In Alaska, a driver can be charged with a DUI if he or she is driving a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. The driver does not need to demonstrate impairment to be charged. For a minor or anyone younger than 21 years old, the maximum BAC for drivers is zero percent. With regard to this aspect, Alaska is a zero tolerance state.
DUI is considered a serious offense and remains on a person’s record permanently. Alaska DUI penalties, even for a first time offender, can result in the loss of a driver’s license, along with the possibility of mandatory jail time, fines, participation in education or treatment programs and mandatory ignition interlock devices. For drivers who refuse to have their BAC tested, the consequences can include fines, jail time and license suspensions. The refusal penalties can be added to those for a DUI conviction.
DUI is taken very seriously in Alaska. First offenses carry the possibility of at least three days in jail and fines of up to $1,500. If the driver’s license is suspended as well, this is done for a 90-day period. Many drivers will also see an increase in their auto insurance rate following a DUI conviction, even as a first-time offender.
An added measure is the installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device into the driver’s vehicle. The ignition interlock device is a breath test that prevents a car from being started if the driver’s BAC is greater than a certain pre-programmed result. Various newer devices also require periodic breath checks while the vehicle is being driven. If alcohol is detected, the lights will begin flashing and the horn will beep continuously. Models of these devices vary in terms of the capabilities and precise functioning.
For a second DUI conviction within a 10-year period, offenders are required to serve at least 20 days in jail and to pay fines of up to $3,000. The mandatory ignition interlock device is used for these cases as well; however, vehicle confiscation is a sentencing option that is also available to the court. The driver’s license suspension period lengthens to one year. Alcohol education or treatment and assessment can also be utilized, although it is not a mandatory part of sentencing.
Alaska DUI penalties for third offenses are similar but more severe than those listed for a second offense: at least 60 days in jail, fines up to $4,000, mandatory ignition interlock device and possible vehicle confiscation. The driver’s license can be suspended for three years at this point. Additionally, if a driver has two or more DUI convictions during the five-year period just prior to a third offense, they will incur a Class C felony charge, rather than that of a Class A misdemeanor.