Alabama DUI Law
Being arrested for drunk driving in Alabama has consequences just like in the rest of the United States. Not only can you face criminal charges for driving under the influence, you will also have to deal with the hassle of dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles and possibly having your license suspended or revoked. That is why it is so important for you to contact an Alabama DUI lawyer as soon as you’ve been arrested for drunk driving. Getting legal representation as quickly as possible will help you to document all of the facts of your case while they are fresh in your mind and, while it will not guarantee a positive outcome, it gives you the best chance of winning your case.
There are two ways in which someone can be prosecuted for DUI in Alabama. One of them refers to how impaired someone’s driving ability is because of their use of alcohol or drugs. This is called driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and means that the driver is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. The other occurs when someone is driving with a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit of 0.08%. Even if a person does not seem to be impaired at this level, it is still against the law to operate a motor vehicle if the level has been exceeded. In this case, a person can only be prosecuted based on blood alcohol testing, not on the way he or she was operating their vehicle.
Alabama is one of the states where driving the car is not the only way you can be charged with DUI. In Alabama, having control of the vehicle and being able to operate it in any way makes just being in a car while you’re under the influence grounds for prosecution. This means that if you consume alcohol and then get in your car and fall asleep or wait for a sober friend to come and drive you home, you have a chance of being charged with a DUI. This is exactly why you need to contact an Alabama DUI lawyer immediately after you’ve been charged with a DUI. Having a qualified Alabama DUI attorney on your side can help you to document what has occurred and proceed with your case. An Alabama DUI lawyer also has access to expert witnesses that you may not have access to as a layman. Having these experts on your side can make the difference between a successful case and an unsuccessful one.
Refusal of Chemical Testing
Refusal to submit to chemical testing can also affect the way your case is handled by the prosecutor. Under Alabama DUI law, refusal to submit to this type of testing leads to a 60-day suspension of your license, regardless of whether you were actually guilty of driving under the influence or not. During this suspension period, you have no opportunity to apply for a restricted license that can help you get to work, medical appointments, or other important places. Refusing to submit to chemical testing can really make life difficult, especially if you have children or other dependents to care for and transport where they need to go. Refusing these tests can also make your court case more difficult, as the prosecutor will argue that your refusal to take the test was because you knew you were guilty of DUI. Contacting an Alabama DUI lawyer can help you at this point because a skilled attorney can refute these claims.
Alabama DUI Penalties
DUI penalties have been heightened as drunk driving has become more of a problem. In Alabama, the possible penalties depend on the number of previous DUI convictions a person has had. This number also determines whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a penalty. If a person has no previous DUI offenses, the first offense can result in penalties including fines from $600 to $2,100, 1 year in a county jail, 90-day license suspension, and mandatory substance abuse program attendance. In Alabama, the period of determining whether an offense is a first offense is five years. If someone was convicted of a DUI in 2000 and later prosecuted for another DUI charge in 2006, the 2006 charge is considered a first offense because it occurred more than five years after the offender’s actual first offense. If a person was convicted of a DUI on May 15, 2001 and is arrested again for a DUI on May 13, 2006, that person will face the penalties associated with a second DUI offense even though they fell just one day short of the five-year period. A first DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor in Alabama.
Second DUI offenses within that five-year period are also considered misdemeanors. The penalties for a second offense increase and can include up to $5,100 in fines, license suspension for one year, court ordered treatment programs, and a minimum jail time of 5 days up to 365 days. The court can also allow an offender to perform 30 days of community service as an alternative to the five days of jail time. Third DUI offenses have increased penalties that include up to $10,100 in fines, a minimum of 60 days of jail time, license suspension for three years, and mandatory substance abuse programs.
Offenders who commit a fourth offense are facing charges of a class C felony. If the offender is convicted of a fourth offense, the penalties are much stiffer than for misdemeanor DUI. The minimum amount of jail time is one year and one day and can go all the way up to 10 years. The license suspension period is 5 years in length and fines can be up to $10,100. Court ordered treatment programs are also a part of the penalties for this level of offense. The court may also order that an ignition interlock device be placed in the offender’s vehicle. This device requires offenders to breathe into a Breathalyzer-like device before attempting to operate a vehicle. If any amount of alcohol is measured, the offender will not be able to start the vehicle. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Alabama, contact an Alabama DUI attorney to give yourself your best chance of limiting the penalties in your case or winning your case outright.