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How DUI penalties vary by state

Ohio is one of the more lenient states when it comes to drunk driving penalties, according to a study conducted by WalletHub. The financial website ranked states on how strict they are on DUI by analyzing how every state scored on a list of 15 key metrics. Some of the data that was used in the study included minimum jail sentences and fines for DUI and whether the offense is considered an automatic felony.

It was found that the strictest penalties for DUI are found in the state of Arizona. There, a person charged with a first offense DUI pays a $250 fine, is imprisoned for a minimum of 10 days and is subject to mandatory alcohol assessment and an automatic vehicle impound. The longest minimum jail sentence for DUI was found in West Virginia, where people convicted of their second DUI are locked up for at least 180 days.

South Dakota was found to have the most lenient DUI laws. There are no minimum jail sentences imposed on first or second-time DUI offenders in that state and people convicted of DUI there are not subject to administrative driver license suspension. The other jurisdictions without a minimum jail sentence for first or second DUI convictions are New York, Missouri, Florida, Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

A person who has been charged with a first or second DUI offense may be able to receive a more lenient sentence by working out a plea bargain. Many impaired driving defendants are able to achieve better results in their case with representation from an attorney who may be able to negotiate a favorable arrangement with the prosecutor.

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