While drunk driving laws across the country have changed over the years, they are getting more and more similar as each state adopts more standardized DUI laws. Beginning in the 1970s, with pressure from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), states began adopting a threshold level of 0.08% blood alcohol content as being over the legal limit for driving. Some states still treat DUIs very differently, with lawmakers pushing for changes to bring the laws in line with other states.
Wisconsin is no stranger when it comes to drinking and driving. The state may be home to the country's highest rate of binge drinking. One survey puts the University of Wisconsin in the top ten universities for beer consumption. Three campuses of the University of Wisconsin also rank first, second and third for having the highest rates of drug and alcohol arrests among American college and universities. Wisconsin is also the only state that does not criminalize first-time DUIs.
First-time DUI offenders are usually given a fine and released, once they've had a chance to sober up. State Senator Tim Carpenter is looking to change the DUI law, to bring the state more in line with the standard misdemeanor charge for most first-time DUIs. “We have one of the biggest problems in the nation, and yet we have some of the fewest solutions to correct it,” said Carpenter.
Maryland has recently enacted a change to the state's DUI laws. Changes include a license suspension for 6 months for a first DUI, and one year for a second DUI. Drivers with a BAC of 0.15% or higher will have a one year suspension for their first offense, and a loss of their license for a second offense. Most first-time DUIs in California result in a 4 month license suspension.
While ignition interlock devices (IID) are only mandatory for first-time DUIs in four California counties under a pilot program, (including Alameda) many states have begun adopting mandatory IIDs for all DUIs. Pennsylvania is the latest to require IID installation for drivers with a DUI conviction. Drivers in the Keystone State will now have a limited license that allows them to drive with an IID in their vehicle, based on research that suggests IIDs reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by more than 60%.
In California, a fourth DUI can be charged as a felony. Until recently, Colorado had no such felony DUI law, meaning a driver could have 18 DUIs and only face a misdemeanor criminal charge. Now Colorado has passed a law similar to California's, which makes a fourth DUI a felony offense.
With more than 30 years of experience defending people facing a DUI in the East Bay, Lynn Gorelick understands the local laws and penalties involved. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you don't have to let your arrest end in a conviction. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands the DUI charges you are facing, and is familiar with the local prosecutors and courts.