Alabama: Underage DUI

The drinking age in Alabama is 21 and consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal (with no exceptions). Because underage drinkers cause a disproportionate number of alcohol-related auto fatalities, the standards are stricter and the penalties are sometimes harsher for those under 21 convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). 

More information about Alabama’s teen driving requirements.

What constitutes driving under the influence?

If a chemical test determines that a driver under 21 has a BAC of .02% or higher, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence. (For those 21 or older, the BAC is .08%). 

What are the penalties?

  • If First Drunk Driving Conviction. Imprisonment (Up to 1 Year with no minimum), Fine ($600 to $2,100), License Suspension (90 Days, although for persons under 21 with a BAC between .02% and .08%, the penalty is a 30 day license suspension with limited disclosure.) (More Information: First Offense DUI in Alabama).
  • If Second Drunk Driving Conviction within 5 Years. Imprisonment (Up to 1 Year Jail, Mandatory Minimum of 5 Days) or Community Service (Minimum of 30 Days), Fine ($1,100 up to $5,100) License Suspension (1 Year). (More Information: Second Offense DUI in Alabama.)
  • If you refuse a chemical test? Read about Alabama's implied consent laws.

Those under 18 arrested for a DUI will be tried in Juvenile Court within the county of the arrest. There is no right to jury trial in Juvenile Court.

What other charges?

In addition to driving under the influence, an underage drinker may be charged with any of the following:

  • distributing alcohol to other minors (were there underage drunk passengers?),
  • minor in possession,
  • soliciting alcohol,
  • child endangerment law violations,
  • possession of false identification (if a fake id was used to purchase alcohol), and
  • the full range of possible moving and vehicle maintenance violations (at the discretion of the arresting officer).

What happens to your insurance?

Some insurance companies may terminate a policy after an underage DUI (while others refuse to renew). Most simply raise the cost of the monthly premium by $100 to $200 for a higher risk policy.  The raise usually stays in place for three to five years. You’ll also probably need to furnish the DMV with an SR-22 certificate to reinstate a license after suspension (as proof of insurability). Most insurance companies furnish this form to the DMV. Check with your insurer to see if it performs this service.

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