Alcohol laws by state
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
Alcohol has long been a part of celebrations, gatherings and social events. Every state has its own laws when it comes to the sale and consumption of alcohol, and many of these laws changed during the coronavirus pandemic to reflect the growing consumption of alcohol at home amid stay-at-home orders. With changing laws, it’s important to stay up to date with the regulations in your area and review best practices.
- In 2019, 25.8% of people aged 18 and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – NIAAA)
- Those who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related visit to the emergency room. (NIAA)
- 14.5 million people ages 12 and older had alcohol use disorder in 2019. (NIAA)
- Alcohol contributes to around 18.5% of emergency room visits and 22.1% of overdose deaths related to prescription opioids. (NIAA)
- About 75% of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking (NIAA)
Indulging in alcohol socially is a part of life — and can certainly be fun in the right environment. But as you can see from the statistics above, alcohol has the potential to cause significant damage in the lives of individuals — and in society at large. If you want to stay safe while indulging, it’s important to educate yourself and follow certain protocols.
It may be helpful to develop a set of best practices when drinking. For instance, if you’re out at a bar or a party, make sure you have a safe and sober ride home. The pandemic also spurred people to drink in their homes more, which can be a safe alternative to going out. However, keep in mind that overindulging at home can also pose risks such as impairing your memory and increasing the risk of injuries.
Broadly, the following tips might help you stay safe while drinking alcohol.
Whether you’re seeking to venture out for a meal or looking for a safe ride home from the bar, rideshare apps can typically provide you with a reliable ride home. However, keep in mind that if you live in a small town or if a large event is in town, there may be fewer rideshare drivers available. If that’s the case, you’ll probably be best off appointing a sober designated driver..
Uber is known as one of the most popular ridesharing companies, but there are several other rideshare options for you to consider.
- Lyft: Lyft is very similar to Uber in how it works and its fees, although price can vary between the two, depending on where you are going and when.
- Curb: Curb functions similarly to Uber and Lyft.
- Wingz: This service operates in 16 major U.S. cities and 21 total airports.
- Via: Via allows you to hitch a ride with others.
- Scoop: Busy professionals will love Scoop, which allows you to schedule group rides for your neighbors or colleagues.
- Alto: Alto operates in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, D.C., and San Francisco. You can arrange a ride in advance, or order one on demand via the app.
Alcohol delivery services/apps
The COVID pandemic gave rise to more states allowing people to get alcohol delivered to their homes, a trend which seems to be continuing for some even as COVID restrictions disappear. Alcohol delivery apps and services not only provide convenience but could also help you celebrate safely at home while your adult beverage staples are delivered to your door. Even better, you can opt for contactless delivery and have your purchases left at your front door to better keep with social distancing.
To save you from time spent Googling “alcohol delivery near me,” these are some of the best services to help when you need to restock your bar with your favorite bourbon or Chardonnay. Check your state’s laws to see if you might be able to take advantage of these popular apps.
- Drizly: Through its partnership with tons of U.S. retailers, Drizly offers it all — beer, wine, and liquor — for home delivery. Ordering is easy, and Drizly doesn’t mark up its pricing, allowing you to save a few bucks.
- DoorDash: Similar to Uber Eats and GrubHub, DoorDash offers delivery of all your favorite foods and alcoholic beverages from restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries. There are additional fees added onto your order, depending on demand, but you can save with free delivery on your first order.
- Instacart: Instacart made its name in groceries, but the delivery service has since expanded to alcohol pickup and delivery, as well. Just place your order, and professional shoppers will prepare your order, sending notifications to keep you apprised of progress.
- MiniBar: As the name suggests, MiniBar is dedicated to stocking your mini or full-sized fridge with all of the essentials. Choose from beer, wine and liquor, or send a unique gift of a collector’s bottle or a lovely set of glassware. You can also order directly from vineyards.
- Winc: If you are an expert or budding wine connoisseur, Winc offers a monthly wine membership sure to expand your palate. Selections are personalized based on a brief survey, and when you find a blend you can’t live without, Winc lets you order more at a discount.
Consequences of drinking and driving
Although increased alcohol delivery has made staying in and celebrating easier, sometimes people just want to get out—especially after being confined during the pandemic. Planning a ride may be an extra inconvenience when you’re rushing to finalize plans, but it’s well worth it just to avoid the consequences of drinking and driving. In addition to the regular threat of fatal drunk driving accidents, there is also the ever-present threat of a DUI conviction and the impact it can have — not only on your car insurance, but on your entire life overall. In fact, fines and legal fees associated with a first time DUI can cost more than $10,000 — and drivers with a recent DUI pay an average of $1,650 more for their car insurance than the average driver. These statistics can help you understand the true cost of a DUI.
- One alcohol-related death occurs every 52 minutes in the U.S. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA)
- Drunk driving accidents are responsible for 10,000 deaths every year. (NHTSA)
- Drunk driving costs more than $44 billion in deaths and damages annually. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
When you are found guilty of a DUI, a common penalty is the suspension or revocation of your license. The length of the suspension depends on your state’s laws – many states require one year, but it can vary. For example, Delaware will limit a first offense revocation to no more than 12 months, and Oklahoma will suspend for no less than 10 days or more than one year for a first offense.
Car insurance increases after a DUI
A DUI typically stays on your driving record between seven and 10 years. You may be wondering if it’s possible to get car insurance for drivers with a DUI. While it is possible, the cost of car insurance can increase by as much as $3,000 per year after a DUI. You may want to get car insurance quotes to see what the cheapest car insurance company for you would be following a DUI. After a DUI, you may also have to file an SR-22, a form that certifies that you have the minimum required car insurance in your state. Not every company will file an SR-22 for you, so it’s important to do a little research to find out what the best car insurance companies for drivers with high-risk violations are.
Possible incarceration time
A first offense DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor and can result in community service or short incarceration time. Many times, first-time offenders are given a break, but if you are a repeat offender, it could result in up to five years or more of jail time ordered separately or in conjunction with community service.
A DUI can impact your existing job, which is why it’s important to advise your supervisor of the issue and what you are doing to rectify it. For some jobs, however, a DUI could be career-ending. A DUI on your criminal record could prevent you from easily finding employment, especially in driving-related jobs such as truck drivers, bus drivers and delivery drivers. Government and military jobs can also be difficult to obtain with a DUI.
A DUI typically does not impact interstate travel, but if you are leaving the country, you may have some trouble when you have a DUI conviction. Some countries have restrictions in place that prevent those with a criminal record — or any record, for that matter — from entering the country. If you plan on leaving the U.S., it’s critical that you also check COVID travel restrictions that could also impact your itinerary. Although many restrictions have been lifted, some remain in place.
A DUI conviction usually comes with steep fees. Although they can vary by state, fines can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for your first conviction, and penalties only grow worse with each repeat offense. A single DUI in Alaska can cost over $25,000 in fines, bond, legal fees, interlock services, reinstatement fees and lost income.
After a DUI, it’s not uncommon for courts to require drivers with a DUI conviction to complete driver education courses. In addition to improving their skill, the courses also aim to educate drivers on the impacts of their choices, particularly where driving impaired is concerned.
Tips for preventing drunk driving
Drunk driving is more common than you may be aware. Recent drunk driving statistics are truly horrifying, and echo national trends over time.
- In 2019, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 10,142 deaths (28.0 percent of overall driving fatalities). (NIAA)
It’s not uncommon to see someone preparing to drive while impaired. Whether it is alcohol or drugs, you know that there is no way that that person should slide behind the wheel, but it’s also an uncomfortable and touchy subject that many people may feel hesitant to address directly.
These tips can help when you need to interject in order to prevent drunk driving.
- Politely talk to them. Sometimes, reason can win, so be honest about the situation. Pull your friend aside and let them know that now is probably not the best time to be driving on the road if they are impaired. Explain that you care too much about them to let something bad happen and that you would hope they would do the same for you.
- Call a ride. There are several options for a safe ride home, whether it is public transportation, a taxi or a ridesharing company like Uber and Lyft. If your friend doesn’t want to miss out on the party, volunteer to go along so there is company on the ride home. It also helps you guarantee that your loved one makes it home safely.
- Give it some time. If your friend isn’t ready to leave, some time to sober up could be a huge help. Make sure your companion has enough food and water to slow the absorption of alcohol. As the nourishment sobers the body, your friend may also become more reasonable about surrendering the keys to the car and accepting an alternate form of transportation home for the night.
- Get those keys. When all else fails, hide the keys or give them to the bartender. If your friend can’t find the keys, then no drunk driving can occur. While there may be initial objections, your loved one is likely to thank you the next day.
What are the alcohol laws in each state?
We’ve put together a list of the websites where you can find current liquor laws by state. Explore your state’s resources to find out more about what is and isn’t allowed where you live so you can make informed decisions and celebrate safely.