The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

New Laws Result in Increased Penalties for Drunken Driving and Refusal to Test

January 24, 2006

NEW YORK, NY – Every state except Nevada suspends a driver’s license for refusing a breath or blood test after being stopped on suspicion of drunken driving, according to the Associated Press. South Dakota does not suspend the license of a person who refuses to take the test in the field but does if the motorist is arrested and still refuses. With three new laws passed in 2005, 19 states now add civil or criminal penalties ranging from fines to jail time. Penalties and the 2001 percentage of drivers who refused the tests in those states, according to the report, are:
  • Alaska: Minimum $250 fine and 72 hours jail for first offense; increases to $4,000-$5,000 and one year for sixth. 17 percent.
  • Arkansas: Minimum $100 fine for first offense; increases to $500-$2,000 and 60 days community service for third. 21 percent.
  • California: Minimum $390 fine and 48 hours jail for first offense if there’s a prior DUI conviction; increases to 18 days for fourth. 5 percent.
  • Delaware: Vehicle impounded 90 days for first offense, one year for a second. 15 percent.
  • Florida: $1,000 fine, and one year in jail for second offense. 37 percent.
  • Hawaii: Vehicle registration revoked. 9 percent.
  • Indiana: $500 fine if there’s a crash with injury or fatality. 23 percent.
  • Maine: Vehicle registration may be suspended if the driver’s license is already suspended. 8 percent.
  • Maryland: Up to $500 fine and extra 60 days in jail if convicted of drunken driving. 29 percent.
  • Minnesota: $1,000-$10,000 fine and 90 days-five years in jail, depending on whether refusal classified as misdemeanor or felony. 15 percent.
  • Montana: Up to $2,000 fine, two days-six months in jail and up to 40 hours community service for driving with a license that was suspended because of a breath test refusal. 30 percent.
  • Nebraska: $500 fine and 60 days in jail for first offense; increases to $4,000 and five years for fourth. 6 percent.
  • New Jersey: Minimum $300 fine, 12 hours mandatory treatment, $3,000 insurance surcharge for first offense; increases to $1,000 fine and $4,500 insurance surcharge for third. 17 percent in 2000; 2001 data not available.
  • New York: $300 fine for first offense or $750 with first refusal after prior DUI conviction or for second offense. Refusal data not available.
  • Ohio: $100 fine for first offense (higher if also convicted of drunken driving); increases to $500 and 60 days in jail for a third. 40 percent.
  • Rhode Island: Minimum $200 fine, mandatory treatment, and 10-60 hours community service for a first offense; increases to minimum $400 fine for a third offense. 85 percent.
  • Tennessee: $1,000 fine and five days in jail if license already suspended. 36 percent.
  • Vermont: $750 fine and two years in jail if refusals follows prior DUI conviction; one to 15 years in prison and $10,000 fine if stop involves crash with serious injury. Refusal data not available.
  • Virginia: Misdemeanor conviction. Refusal data not available.
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