How Long Can They Hold You in Jail for a DUI?

By  //  October 14, 2020

The penalty for a first-offense DUI is different according to the state where the arrest occurred.

You can expect to face jail time in most cases, and some areas require you to pay a fine or complete community service. Your license will likely be suspended, and you’ll have to install an IID or ignition interlock device on your automobile.

The punishment for a DUI is often more stringent if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or higher, or if your intoxication caused an accident and someone was hurt.

State-Specific Regulations    

If you’ve been pulled over and accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it will be called either DUI or DWI depending on the state where you were charged. In some states, these terms are interchangeable, while in others they have some differences.

It’s essential that you’re familiar with the laws in your state once you’re faced with a DUI so you can take care of the matter right away. You may be able to find a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DUI or DWI who can tell you more about the laws where you were charged and will help you determine your best options for your DUI defense.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at how this offense is treated in eight different states. Once you’ve read this list, you’ll have a better understanding of how different the consequences can be from state to state.


In California, you can spend four days to six months in jail and be fined up to $2,600. Depending on the county where your arrest took place, you may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, and your license will be suspended anywhere from 30 days to 10 months.


In Alabama, there is no jail time for a DUI, but you’re required to pay a fine that could be as much as $2,100, and your license will be suspended for 90 days. An IID is not required in the state.


DUI regulations are similar in Hawaii, but the fine is between $150 and $1,000.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, If the DWI first offense BAC is above 0.10%, the driver’s license will be confiscated for seven months to one year. There will also be a mandatory fine of between $300 and $500, an IDRC requirement of 12 to 48 hours, insurance surcharges of $1,000 annually for three years, and up to 30 days of jail time.

New York

There is no jail time for DUI offenders in New York, but you could face six months in jail. An IID will be installed on your vehicle, and you could pay up to $1,000 in fines.


If you’re arrested for a DUI in Florida, jail time is anywhere from six to nine months. You could spend up to a year in jail, and you’re required to install an IID in your car or truck. The fine for a DUI in this state is between $500 and $2,000.


In Nevada, you’ll spend anywhere from a week to six months in jail for a DUI, and the fine for this offense could be as high as $1,000. Your license will be suspended for 90 days, and you may have an IID on your car depending on the particulars of your case.


In Maryland, if you’re charged with a DUI, you could be in jail for up to a year. However, jail time for a DWI is only two months. The fine for a DWI is $500, but a DUI fine in the state is $1,000. Your license will be suspended for six months, whether you receive a DUI or DWI charge. There is no IID requirement in Maryland for either charge.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, you’ll be in jail for 24 hours if you’re a level 5 offender. If three “aggravating factors” are present in your case, you’re considered a level 1A offender, and jail time is a minimum of 12 months. The fine is $200 for a level 5 offender. You won’t have an IID installed on your vehicle, but your license will be suspended for up to a year.

As you can see, the same offense has different consequences across the United States.

What to Do if You Are Charged

If you’ve been charged with DUI or DWI, don’t panic. Instead, get the best attorney you can afford. This is no time to settle for a court-appointed public defender. A lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced, and they may also be able to get them dropped altogether.

A DUI lawyer can offer crucial advice before your first appearance in court so you’ll know what to expect and can be as prepared as possible. The lawyer will also bring several factors to the judge concerning your moral character, the fact that this is your first offense (if applicable), and whether you have a history of safe driving. These details can minimize the fines you’ll pay or the time you’ll spend in jail for a DUI case.