It may seem like Missouri has some of the worst punishments for DUI offenders, with mandatory license suspensions for refusing to take a BAC test, mandatory ignition interlock device installation for 6 months after a first DUI offense, and additional penalties based on how far over the .08 BAC limit you are when an officer tests your blood alcohol content. Unlike many other states, however, Missouri doesn’t impose any minimums on jail time or fines for DUI charges, earning it a below-average ranking in terms of how strict its DUI laws are. The worst states to get a DUI in, however, offer consequences that will make drivers seriously reconsider risking it when driving home from the bar.
Arizona: The consequences for a DUI conviction in Arizona are enough to put it at the top of nearly every list of the worst states to get a DUI in. The Grand Canyon state enforces a minimum of $1250 in fines for a first-time DUI, as well as a year of using an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle, and a minimum of 10 days in jail. If your goal is to avoid jail time, you can try to get your judge to suspend your license for a year instead.
Alaska: Alaska follows closely behind Arizona in terms of DUI punishments. A first-time offender will have to use an IID for 6 months, and faces a minimum of $1500 in fines and three days in jail. A second-offense effectively doubles the amount of fines, and earns you a minimum of 10 days in jail.
Connecticut: Taking a somewhat different approach to DUI consequences, Connecticut is fairly lenient toward first-time DUI offenders, with a minimum of 2 days in jail and $500 in fines. While the legal system may not do much damage, however, your bank account will still suffer, as the average insurance rate increase following a DUI conviction in this state is 100%. With DUI charges remaining on your driving record for 10 years, this effect can amount to much higher costs overall than the fines you face in other states.
West Virginia: Known for regularly having its university ranked as the #1 party school in the nation, it’s no surprise that West Virginia also tops the list of states with strict DUI laws. Like Connecticut, West Virginia is fairly lenient with its first offenders, with no mandatory jail time and a minimum fine of $100. Upon a second offence, though, offenders face a minimum of 6 months in jail and $1000 in fines, as well as more severe consequences in terms of license suspension.
Kansas: If you’re ever wondering which side of Kansas City to grab a drink in, Missouri’s neighbor to the west offers much more severe consequences for a DUI charge. These include a minimum of two days in jail, and $500 in fines for a first offender. Kansas residents can also expect their insurance rates to increase by roughly 50% following a DUI conviction.
If you’re left wondering, with the harshest consequences already outlined, what a DUI punishment is like in the least strict state, look to South Dakota. This state enforces no minimum jail time or fines for a first or second offense, and doesn’t require IIDs to be installed following a DUI charge or call for any level of license suspension. Furthermore, South Dakota has the shortest time frame that a DUI can remain on your driving record (5 years) and one of the lowest rates of insurance increase following a conviction, at 27%.