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 commercial drivers.
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 be inebriated.
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.