Drinking and driving is very dangerous. This is one reason why good car insurance is so important. If you are the one responsible for drinking and driving, you may face some severe consequences!
After you get convicted of a DUI, you will need to get special SR-22 insurance. However, depending on the state you are in, you may face much harsher penalties than you were expecting.
With that in mind, which states have the toughest DUI laws, and what makes those laws so tough? Keep reading to discover the answers!
Which State Has the Toughest DUI Laws?
Arizona is the state with the toughest DUI laws. This is because they are a zero-tolerance state that makes ignition locks mandatory and a number of laws making it easier to convict drivers of a DUI.
Depending on your definition of “toughest DUI laws,” other states might make the cut. For example, you can be arrested in Utah for only blowing a 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC) on the breathalyzer, which is much lower than in other states that use the .08 BAC standard. Washington has the highest DUI fines, and you are going to spend the most time actually in jail for a DUI in Massachusetts.
However, none of the other states compare to Arizona. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this state so tough on drunk drivers!
What Makes Arizona So Tough Regarding DUIs?
In some states, your first DUI conviction may be relatively mild, with subsequent punishments getting harsher and harsher. Notably, Arizona is a state where the punishments are very strict for first-time offenders, and they only get worse from there.
What are the punishments you can expect, though? And just how bad can things get for subsequent offenses? We’re about to find out.
Zero Tolerance State
One of the biggest factors in Arizona is that it is a zero-tolerance state. This means that you don’t necessarily need to blow a 0.08% BAC or higher (the legal limit in the state). As long as the police officer thinks you are drunk, you can be charged.
If convicted, first-time offenders will pay a minimum fine of $1,250 and spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. After that, drug testing, community service, attendance in a drug and alcohol program, and installation of an ignition interlock device are all mandatory.
Things like the amount of the fine or the length of your time in jail may increase depending on your case. If you blow a 0.15% BAC or higher, the punishments get much worse. In addition to the mandatory elements above, you will pay a minimum fine of $2,500 and spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.
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You Can Be Arrested for Just Being Behind the Wheel
The spirit of most drunk driving laws is that they prevent people from drunkenly controlling their vehicle. In some cases, a driver may decide to sleep things off in their car before they attempt to drive anywhere.
In Arizona, though, being behind the wheel means you can be charged with DUI. To avoid this, you need to demonstrate that you are not actually in control of the vehicle. By placing keys in your glove compartment (or even better, the trunk of your car or outside of your car on top of a tire) and sleeping in the backseat instead of the front, you are less likely to have any trouble with the police.
Cyclists Are Subject to the Laws
In some cases, it may be safer to ride a bicycle than to drive a car. In Arizona, though, a drunk cyclist can still be arrested for DUI!
This is particularly important information for people who are thinking about riding their bike to the bar and then riding their bike back home. If you merely appear inebriated and get pulled over by a cop, it may be enough to result in a DUI.
Mandatory Ignition Locks
Earlier, we touched on the mandatory ignition locks. Even if this is your first DUI offense, Arizona offenders must add an ignition lock to their car. This lock ensures the car will not start unless the driver is sober.
Aside from that, the most important thing you should know is that you will have to pay for the installation of the lock, and the installation alone may cost hundreds of dollars. Even worse, though, is that instead of buying the lock outright, you must pay to rent it each month.
Those rentals are often $50 or more per month, and you may be responsible for paying for its regular maintenance, data fees, and so on. As you can see, Arizona is one state where you just keep paying for a DUI conviction (in this case, quite literally).
The Importance of Good Insurance After a DUI Conviction
Those who have been convicted of a DUI understand that the financial penalty extends beyond the initial fine. That’s because, after the conviction, your car insurance gets much more expensive!
Why is that? In short, insurance companies set premiums based on the risk level of the driver. If someone seems likelier to get into an accident, they will be more expensive to insure.
Once you are convicted of a DUI, you must file an SR-22 with the state for the next several years. Unfortunately, this SR-22 signals to other insurance carriers that you are a riskier driver with a history of serious moving violations. Because of this, your insurance will be more expensive even after the SR-22 expires, and you may have trouble getting covered.
By shopping around, though, you can get more than basic car insurance. You can get SR-22 coverage at the best possible price!
Get the Best DUI Insurance Today!
Now you know which states have the toughest DUI laws. But do you know who can help you save the most on car insurance after a DUI?
Here at SR-22 Adviser, we’re all about helping you save money on your monthly insurance premium. To get started, come get competitive quotes online from our partner today!