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What Are the Strictest, Softest States on DUI?

Did you know it would cost you less to take an Uber from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia than to have to pay the average fine of $352 for a first time DUI offender? Hell, you could get all the way to New York for the $762 the average two-time offender has to cough up. That should put things in perspective if the well-documented dangers of drunken driving alone aren't enough to dissuade you from getting behind the wheel after imbibing.

Those averages are according to a just-released study from financial services website WalletHub.com aimed at quantifying the monetary disincentives to drinking and driving. The study ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia for their relative stiffness of penalties for DUI offenses based on factors like fines, minimum jailtime and whether they mandate ignition interlock devices for offenders.

Here are the states that are toughest on drunken-driving offenders:

15. Washington

14. Louisiana

13. Texas

12. Virginia

11. Colorado

10. West Virginia

9. Delaware

8. Utah

7. Connecticut

6. Nebraska

4. Kansas, Oklahoma (tie)

3. Alaska

2. Georgia

1. Arizona

On the softer side of the spectrum, here are the most lenient states on DUI:

13. Wyoming, Wisconsin, Indiana (tie)

12. Montana

11. Mississippi

10. Vermont

8. Pennsylvania, Michigan (tie)

7. New Jersey

6. Maryland

4. North Dakota, Idaho (tie)

3. Ohio

2. District of Columbia

1. South Dakota

Some other key facts from the WalletHub study — get the full report here — included:

  • Repeat offenders spend nearly three weeks longer behind bars than first-timers on average.
  • Forty-four states and D.C. can automatically suspend your license before any court involvement if you're arrested for DUI.
  • Offenders are mandated to have their vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices in 44 states.
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