Since each state has the ability to create their own DUI/DWI laws, there is not one set standard when it comes to High BAC laws. Currently, New Jersey has the strictest High BAC laws, with an increased punishment coming at .10, which is only .02 above the legal limit.
Most states begin implementing stricter High BAC laws at .15. Many states have agreed that anything at a .15 BAC or above becomes egregious and deserves a harsher penalty.
The map below shows the states with incremental penalties for a high blood-alcohol content, and when the penalty kicks in. For example, in Texas, the High BAC incremental kicks in for a driver with a BAC of .15 or above.
The most lenient states when it comes to High BAC are Mississippi and Vermont, where there are currently no incremental punishments for having an extremely high level of alcohol in your system. Mississippi is also the only state in the union that allows drinking and driving legally as long as the driver is under the legal limit of .08
New Mexico is currently the only state in the nation with mandatory jail time if convicted of a DUI/DWI. In all other states, it is possible to avoid jail time if a plea is reached or the judge in your specific case doesn’t deem a jail sentence necessary.
A High BAC conviction adds insult to injury with a DUI/DWI. Often times, you are viewed as much more of a danger to society, and will not get off lightly. Stricter punishments are often handed down to drivers who fit in this category.
If you have any questions about whether your DWI was considered a High BAC, or need help to understand your rights after an arrest, feel free to contact me to answer any of your questions.