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What State has the Most Lenient DUI/DWI Laws?

by Andrew Mounier on December 4, 2012

Getting caught driving under the influence can change any person’s life; if they’re lucky enough to avoid a fatal accident, injuring an innocent person and damaging their car, they’ll only be facing problems with the law. In some states, DUI offenders learn very quickly from strict laws that driving under the influence is unacceptable, but in other states it may seem more like a slap on the wrist.

So what state has the most lenient DUI law? And how many other states are considered fairly lenient on DUI offenders?

The New York Times recently reported that Wisconsin may have the most permissive DUI laws; showing that under-aged kids are allowed to drink alcohol in public, as long as they’re with a consenting parent or guardian. This is quite contrary to the laws in many other states that can actually charge parents with supplying alcohol to minors, even their own children.

Unfortunately, the issue of under-aged drinking is just the beginning for Wisconsin, with the National Survey on Drug Use and Health Reports stating that the state has the highest incidence of DUI-relate deaths in the nation. Wisconsin law actually does not allow law enforcement to conduct DUI checkpoints, as they are considered an “intrusion on Constitutional rights of due process” according to Wisconsin State Representative, Marlin Schneider.

Furthermore, Wisconsin’s current DUI laws allow an offender to be caught drinking and driving five times before being charged with a felony.

Wisconsin isn’t completely alone in their leniency on DUIs. According to the “5th Anniversary Report to the Nation: Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving,” conducted by MADD(Mothers Against Drunk Driving), there are five other states with lax laws on DUIs:

Pennsylvania – In 2009 Pennsylvania saw over 400 DUI-related deaths, which MADD considered not only avoidable, but also caused by the state’s weak regulations. The state does at least allow sobriety checkpoints, which is a good start to enforcing stricter regulations.

Rhode Island – Rhode Island is very lenient on their DUI penalties; the state does not enforce an Administrative License Revocation law, nor do they have an ignition interlock device mandate. Rhode Island does have one piece of legislation going for them; harsher penalties for DUIs involving children endangerment.

Michigan – Michigan is also doing one thing right by increasing penalties on DUIs involving child endangerment, but most DUI arrests in Michigan don’t result in actual DUI charges, but in charges for lesser offenses. Not only does law enforcement go easy on offenders, but the state law actually forbids police from conducting sobriety checkpoints.

South Dakota – South Dakota just recently passed legislation for ignition interlock devices, but the use is only for repeat offenders. The state does allow for sobriety checkpoints, but has no legislation in place for endangering children and has an overall lax DUI legislation.

Montana – Montana law prohibits law enforcement from performing sobriety checkpoints or no-refusal activities, however, the state has been making a few baby steps on toughening penalties for repeat DUI offenders. The state also has enhanced penalties for DUIs involving child endangerment.

Regardless of a state’s leniency, Drunk Driving can still be a serious offence.  Contact Paul J. Tafelski, P.C.  immediately and he will vigorously work to secure your rights if you are accused of drunk driving.

Andrew Mounier
Andrew Miller (Mounier) is an experienced Content Engineer and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid legal blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
Andrew Mounier
Andrew Mounier

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