Bac Limit By State 2020

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percent of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. BAC can be measured by a breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test.

BAC is affected by several factors:

  • The number of standard drinks consumed

  • Amount of time in which the drinks are consumed

  • Biological sex

  • Bodyweight

  • Medications

  • Food (less important)

    A “standard drink” is one 12 ounces regular beer (4.5% alcohol), one 7 ounce malt liquor (7% alcohol), one 5 ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol), one 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor (40% alcohol), or .5 ounces of Everclear (95% alcohol).

The higher one’s BAC is, the more intoxicated the individual becomes. A BAC between 0.00% to 0.05% causes mild impairment, where speech, coordination, and balance may be off and relaxation or sleepiness may set in. Between 0.06% and 0.15%, a person will experience increased impairment including increased relaxation, decreased coordination, balance, memory, or speech ability, memory impairments, and significant impairment in all driving skills. A BAC level between 0.16% and 0.30% causes severe impairment to the individual, including increasingly worse speech, coordination, and memory, poor judgment and decision-making, loss of consciousness, and signs of alcohol poisoning such as vomiting. Between 0.31% and 0.45%, a person’s BAC level becomes life-threatening and will show signs of severe alcohol poisoning, loss of consciousness, and risk of death.

There are different BAC limits to know and some vary by state. The federal BAC limit to legally drive in the United States is a BAC of 0.08%, meaning that a person is intoxicated under the law (“per se” BAC limit). States also have “zero tolerance” BAC limits, which refer to the level of intoxication considered illegal for drivers under 21. A “zero tolerance” BAC of 0.00% is sometimes referred to as a “not-a-drop” law. In some states, a driver under 21 with a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08% will face a different type of DUI and penalties. Enhanced penalty BAC is the BAC level at which an intoxicated person will face worse penalties (increased penalties).

In addition to these BAC limits, every state has an implied consent law where motorists are assumed to have given their consent to have their BAC tested. Lastly, most states have an “actual physical control” law that states that a person does not need to be actually driving to be in physical control of the vehicle; therefore, a person can still receive a DUI if in the driver’s seat, behind the steering wheel, in possession of the ignition key, and in a position that he or she is physically capable of starting the vehicle and putting the vehicle in motion.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only. To learn about BAC limits and DUI penalties in your state, it is best to consult a DUI attorney.

BAC Limits by State

Alabama

In Alabama, the per se BAC is 0.08%, with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit is decreased to 0.04% if the licensee is driving a commercial vehicle and the “zero tolerance” level is 0.02%.

Alaska

Alaska’s per se BAC is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The “zero tolerance” is 0.00%; therefore, any level of BAC is considered to be illegal for drivers under 21.

Arizona

Arizona’s per se BAC 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. Arizona’s “zero tolerance” limit is 0.00%; therefore, any level of BAC is considered to be illegal for drivers under 21.

Arkansas

The per se BAC limit in Arkansas is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years old, Arkansas’s “zero tolerance” limit is 0.02%.

California

California’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. California has a “zero tolerance” limit of 0.02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21.

Colorado

The per se BAC limit in Colorado is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.17%. Colorado has a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) which refers to a driver having a BAC of more than 0.05% and less than 0.08%. Colorado’s “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Connecticut

Connecticut’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. The legal BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers in Connecticut under 21 is 0.02%.

Delaware

Delaware’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The “zero tolerance” limit in Delaware is 0.02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21.

District of Columbia

The per se BAC limit in D.C. is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The legal BAC limit in D.C. decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. D.C. also has a “not-a-drop” law meaning that any driver under the age of 21 is considered intoxicated with any measurable amount of alcohol (BAC above 0.00%).

Florida

Florida’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The legal BAC limit decreases in Florida if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle to 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age is 0.02%.

Georgia

Georgia’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Hawaii

Hawaii’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The Hawaii BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Idaho

The per se BAC limit in Idaho is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.20%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle and will be subject to more severe penalties. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Illinois

Illinois’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 in Illinois is 0.00%, also known as a “not-a-drop” law.

Indiana

The per se BAC limit in Indiana is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The “zero tolerance” limit in Indiana is 0.02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years old.

Iowa

Iowa’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under 21 in Iowa is 0.02%.

Kansas

The per se BAC limit in Kansas is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. Kansas’s “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Kentucky

Kentucky’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.18%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Louisiana

Louisiana’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The “zero tolerance” limit for Louisiana drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Maine

The per se BAC limit in Maine is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. Maine as a “not-a-drop” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 where any BAC above 0.00% is considered to be intoxicated.

Maryland

Maryland’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.20%. The “zero tolerance” BAC for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02%.

Michigan

Michigan’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.17%. The limit decreases to 0.04% BAC is the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. Michigan’s “zero tolerance” limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Minnesota

The per se BAC limit in Minnesota is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. Minnesota has a “not-a-drop” law that considers any driver under the legal drinking age of 21 to be intoxicated if BAC levels are above 0.00%.

Mississippi

Mississippi’s per se BAC limit is 0.08%. The “zero tolerance” limit in Mississippi is 0.02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, which will result in a separate offense for an underage DUI.

Missouri

The per se BAC limit in Missouri is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit is decreased to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Montana

Montana’s per se BAC limit is 0.08%. The BAC limit is decreased to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Nebraska

The per se BAC limit in Nebraska is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit is decreased to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

Nevada

Nevada’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.18%. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is lowered to 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.18%. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is lowered to 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.02%.

New Jersey

The per se BAC limit in New Jersey is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.10%. The BAC limit for those operating commercial vehicles is lowered to 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under 21 is 0.01% in New Jersey.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. The BAC limit for those operating commercial vehicles is 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years is 0.02%.

New York

The per se BAC of New York is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.18%. BAC levels of more than 0.07% and less than 0.08% are considered to be a DWAI (driving while ability impaired). For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” BAC limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

North Carolina

North Carolina’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit is 0.04% for those operating a commercial vehicle. North Carolina has a “not-a-drop” law for drivers under 21, where any BAC above 0.00% is considered to be intoxicated.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.18%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The BAC threshold for a failed test for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Ohio

The per se BAC limit in Ohio is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.17%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle and to 0.02% for drivers under 21.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.17%. The BAC limit decreases for commercial drivers to 0.04%. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%.

Oregon

Oregon’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit for operating a commercial vehicle is 0.04% and the limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s per se BAC limit is 0.08%. BAC levels of more than 0.08% and less than 0.10% are considered general impairment DUIs; levels more than 0.10% and less than 0.16% are considered to be high rate DUIs, and levels more than 0.16% are considered to be the highest rate DUIs. The threshold is lowered to 0.04% for commercial drivers and to 0.02% for drivers under 21.

Rhode Island

The per se BAC limit in Rhode Island is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” BAC limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

South Carolina

The per se BAC limit in South Carolina is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.16%. The BAC limit for a commercial driver is 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years is 0.02%.

South Dakota

South Dakota’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.17%. For drivers operating commercial vehicles, the limit is 0.04% and for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the limit is 0.02%.

Tennessee

The per se BAC limit in Tennessee is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.20%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. The “zero tolerance” law in Tennessee sets 0.02% as the BAC limit for drivers under 21 years old.

Texas

Texas’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The BAC limit is 0.04% for those operating a commercial vehicle. Any detectable amount of alcohol for drivers under 21 (0.00% or more) is considered to be a DUI in Texas.

Utah

Utah is the only state where the per se BAC limit is no 0.08%; it is 0.05% in Utah. Increased penalties will result in BAC levels of 0.16% or more. Utah has a “not-a-drop” law for drivers under 21, where any detectable amount of alcohol is considered to be intoxicated.

Vermont

Vermont’s per se BAC limit is 0.08%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% for commercial drivers and 0.02% for bus drivers. All drivers under the age of 21 cannot have a BAC of 0.02% to be considered not intoxicated.

Virginia

The per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. Commercial drivers in Virginia have a lower BAC threshold of 0.04%. Virginia’s “zero tolerance” law states that the BAC limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02%.

Washington

Washington’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. For commercial drivers operating a commercial vehicle, the limit is 0.04%. The “zero tolerance” law in Washington for drivers under 21 is 0.02%.

West Virginia

West Virginia’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with increased penalties at 0.15%. The limit is 0.04% for those operating commercial vehicles and 0.02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. Offenders under the age of 21 with BAC levels more than 0.02% but lower than 0.08% face reduced fines and jail time.

Wisconsin

The per se BAC limit in Wisconsin is 0.08%. Fines will double for a driver with a BAC of more 0.17% and below 0.199% and fines will triple for a driver with a BAC of 0.20% and above. The BAC limit is lowered to 0.04% for those operating a commercial vehicle in Wisconsin. The “zero tolerance” law in Wisconsin prohibits any BAC level above 0.00% for drivers under 21.

Wyoming

Wyoming’s per se BAC limit is 0.08% with penalties increasing at 0.15%. The BAC limit decreases to 0.04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers under the legal age of 21 have their BAC limit decreased to 0.02% and can face a special DUI charge if their level is over 0.02% and below 0.08%.

Bac Limit By State 2020

State 2020 Pop. 2020 Growth
Alabama4,908,6210.42%
Alaska734,002-0.47%
Arizona7,378,4942.88%
Arkansas3,038,9990.84%
California39,937,4890.96%
Colorado5,845,5262.63%
Connecticut3,563,077-0.27%
Delaware982,8951.63%
District of Columbia720,6872.60%
Florida21,992,9853.26%
Georgia10,736,0592.06%
Hawaii1,412,687-0.55%
Idaho1,826,1564.10%
Illinois12,659,682-0.64%
Indiana6,745,3540.80%
Iowa3,179,8490.75%
Kansas2,910,357-0.04%
Kentucky4,499,6920.70%
Louisiana4,645,184-0.32%
Maine1,345,7900.55%
Maryland6,083,1160.67%
Massachusetts6,976,5971.08%
Michigan10,045,0290.49%
Minnesota5,700,6711.59%
Mississippi2,989,2600.09%
Missouri6,169,2700.70%
Montana1,086,7592.30%
Nebraska1,952,5701.21%
Nevada3,139,6583.47%
New Hampshire1,371,2461.09%
New Jersey8,936,5740.31%
New Mexico2,096,6400.06%
New York19,440,469-0.52%
North Carolina10,611,8622.20%
North Dakota761,7230.22%
Ohio11,747,6940.50%
Oklahoma3,954,8210.30%
Oregon4,301,0892.63%
Pennsylvania12,820,8780.11%
Rhode Island1,056,161-0.11%
South Carolina5,210,0952.48%
South Dakota903,0272.36%
Tennessee6,897,5761.88%
Texas29,472,2952.68%
Utah3,282,1153.83%
Vermont628,0610.28%
Virginia8,626,2071.27%
Washington7,797,0953.47%
West Virginia1,778,070-1.54%
Wisconsin5,851,7540.66%
Wyoming567,025-1.85%