DUI is probably the most preventable of all crimes committed in the United States. This fact causes many to speak out of frustration against the people charged with an Alabama DUI rather than understand that people are innocent until proven guilty.
Drunk driving charges include any charges brought against a person who is alleged to be driving a motorized vehicle while under the influence. The legal drinking age in Alabama is 21 years. In most instances, a person may drive with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) in excess of .08. A person can be charged with a DUI – driving under the influence – whether they are inebriated from alcohol or under the influence of a legal or illegal drug.
Alabama Drunk Driving Laws
Under Alabama law, the legal blood alcohol content level at which people are alleged to be driving under the influence is .08; at that level, the law considers a person’s ability to drive to be impaired. A first dui conviction can land you in jail for a year, cost thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, and a fourth offense is a felony. Use of a vehicle while driving under the influence resulting in a death is a felony.
Refusals – Refusing To Surrender To A Blood Alcohol Test
Alabama law provides that a person who is given a driver’s license automatically consents to being tested for drunk driving if they are stopped by police. If a person refuses to surrender to a test, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended. As well, if they consent to the test and the test reveals a BAC above the limit, their driver’s license will also be suspended.
Even so, if you refuse a blood alcohol test, then the state lacks evidence, which can be advantageous for your defense. For example, our attorney recently handled a DUI charge for a truck-driving client who had a commercial driving license (those allow for even lower BAC levels – .04 instead of .08). His client was an elderly man who could not blow hard enough to set off the machine. Consequently, police charged him with a DUI, and the attorney had the charges dismissed.
Like drug offenses, drunk driving offenses have graduated penalties that begin at minimum fines of $1,000.00 and go upwards as the number of DUI offenses increase. While jail is not mandatory, a person can be sentenced to a minimum of one year or more. A person who is convicted of a DUI will lose his or her driver’s license for a period of 90 days. Additionally, a DUI can result in a loss of reputation, cost thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, cause your car insurance to skyrocket, you could lose your security clearance at work, or even lose your job.
Recent Changes To DUI Laws
Recently, Alabama law governing if DUI convictions can be counted as prior offenses has changed. Currently, any previous conviction must have been within the last 5 years to be counted as a prior conviction.
Judges are tough on alcohol related offenses, particularly drunk driving. Penalties are already harsh, but changes in society’s views of drunk driving are causing penalties to become even harsher. No website can give you legal advice. If you have been charged with a DUI, consult with a DUI attorney immediately to save your license, your job, security clearances and more.
Defenses To DUI Charges
There are hundreds of possible DUI defenses. A criminal defense lawyer who focuses his practice on Alabama DUI Defense is the best defense to your Alabama DUI charge. A DUI lawyer must not only be proficient in the law, evidence, criminal procedure, jury selection, or trial presentation; a good Alabama DUI attorney must also have a deep understanding of the science involved.
The best defense is a good offense, which means that you need to involve your attorney as early in the case as possible and fight your case aggressively. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. We will attack all the evidence in the case against you. A common tactic involves invalidating breathalyzer results. In some cases, Attorneys have been able to prove the test (both blood tests at the hospital and breath tests in the field) invalid, even in subsequent third or fourth offenses. Getting the test invalidated is a common legal strategy, but it requires the knowledge of the testing procedures and machinery, as well as the law and legal procedures of the court. For those types of strategies, unless you are an expert in the field, you will need a good DUI defense attorney; even if you are an expert, it may help to know that attorneys don’t represent themselves in DUI cases – they hire experienced Alabama DUI defense lawyers.
Penalties for DUI Conviction in Birmingham, AL
The possible punishment for a DUI charge depends on many variables. Among these is whether or not it is your first, second, third or fourth offense. Below we loosely outline the possible punishment along that spectrum:
You face a misdemeanor offense, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $600 and no more than $2,100, a 90 drivers license suspension, and mandatory attendance in a DUI or substance abuse program.
Second-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)
You face a misdemeanor offense, a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $1,100 and no more than $5,100, 1 year driver license revocation, and mandatory attendance in the DUI program.
Third-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)
You face a misdemeanor offense, mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $2,100 and no more than $10,100, 3 years drivers license revocation, and attendance in the program.
Fourth-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)
You face a felony conviction, a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, up to 10 years in prison, a fine no less than $4,100 and no more and $10,100, 5 years drivers license revocation, and attendance in the program.
If aggravated DUI laws are passed in Alabama (and they likely soon will be), the effects of conviction in cases where your BAC is .15 will be significantly higher. As the law is not written yet, the details remain hazy, but we remain vigilant of all changes to the law and how they may impact possible punishment in your DUI case.
DUI Assault and Manslaughter
In cases where drunk driving involved injury or death, there are serious consequences for possible punishment. With the potential for greater penalties comes all the more reason to secure aggressive representation as soon as possible. We bring to the table just the right mix of experience and skill sets to defend such cases.
Free DUI Consultation
Do Not Plead Guilty! If you, your son or daughter or someone that you care about has been arrested for driving under the influence, please contact us for a free initial consultation.