The first drunk driving laws in the United States was established in the year 1910 in New York. The second state to adopt the law is California. Gradually, all the states started enforcing drunken driving laws. Driving under the influence of alcohol causes huge losses in terms of money and life. The drunk driving laws has been made stricter all over the nation as accidents due to drunken driving have been on the rise.
The BAC limit and the penalties have been constantly revised with evolving research and awareness. Initially, the drunk driving laws just prevented the drunk driver from not driving his or her vehicle. In 1930s, the BAC limit was established as 0.15%. In 1970s, it was brought down to 0.08%. Moreover, the legal age to start drinking was increased to 21. During this time, ‘Zero Tolerance Laws’ were also introduced. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, the BAC limit for minors is between 0.01 and 0.02. Thus, the drunk driving law has constantly been evolving and continues to do so even today.
Even though, the laws and penalties differ in each state, drunk driving is a serious offense in all the states. One common penalty for DUI across all the states is the suspension of the license. If a driver refuses to take the breath test or fails one, he or she is charged with DUI offense. In addition to the suspension of the license, the driver would be required to pay fines as determined by the local court. If it were found that the offender is suffering from drinking problems, the court would require him or her to undergo outpatient counseling or inpatient detoxification, depending on the intensity of the problem. Only after the successful completion of the recommended program will the person be permitted to drive.
The punishment for driving under influence can range from license suspension for few months and fines to jail term depending on the severity of the case and the laws of the state. Even a first time offense can get a penalty of a short jail term, probation, fines and license suspension for 3-6 months. In any case, the offender has the right to fight the drunk driving laws and bring down his or her penalty and sentencing. For that, one has to educate oneself of all the facets of the law and seek the right professional help at the right time.