Alaska outlaws the act of driving under the influence of
drugs or alcohol. To discourage drivers who live in or visit the state from
driving in this state, Alaska’s law enforcement and court system uses a variety
of penalties to address this offense.
The methods for deterring DUIs in the state include blood
alcohol content or BAC limits, civil fines, jail time, identification
requirements, and license suspension and revocation. The state can also require
drivers convicted of this offense to submit SR22 insurance documents until the
end of their sentences.
Drivers in Alaska can avoid the consequences of DUI by
knowing how driving under the influence is defined in the state. They can also
remember how the crime is punished under the state’s current DUI laws.
Driving Under the Influence in Alcohol in Alaska
Alaska defines driving under the influence or DUI as
operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. This definition
for a standard DUI applies to drivers of passenger vehicles who are 21 years
and older. It does not pertain to motorists who are younger than 21 or
Underage drivers are subject to Alaska’s no-tolerance DUI
law. This law stipulates that drivers under the age of 21 cannot have any
alcohol on their breath or in their blood. If they have even a trace of alcohol
while driving, they are subject to being arrested for DUI.
The DUI limits for commercial drivers is lower than the
percentage for a standard DUI. Commercial drivers can only have a BAC of 0.04
percent or lower to avoid being arrested for driving under the influence. The percentage
is lower for commercial drivers because of the greater risk to the public.
Drivers can be charged with aggravated DUI if their blood
alcohol contents are 0.15 percent or higher. Aggravated DUI comes with more
severe penalties like higher civil fines and longer jail sentences. Drivers can
be charged with aggravated DUI even if it is their first DUI offense.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Alaska
Alaska punishes driving under the influence of alcohol or
drugs with a variety of penalties like jail time, monetary fines, and license
suspension or revocation. The type of punishment that a driver gets for DUI
depends on the number of prior DUI offenses he or she has and whether or not
the DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
A first-time DUI offense is charged as a Class A
misdemeanor. It brings with it penalties like a $1500 fine and a minimum
mandatory 72 hours in jail.
A first-time DUI offender also can have his or her drivers
license suspended for up to 90 days. The license can be reinstated with
limitations after the first 30 days of this suspension, however.
Other penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Alaska
include having an ignition interlock device installed on the offender’s car for
12 months and being sentenced to a drug or alcohol awareness program. The
offender also can be prohibited from buying alcohol for a time frame that is
stipulated by the court.
A second DUI offense in Alaska is likewise a Class A
misdemeanor and can result in a fine of $3000 and a mandatory minimum jail
sentence of 20 days in jail. This offender’s license can also be suspended for
up to one year with driving privileges reinstated with limitations after the
first 90 days.
Second-time offenders also can be sentenced to having an
ignition interlock device on their cars for 24 months after their licenses are
reinstated. They are subject to mandatory drug or alcohol evaluation and
possible completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program. Like first-time
offenders, second-time DUI convicts can be prohibited from buying alcohol for a
length of time determined by the court.
Third, fourth, and subsequent DUI arrests can be charged as
either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the length of time that has
passed between an offender’s prior and current arrest. A misdemeanor charge
results when the last DUI occurred more than 10 years ago. A person is charged
with a felony DUI if it has been less than 10 years since his or her last
arrest for this offense.
Felony DUIs carry with them longer jail sentences that can
be as long as 240 days behind bars. Fines also can reach as high as $10,000,
and revocation of a felony DUI convict’s license can be permanent.
To get a permanently revoked license reinstated, the
offender must wait at least 10 years and meet all criteria required by the
court. This criteria can include completing drug or alcohol awareness training
and submitting to drug or alcohol evaluations.
Implied and No Consent Laws
Alaska utilizes implied and no consent laws to test drivers
for driving under the influence. Implied consent is given whenever a person
applies for an Alaskan drivers license. He or she agrees to be tested for drugs
or alcohol during a traffic stop if law enforcement suspects the driver could
Implied consent also comes into play if a driver is involved
in an accident that results in the death or injury of another person. Refusal
to submit to field sobriety testing is a criminal offense and can result in
steep civil fines and possible jail time.
No consent applies when a driver is unconscious or in a
condition that renders him or her incapable of consenting to chemical testing
for drugs or alcohol. It also comes into play if a person is arrested for DUI
because of acts that he or she is suspected of committing while driving under
the influence of drugs or alcohol or if the accident results in the injury or
death of another individual. Law enforcement does not need the driver to
consent to being tested for inebriation in these circumstances.
Alaska relies on strict DUI laws to keep the public safe
from drivers who are high or drunk. This crime brings with it penalties that
are designed to discourage drivers from driving under the influence. These
punishments range from monetary fines and jail sentences.