Are Arizona's DUI penalties the strictest in America?

We've heard for years that Arizona has the toughest DUI penalties in the country.

PHOENIX - DUI patrols begin in the Valley Thursday night as the New Year gets closer.

We've heard for years that Arizona has the strictest DUI penalties in the country, but we wanted to verify if that was true.

Arizona's DUI laws mandate a penalty of around $250, but after all the court costs and jail fees, it can easily run $1,500, according to our experts. That doesn't include lawyer's fees, which attorney Scott Halverson said can be between $3,000 and $5,000.

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DUI costs are also on a sliding scale, Havlerson said. The worse the DUI, the more expensive they can be, and the more jail time you accrue.

"You talk to people who are here with DUIs from out of state and they're shocked by the penalties," Halverson said.

Looking at individual penalties, other states are harsher. For instance, Georgia's DUI penalties mandate a one-year suspension of your license. However, your car will not be impounded.

WalletHub took all of the penalty categories and assigned values to them based on the severity of punishment in each. So, while other states may be harsher in one or two areas, WalletHub found that the total punishments in Arizona were significantly higher than other states.