Stuff happens. Although we've all used that excuse at one time or
another, it's not a legitimate legal defense especially when is comes
to DUI laws. Like other states, Alabama DUI laws have been structured
to keep residents safe. Stopping a potential DUI offender before an
accident is always the best course of action.
But what if you're that unfortunate "offender?" Not drinking and
driving is a great rule to follow but there are actually some instances
where you can still be arrested for a DUI in Alabama without even
driving. Knowing about Alabama DUI laws might help you think twice
before getting into a situation where you could be arrested.
Alabama DUI Prosecution
As in many other states, Alabama DUI laws allow for a person to be
charged with two crimes for one incident. The first charge would be for
simply being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Being under the
influence" means that you are physically or mentally incapable of
driving due to too much alcohol or drugs in your system.
The second charge is the actual operating of a motor vehicle while
under the influence. In Alabama, the legal limit has been set at a
blood alcohol content of .08% or greater. Here's the catch: you don't
actually have to be driving your car to be charged with a DUI. You can
merely be sitting in your car, sleeping off a binge and still be
arrested. The policy is designed to keep drunk drivers off the road. No
matter how sincere you are, the fact that you potentially could drive
your car under the influence is enough for an arrest.
Alabama also has a strict "zero tolerance" policy for any one arrested
for a DUI who is under the legal drinking age of 21. In those cases,
your blood alcohol content can't be any hire than .02%.
Alabama DUI Legal Restrictions
If you have been arrested for any DUI charge in Alabama you have ten
days to notify the Alabama Department of Public Safety to set up a
hearing in order to determine the status of keeping your driver's
license. You have the right to refuse a test to determine your blood
alcohol content but that refusal comes with consequences.
If you have been lawfully detained and refuse to submit to a
breathalyzer, urine or blood test your license will be automatically
suspended for 90 days. Also, that refusal can be used against you in
your trial. It's usually better to take the test.
Alabama DUI Punishment
A person who has been convicted of their first DUI offense can face up
to a year in jail and/or fines of anywhere between $600 and $2,100.
That person will also be required to complete a state certified
substances abuse program. In Alabama, there is a five year "look back"
exclusion. This means if a person commits a second DUI offense within a
five year period, that person will be charged as a second time
offender. Outside of five years, you can face the same punishment for a
first time offender.
A second time DUI conviction can mean a minimum of five days in jail
and potentially up to a year. In exchange for the five days in jail, a
person convicted of a DUI in Alabama can opt for 30 days of community
service. Your license will be suspended for a year and you'll still be
required to attend a substance abuse program. A third DUI conviction
can lead to 60 days in jail. A fourth DUI conviction is consider a
Class C felony which means at least one year in jail.