to be free of charges and move past this in the best manner to drive to your heart’s content. 

The Best Defense Is Hiring An Attorney That Specializes In DWI

It cannot be very comforting to face DWI charges, but you should know that options are in place to help you. You should never try to beat this on your own. Not only are you qualified, chances are you need to learn the laws that pertain to drinking and driving. Because of that, you’ll need to ensure you’ve found the best attorney possible. 

Barkemeyer Law Firm Specializes In DWI Charges

When choosing the best, you should seek the counsel of Carl Barkemeyer of Barkemeyer Law Firm. He communicates with you the entire time. Not only that, he’s professional and can give you the information you need. Mr. Barkemeyer believes you should know your rights and what you’re getting into. He explains the situation to each client. That ensures that you’re not going into this blind. 

Additionally, he is considered a very reputable Louisiana criminal attorney and understands that your time is valuable. You don’t have time to waste on issues like this, and you should always know what you’re getting into. The best part? He will defend you no matter what the situation. He’s an attorney that cares about each client. There is also no judgment. 

Decades Of Experience

Another benefit to trusting Mr. Barkemeyer is that he has decades of experience. When you need results, you need to go to the person who knows the best. You want to avoid settling for a lawyer who has been handling cases for a week. Having someone who can plead your case effectively and won’t disappoint you would be best.

The most important thing, however, is that Carl Barkemeyer of Barkemeyer Law Firm is passionate about what he does and will strive to do his best. He doesn’t give up on his clients, which is the type of attorney you need when facing charges of this nature. When you need someone to fight the case for you, this is the person to turn to. Go for the best, and save your time with a lawyer that can help. 

Learning About DWI Defense

So when you’re facing charges, knowing what’s going on is a good idea. In most cases, the basis of this type of case is a chemical test and its results. The prosecution is thought to try to exaggerate the available tools to make the sentence harsher for you. However, your defense attorney will go just as hard against the prosecution to ensure you’re not suffering the long-term effects of what’s happened. 

You’ll find that common mistakes that can affect the case are the following factors.
  • The environmental factors 
  • Malfunctions with the instruments
  • Errors with calibration
  • Improper handling that was performed by the person giving the test
  • A mishandling of the samples by the lab
  • Dietary concerns
  • Psychological conditions or physical conditions 
A blood test can also be inaccurate because of these issues.
  • Blood germination
  • Improper storage 
  • Contaminating the blood 

A breath test can also be controversial because it’s going to measure the alcohol that is in your mouth, not necessarily the amount in your system. The tests are known to give higher readings as a result. Because they are so inaccurate, you can fight the accuracy in court. Your attorney will learn how to do this and ensure you get a fair trial. 

During this time, your lawyer submits a motion to investigate how the blood was handled in the lab and the testing methods to ensure accuracy. They know that if there is any discrepancy, your blood can’t be used in the case as evidence. Because of that, it means that your case can’t go forward. 

Additional Factors Related To DWI Charges & State By State Laws

You might also find that it isn’t alcohol on your breath, causing your readings to go off the charts. Because a breath test is meant to find alcohol in your mouth, and many things can mimic that, you’ll see that these things can alter the test.

  • Tobacco (mainly chewing)
  • Dental work
  • Burping after you’ve been drinking
  • A condition such as Gerd or acid reflux
  • Breath spray
  • Mouthwash

The residual alcohol that’s found in these items can give you a high testing result, and a charge can be the result even though you didn’t do anything. That happens more than you think, so it’s a good time to learn about what you can do.

Are You Ready To Find Your Attorney?

Charges like these are serious, and you don’t want to have to deal with things of this nature without help. The truth is, you shouldn’t have to. The wrong defense attorney will make everything in this situation worse for you; however, the right lawyer can change the course of the proceedings and get you the help that is going to be critical while you’re in a vital position. Remember what we said above, take your time with a second when you get charged with things like this. Take action and hire a lawyer immediately. If you wait, you can make a lousy problem worse, and there is a chance that you won’t be able to fix it. Instead, know that you can fight the charges with the best. 

Choose Barkemeyer Law Firm If You’re Facing DWI Charges In Louisiana

Barkemeyer Law Firm is a criminal law firm that specializes in DWI / DUI charges. Mr Barkemeyer can ensure that your case is fair and that you have the best chance of surviving the charges against you.

When you choose a DWI law firm, it’s crucial to put your charges in the hands of competent lawyers. If you’ve been arrested for DWI in Louisiana, Barkemeyer Law Firm is just that law firm that can help.

We handle hundreds of DWI cases annually and are the #1 choice of individuals facing DWI in Louisiana. No matter where you are in the state, our attorneys can assist and guide you towards taking the right steps in handling your DWI.

We Have 3 Locations In Louisiana

Barkemeyer Law Firm has 3 locations in Louisiana.  You also have the option of beginning your search for a DWI attorney by scheduling a consultation with us.  

Summary: Which State Has The Toughest DWI Laws

You should now have a better understanding of which state has the Toughest DWI Laws. We hope you seek out our law firm for DWI charges in Louisiana and wish you luck with any charges you may be facing.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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Louisiana DWI And Criminal Law Firm

Barkemeyer Law Firm has multiple locations in Louisiana. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

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