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Alabama DUI Penalties
Long gone are the days when a DUI charge meant going to Court and having the case automatically amended to Reckless Driving. DUI prosecution has become focused on politics and money and the prosecutors are out for convictions. Below you will find some of the most common actual penalties that you may face if convicted. Others include loss of your job, public humiliation, increased insurance rates or canceled insurance, etc.
All states have implied consent statutes that require any person driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on the roadways to submit to chemical testing, which includes breath, blood and urine testing, if the officer stopping that person suspects they are driving under the influence. In Alabama, if a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, that personís driving privileges are automatically suspended for 90 days upon a first refusal, 1 year upon a second refusal, and 3 years upon a third refusal. The Alabama Legislature is currently working on legislation that would increase the mandatory suspension period for a refusal to submit to a test.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
In Alabama, it is illegal for a person to drive with 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood; while under the influence of alcohol; while under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders that person incapable of safely driving; under the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving; or under the influence of any substance which impairs the mental or physical faculties of such person to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.
Zero Tolerance BAC
Alabama has adopted the rules set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and has made it a law that a person is not to be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle if there is a 0.04% or greater by weight of alcohol in his or her blood. If a person is stopped while in control of a commercial vehicle with an illegal quantity of alcohol in his or her blood, that personís commercial driving privilege shall be suspended for a period provided in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the personís regular driverís license will be suspended or revoked according to the other provisions of the Alabama DUI statute.
In Alabama, the law states that if you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.02% by weight of alcohol. The Department of Public Safety shall also suspend or revoke the driving privileges convicted of DUI.
Any school bus or day care vehicle driver shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while performing his or her duties with a blood alcohol level above 0.02% by weight in his or her blood. If a person is convicted under this section of the DUI statute, his or her license will be suspended by the Department of Public Safety for one year.
Enhanced Penalty BAC
Many states have more severe punishments for those arrested for DUI who have a blood alcohol level over a certain amount. If arrested in a state with enhanced penalty blood alcohol provisions, a person faces the possibility of an increased jail sentence and a substantially greater fine amount. There is also the possibility of more severe driverís license sanctions. While there is no law for enhanced penalties for higher BACs in Alabama to date, the Alabama Legislature is currently working on legislation that will enhance penalties for those people arrested with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or greater.
Anyone Under The Age Of 14
A person who is under the age of 21 years shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle if there is 0.02 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood. The Department of Public Safety shall suspend or revoke the driver's license of any person, including, but not limited to, a juvenile, child, or youthful offender, convicted or adjudicated of or subjected to a finding of delinquency based on this subsection. Notwithstanding the foregoing, upon the first violation of this subsection by a person whose blood alcohol level is between 0.02 and 0.08, the person's driver's license or driving privilege shall be suspended for a period of 30 days in lieu of any penalties provided in subsection (e) of this section, and there shall be no disclosure, other than to courts, law enforcement agencies, and the person's employer, by any entity or person of any information, documents, or records relating to the person's arrest, conviction, or adjudication of or finding of delinquency based on this subsection
Anyone With A Bac Of .15 Or Higher
When any person convicted of violating this section is found to have had at least 0.15 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood while of operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, he or she shall be sentenced to at least double the minimum punishment that the person would have received if he or she had had less than 0.15 percent by weight of alcohol in his or her blood. If the adjudicated offense is a misdemeanor, the minimum punishment shall be imprisonment for one year, all of which may be suspended except as otherwise provided for in Section 32-5A-191(f) and Section 32-5A-191 (g). In addition, the Director of Public Safety shall revoke the driving privileges or driver's license of the person convicted for a period of not less than one year.
If A Child Under The Age Of 14 Is In The Car
When any person over the age of 21 years is convicted of violating this section and it is found that a child under the age of 14 years was present in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the person shall be sentenced to at least double the minimum punishment that the person would have received if the child had not been present in the motor vehicle.
Administrative License Suspension / Revocation
Upon conviction of a first DUI, a personís driving privileges will be suspended by the Department of Public Safety for 90 days. Upon conviction of a second DUI, those privileges will be revoked for one year. If convicted of a third DUI, the personís driving privileges will be revoked for three years, and all subsequent DUI convictions will result in revocation of those privileges for 5 years.
If a person convicted of DUI is under the age of 21 and had a blood alcohol level between 0.02% and 0.08%, his or her driving privileges will be suspended by the Department of Public Safety for 30 days. If convicted with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%, that personís license will be suspended or revoked according to the guidelines listed above.
Once arrested, your vehicle may be towed and impounded until you are safely able to drive. This can cause a person arrested for DUI to incur the additional expense of fees from the vehicle impound company.
Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device is a machine wired to your vehicleís ignition, which requires the driver to first blow into the machine and register that there is no alcohol in his or her system before the device will allow the vehicle to start. If more than a minimal amount of alcohol is detected in the driverís blood, the device will disable the vehicle from operation, and some devices will even cause the vehicleís horn to beep and the lights to flash, in an attempt to alert law enforcement. For many professionals whose careers involve frequently transporting clients in their vehicles, this can be highly embarrassing and could even lead to the end of your career. For those with children, having to blow into one of these devices every time a person wants to start his or her vehicle could result in a negative impact on the level of respect in that relationship.
Alabama does not currently require those convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. However, the Alabama Legislature is working this session on legislation to force those convicted of DUI to install these devices in his or her vehicle for a period of time established by the court.
Mandatory Alcohol Education / Assessment / Treatment
Alabama law requires that anyone convicted of a DUI complete a DUI or substance abuse court referral program. This includes a referral to the court referral officer for evaluation and referral to appropriate community resources. These include, but are not limited to, substance abuse meetings, substance abuse classes, community service, alcohol and drug testing, and other various resources.
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