What are the Penalties for DUI?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 January 2020
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Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is typically punished by just about every country with a high number of motor vehicles and alcohol. Penalties for DUI tend to vary from country to country, and may even be different depending on the state or province within a country. In most areas, however, the punishments will often involve revocation of a license to drive for a certain period of time and may include incarceration or sizable fines as well. Penalties for DUI in the United States (US) for example may vary slightly from state to state but will typically include a loss of the legal ability to drive.

The penalties for DUI typically vary from region to region, but there are some commonalities between different laws and penalties in different areas. Most countries and states will revoke a person’s driver’s license or other document allowing him or her to legally drive. In the US, for example, anyone caught driving over the legal limit will typically have his or her license revoked for 90 days on a first offense. Most states will then revoke the person’s license for one year on a second offense, and may revoke his or her license for up to three years following a third offense.


There are also specific penalties for DUI committed by someone under the legal drinking age of 21 years old in the US. Anyone under the legal age to consume alcohol who is found driving with even a small amount of alcohol in his or her system, less than the legal limit for someone over 21, will have his or her license revoked for a set period of time. This can often be until he or she reaches 18 years of age, and such penalties for DUI are nationwide and not based on individual states.

In Canada, there are similar national laws as well as many penalties for DUI are based on provincial laws. For example, in Ontario the penalties for DUI typically include both suspension of a driver’s license and service of jail time. A first offense in Ontario will typically be punished by a fine and the loss of a driver’s license for one year. Anyone who is convicted of a second offense will usually serve 14 days in jail and lose his or her license for three years; subsequent convictions are often punished with 90 days in jail and indefinite suspension of his or her driver’s license.

Penalties for DUI in the United Kingdom (UK) are similar to other areas and a first offender in the UK will typically be fined and lose his or her license for one year. Subsequent violations or extremely high levels of alcohol in an offender can result in very high fines and suspension of a driver’s license for up to three years, though a sentence can also include up to six months in jail. The laws in the UK are also quite broad in regard to who is operating or in control of a vehicle while intoxicated, and a person may be fined simply for touching his or her car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


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