Are State DUI Laws Getting Tougher?
By: Mary Ann Pekara
People are arrested every day for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As law enforcement cracks down on these offenders, the DUI laws continue to get tougher. Because of the efforts of legislators and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), hundreds of new laws have been passed since 1980.
In addition to the fact that all states regard 21 as the legal drinking age, more than two thirds of America has laws that give an arresting officer permission to take the license away from an individual who fails or refuses a breathalyzer test. Furthermore, every state has adopted a Zero Tolerance stance that prohibits all drivers under the age of 21 from having any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems.
Not only has the severity of DUI laws increased, but penalties for drivers who are arrested have also become harsher in most states, especially for repeat offenders. Many state legislatures have passed new laws that require a driver who’s been previously arrested for DUI to receive mandatory jail time.
Fines have been raised while the length of a license suspension and the process for attaining a hardship license to drive to and from work have gotten stricter in most states as well.
Counseling and Insurance
Now states are also using certified counselors much more to determine whether or not an offender needs formal rehabilitation. Following the recommendations of these counselors is often the only way to get your driver’s license reinstated again.
In addition to the introduction of mandatory counseling, a convicted DUI offender may also face additional fees to get insurance coverage before earning driving privileges. There may also be a reinstatement fee for the driver’s license on top of all of the other monetary requirements.
The changes in DUI laws involve stiffer penalties and increased fines. But even though the laws appear to be tougher throughout the entire country, it’s important to remember that each state does follow its own set of rules.
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