Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Alabama. This crime can result in a driver incurring steep fines and penalties, being sentenced to jail or having to complete mandatory drug and alcohol awareness programs.
To avoid these punishments, drivers in Alabama must understand what constitutes driving under the influence. They also can benefit by understanding what punishments are commonly meted out for this offense in the state.
DUI Limits in Alabama
The Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles defines driving under the influence as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. This per se BAC limit applies to drivers aged 21 and older.
Alabama has also adopted no-tolerance DUI laws that apply to minors. Drivers under the age of 21 can be arrested for driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or higher.
The BAC limit for commercial drivers’ in Alabama differs from the standard per se limits for other drivers’. Commercial drivers’ cannot have a blood alcohol content higher than 0.04 percent if they want to avoid being charged with DUI. The BAC limit for commercial drivers’ is lower because of the risk of their vehicles causing significant injuries or death to the public.
Like many states, Alabama’s DMV also allows for aggravated DUI circumstances. Drivers who have blood alcohol contents of 0.15 percent or higher can be charged with an aggravated DUI. Likewise, they can face this charge if they drive under the influence of alcohol with a passenger under the age of 14, cause an injury or death while driving intoxicated, or refuse to submit to a field sobriety test under the state’s implied consent laws.
Alabama DUI Penalties
Alabama utilizes a number of penalties to address driving under the influence. The types of punishments that drivers receive will depend on their number of prior DUI offenses and the damage that they have caused with this offense.
First-time DUI offenders in Alabama can receive a civil fine ranging from $600 to $2100. They can also serve up to one year in jail and be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles for up to six months. If they are found guilty of aggravated DUI or refuse DUI testing, they could be required to keep this device on their car for up to two years.
For a second DUI offense, drivers’ can face five days to one year in jail. They also can incur fines of $1100 to $5100, have their licenses revoked for one year, and be required to use an ignition interlock device on their cars for two years. The use of this device can increase to four years if second-time offenders are found guilty of aggravated DUI or refuse DUI testing.
Drivers in Alabama who are found guilty of a third DUI charge can pay fines ranging from $2100 to $10,100. They also can have their licenses revoked for up to three years and be required to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for up to three years. A third aggravated DUI conviction or refusal of DUI testing can increase this device use to six years.
In some cases, DUI offenders in the state can be allowed to substitute their jail sentences with community service. They also could be allowed to obtain a restricted license during their revocation or suspension period.
The court also has the discretion of sentencing DUI offenders to completion of court-mandated alcohol awareness programs. These programs are designed to teach drivers’ about the dangers of driving under the influence and how alcohol affects them when they drive. Drivers’ who convicted of repeat DUI offenses can also be sentenced to completing alcohol treatment programs before they are given back their licenses to drive.
Appealing a DUI License Revocation
Alabama’s Department of Motor Vehicles allows drivers’ to appeal the revocation of their drivers’’ licenses after a DUI conviction. They must file this appeal within 10 days of their DUI arrest, however. Their hearing will then be scheduled within a 45-day time frame after they were arrested and charged with this offense.
The state’s DMV uses a variety of factors to determine whether or not to reinstate someone’s license after a DUI arrest. These factors include:
- Prior DUI conviction history
- Prior driving history
- Damages or injuries caused during the DUI incidence
- Whether or not the offender caused someone’s death while driving drunk
First-time offenders could be more likely to have their licenses reinstated than repeat offenders or drivers’ who caused injuries, damages or death.
When people apply for a drivers’ license in Alabama, they agree to the state’s DUI implied consent laws. Implied consent in this state stipulates that Alabama motorists consent to being field sobriety tested if they are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. This consent is given in exchange for the privilege of driving in the state.
Drivers who are pulled over by law enforcement cannot avoid being arrested for and charged with DUI if they refuse field sobriety testing. They can still be placed under arrest and found guilty of this charge. They also can incur penalties under the state’s aggravated DUI laws.
These punishments include steep civil fines, jail time, and revocation of their drivers’ licenses. They can also have their car insurance policies suspended or canceled for refusing DUI testing.
Alabama’s law enforcement and court system punish driving under the influence through fines, jail time, community service and other penalties. Drivers’ in the state cannot refuse field sobriety testing under Alabama’s implied consent laws. Avoiding this serious offense calls for drivers’ in the state to know the allowable blood alcohol content levels and how a DUI offense can be punished if they are found guilty of this charge.