Were You Arrested and Charged With DUI in Alabama?
The crime of DUI is taken very seriously in Alabama. If a person is allegedly operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicant, they will face serious penalties. These penalties are even more serious if a person has prior DUI convictions or an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC). Whether it is your first offense or you have prior convictions, you need the help of an experienced DUI attorney to help with these serious charges.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearings
You have two cases against you if you have been arrested for DUI. You likely know about the criminal case charging you with the crime of DUI, but you also have a civil case against your driver’s license. If you have been arrested for DUI, you have some prompt deadlines approaching in order to save your license. You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety to try and save your license. If you hire our law firm before then, we will request the hearing for you. If you don’t, we can still help you so that you don’t lose your valuable driving privilege.
There is no constitutional right to drive. When you first got your license, you signed it, effectuating a contract between you and the State of Alabama. One of the rules in the statutes says that if you are ever pulled over for DUI then you must provide a breath sample. This rule is known as implied consent; however, the State generally cannot force you to take a breath or blood test. We will go into more detail on implied consent below.
If you refused the breath test after you were arrested (or if the police officer claims that you refused to take it) or if you submitted to a test that yielded results of .08% blood alcohol content or more, then your Alabama Driver’s License may automatically be taken and will be subject to suspension (or revocation) for ninety (90) days to five (5) years.
Please be aware, this automatic driver’s suspension case is separate from your DUI case. You CANNOT put off dealing with your administrative driver’s license suspension case until your DUI case goes to Court.
Back To Your DUI Case
Alabama has increased the penalties associated with a DUI charge significantly over the last several years. Because Alabama takes DUI so seriously, the penalties for even a first offense are very strict. Now, there are significantly increased penalties if a person is convicted of DUI and their blood alcohol content was proven to be 0.15% or higher. Alabama has also begun requiring convicted persons to have an ignition interlock installed on their primary vehicle. Simply put, an ignition interlock is a device that a person is required to blow into to verify that they are not under the influence of alcohol before their vehicle will start. These devices are costly.
First offense: A First DUI Offense is charged as a misdemeanor, and upon conviction a person may be sentenced as follows: up to 365 days in jail, a fine not to exceed $2,100.00, a driver’s license suspension of 90 to 365 days, required to attend a court ordered substance abuse program, probation, and ordered to have an ignition interlock installed on their primary vehicle.
Second offense: A Second DUI Offense is charged as a misdemeanor, but if the date of conviction is within 5 years of a prior DUI conviction the penalties are enhanced. If a person has a prior conviction within 5 years he/she will be sentenced as follows: a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail up to 365 days, a fine not to exceed $5,100.00, a driver’s license suspension ranging from 365 days to 2 years, required to attend a court ordered substance abuse program, probation, and ordered to have an ignition interlock installed on their primary vehicle.
Third offense: A Third DUI Offense is charged as a misdemeanor, but if the date of conviction is within 5 years of two prior DUI convictions, the penalties are significantly increased. If a person has two prior convictions within 5 years of a third offense he/she will be sentenced as follows: a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail up to 365 days, a fine not to exceed $10,100.00, a driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 3 years, a court ordered substance abuse program, probation, and ordered to have an ignition interlock installed on their primary vehicle.
Fourth offense: A Fourth DUI Offense within 5 years is charged as a felony offense. The sentence on a felony DUI conviction is as follows: imprisonment for no less than 1 year and 1 day up to 10 years, a fine not to exceed $10,100.00, a driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 5 years, a court ordered substance abuse program, probation, and ordered to have an ignition interlock installed on the primary vehicle of the person convicted when eligible for driver’s license reinstatement.
DUI Conviction With a BAC of 0.15% or Higher
When any person convicted of DUI is proven to have had at least 0.15% or higher blood alcohol content while driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, he or she will be sentenced to at least double the minimum punishment that the person would have received if he or she would have received if he or she had had less than 0.15% blood alcohol content. In addition, the Department of Public Safety will revoke the person’s driver’s license for a minimum of 1 year and an ignition interlock will be required when the person becomes eligible to have their driver’s license reinstated.
It is important to note that it is not just alcohol that can lead to a DUI in Alabama. Any form of intoxicant can result in a DUI charge, including marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances. Consequently, it is not a requirement for a person to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher for a DUI conviction. No matter what intoxicant you have allegedly been driving under you will face the same serious penalties, and in some instances, more severe penalties.
We have significant experience helping people during this difficult time. We know how scary these charges can be and know that our clients need sound advice and support to get through a DUI charge. We will work to give you the representation that you deserve to help achieve the best possible outcome. Whether it is your first offense or you have multiple DUI convictions, we will fight for you.
If you need to speak with an attorney regarding a DUI in Montgomery, Prattville, Wetumpka, Auburn, Millbrook, Troy, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Clanton or any other city in Alabama, please submit the online form or call The Law Office of Matthew B. Alfreds at 334-300-8500.