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Study shows how drunk driving penalties vary by state

New Jersey DUI laws are about average when compared to other states in the country, according to a recent study by the consumer financial website WalletHub. Researchers in the study analyzed the DUI enforcement rules in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which states were the strictest and which were the most lenient on convicted drunk drivers.

To find out which states had the toughest drunk driving penalties, WalletHub looked at 15 different metrics that included ignition interlock device requirements and minimum jail sentences for first time and repeat DUI offenders. In over half of all U.S. states, there is not a minimum jail sentence for a person convicted of DUI. Twenty-four states have an ignition interlock requirement for any driver convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent.

According to the WalletHub study, Arizona has the strictest DUI laws and South Dakota has the most lenient DUI laws. In Arizona, a DUI offender must spend a minimum of 10 days in jail for a first offense and a minimum of 90 days in jail for a second offense. South Dakota DUI laws are the most lenient as they specify no minimum jail sentence for a first DUI offense or a second DUI offense.

Although there are minimum sentences for certain offenses, a defendant can sometimes have charges reduced through a plea negotiation. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help devise an appropriate strategy in this regard. Some defendants are able to have their DUI charges dropped by proving that the sobriety testing methods used at the scene were administered incorrectly.

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Study shows how drunk driving penalties vary by state | The Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud