In Alabama, a driver can be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol if he or she has a certain minimum blood-alcohol content level. If you are under 21, a BAC of just .02 percent by weight will put you over the limit. If you are over 21, the BAC limit is .08 percent or .04 percent for commercial drivers.
Alabama is one of the states with an implied consent law. The state maintains that, by driving on a public road, you have already consented to a chemical test should you be suspected of driving under the influence. If an officer of the law suspects you of DUI, you are required to submit to a blood, urine or breath test. If you refuse to take a test, you will be required to pay a fine. Additionally, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. If this is your second refusal within five years, your license will be suspended for a full year. In Alabama, even being unconscious does not excuse you. The law enforcement officer may still give you the test.
Penalties for DUI Convictions
While there is no minimum jail time required for a first offense, a second offense automatically means at least five days in jail or thirty days of community service. A third offense results in a minimum of 60 days in jail. These sentences are mere minimums. The prison term could extend up to one year for a first, second, or third offense. For a first conviction, you may also be required to pay a fine of $600 to $2,100. For a second offense, the fine will be imposed of $1,100 to $5,100, and, for a third offense, the fine starts at $2,100 and may climb as high as $10,000.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Alabama, your driver’s license will also be suspended. The suspension will last 90 days for the first offense, a year for the second offense, and three years for the third offense. Alcohol education or substance abuse treatment is also mandated.
Alabama’s “look back period” is five years. Thus, if you are convicted of a second DUI more than five years after your first conviction, you will be sentenced as a first time offender.
A fourth conviction for DUI in Alabama is a Class C felony that holds a penalty of one to ten years in jail. You may also be fined up to $10,100, and you will be required to complete a state-certified chemical dependency program. Finally, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of five years.
Changes to Alabama DUI Laws
Alabama’s DUI laws have grown more stringent over the years. Penalties have gradually increased. Additionally, in September of 2012, Alabama imposed an ignition interlock device for DUI convictions. This device, which is installed on the offender’s car, requires the driver to blow into a BAC breath test before the ignition will unlock. If the would-be driver blows .02 percent or more, the car won’t start. The ignition interlock device is usually installed at the driver’s expense and requires regular maintenance that the driver pays for as well.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Alabama?
Like every other state in the U.S., Alabama has a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent. If a driver is determined to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of this level or higher, he or she may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Commercial drivers are subject to a stricter limit of .04 percent, and motorists under 21 can be prosecuted with a BAC as low as .02 percent.
Alabama enforces severe penalties for DUI offenses. Punishments can include:
- For a first offense, up to a year in jail, a fine of $500-$2,000 and a mandatory 90-day licenses suspension
- For a second conviction, up to one year of incarceration (48 consecutive hours mandatory), 20 days of community service, a fine of $1,000-$5,000 and a driver’s license revocation period of one year
- For a third offense, up to one year in jail (60 days mandatory), a fine of $2,000-$10,000 and revocation of a driver’s license for three years
- For a fourth or subsequent conviction, imprisonment for up to 10 years (one year mandatory), a fine of $4,000-$10,000 and a driver’s license revocation of five years
In handing out punishments for DUI offenses, a court will take into account all of the circumstances of an incident, serious occurrences drawing more serve penalties.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Alabama
Alabama is among more than 20 states with ignition interlock legislation that applies to all DUI offenses. Whereas some states leave ignition interlock device (IID) determinations to a judge or enforce the law only for repeat offenses, Alabama’s law enables any offender to shorten a license suspension with an IID.
People utilizing devices:
- Are required to pay installation and maintenance costs
- Have to submit a passing breath test to be able to start a vehicle
- Must agree to terms that allow further punishment for failed tests
Additional conditions apply to IIDs, for example, submitting to in-trip re-tests designed to prevent people from drinking while behind the wheel.