All 50 states and the District of Columbia have per se laws defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a proscribed level, 0.08 percent.
License suspension or revocation traditionally follows conviction for alcohol-impaired driving. Under a procedure called administrative license suspension, licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Because administrative license suspension laws are independent of criminal procedures and are invoked right after arrest, they've been found to be more effective than traditional post-conviction sanctions. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have administrative license suspension laws.
Forty-six states permit some offenders to drive only if their vehicles have been equipped with ignition interlocks. These devices analyze a driver's breath and disable the ignition if the driver has been drinking.
In 31 states, multiple offenders may forfeit vehicles that are driven while impaired by alcohol.
Forty-three states and Washington D.C. have laws prohibiting the driver, passengers or both from possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle.
|State||BAC Defined as illegal per se||Administrative license suspension 1st offense? *1||Restore driving privileges during suspension? *1,*2||Do penalties include interlock/ forfeiture? *3||Open container laws|
|Alaska||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver|
|Arizona||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|California||0.08||4 months||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|District of Columbia||0.08||2-90 days||yes||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Florida||0.08||6 months||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Hawaii||0.08||3 months||after 30 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Idaho||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Illinois||0.08||3 months||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Indiana||0.08||180 days||after 30 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Iowa||0.08||180 days||after 90 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Louisiana||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Massachusetts||0.08||90 days||no||yes/yes(eff. 1/1/06)||driver/passenger|
|Minnesota||0.08||90 days||after 15 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Nebraska||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|Nevada||0.08||90 days||after 45 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|New Hampshire||0.08||6 months||no||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|New Mexico||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/no||driver/passenger|
|New York||0.08||variable *5||yes||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|North Carolina||0.08||30 days||after 10 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|North Dakota||0.08||91 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Ohio||0.08||90 days||after 15 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Oregon||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|Washington||0.08||90 days||after 30 days||yes/yes||driver/passenger|
|West Virginia||0.08||6 months||after 30 days||yes/no||--|
1. Information pertains to drivers in violation of the BAC defined as illegal per se for all drivers, not the special BAC for young drivers.
2. Drivers usually must demonstrate special hardship to justify restoring privileges during suspension, and then privileges often are restricted.
3. A multiple offender's vehicle may be seized and disposed.
4. The 0.08 per se BAC law in Michigan contains a sunset clause which states that the legal BAC will revert to 0.10 on October 1, 2013.
5. In New York, administrative license suspension lasts until prosecution is complete.
6. In Tennessee, the open container law does not prohibit any municipality, by ordinance, or any county, by resolution, from prohibiting passengers from possessing an open container.