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What You Need to Know About DUI Laws While on Vacation

DUI while on vacation

If you have a summer vacation planned this year, it’s possible that rest, relaxation, and even a few cocktails are part of your itinerary. While you can leave many of your day to day tasks and worries behind, when you’re on vacation, it’s important to remember that things like DUI and accident laws exist wherever you may go.

Drunk driving related accidents occur everyday and are even more prevalent during summer holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that millions of Americans get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol and approximately every 2 hours, 3 people are killed in a drunk driving accident. Not only can an alcohol related accident cause injury and death, but also hefty fines, arrests, and property damage can also be a result of a careless decision. Before you get behind the wheel of your car after having a few drinks on vacation, make sure you’re aware of DUI and accident laws.


Not All State Laws are the Same

One of the most important things to remember, when traveling to other states, is that the traffic laws may be different than those in your home state. While all states make it a crime to drive with (or above) a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08, the specific laws and penalties vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, a first time offender may face a fine up to $2,000, 3 to 180 days in jail, loss of driver’s license up to a year, and an annual fee (for 3 years) to retain a driver’s license. However, in Florida, a first time offender may face a fine between $500-$1,000, mandatory hours of community service or an applicable fine, and between 6 and 9 months of jail time.

Many states increase fines when the BAC is above a certain level and it’s also important to remember that a driver can receive a DUI, even if his or her BAC is lower than .08.


Avoiding a DUI While on Vacation

Receiving a DUI or being involved in a drunk driving related incident can ruin a vacation and will affect your driving record. The best way to avoid a DUI is by not getting behind the wheel after having a drink or two, but sadly, many vacationers pay less attention to how much alcohol they’re consuming or assume that state laws don’t apply to them (as “out-of-towners”). While some people seem to know how many drinks they can consume and still drive legally, it’s important to remember that it’s a dangerous and inaccurate “formula” to follow. For instance, when you’re vacationing, your drinks may be stronger than what you’re used to. Drinking and driving is always a risky decision. Consider alternatives such as public transportation or driving services such as Uber or enjoy drinks at your vacation destination, so you don’t need to worry about travel.

If you are pulled over and/or convicted of a DUI while on vacation, don’t assume that you’ll be let go because you’re not a state resident. A majority of states in the U.S. use , which allows states to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations. If your home state participates in this exchange, you may be convicted of your out-of-state DUI as if it happened in your home state. Above all, keep in mind that the state you’re vacationing in may have different laws and you should adhere to them as if you were a state resident.

If you are pulled over and/or convicted of a DUI while on vacation, don’t assume that you’ll be let go because you’re not a state resident. A majority of states in the U.S. use the Driver License Compact, which allows states to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations. If your home state participates in this exchange, you may be convicted of your out-of-state DUI as if it happened in your home state. Above all, keep in mind that the state you’re vacationing in may have different laws and you should adhere to them as if you were a state resident.

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