The penalties you'll face for a first Alabama DUI (driving under the influence) conviction depend primarily on how many prior convictions you have. This article covers the basics of Alabama's DUI laws and the penalties for a first conviction.
You can get a DUI in Alabama for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
In other words, an excessive BAC or actual impairment can lead to a DUI.
A first DUI (driving under the influence) conviction is a misdemeanor in Alabama. The possible penalties for a first offense depend on the circumstances of the case, including the driver's BAC and whether there were any passengers under 14 years old.
A DUI is considered a first offense in Alabama if the driver has no prior DUI convictions within the past ten years.
A first-offense DUI can lead to a maximum of one year in jail. And for offenses involving a BAC of .15% or more, the judge is required to sentence the defendant to the full year.
However, if the judge finds it appropriate, he or she can suspend the jail sentence can be suspended or place the offender on probation instead of ordering the jail time. Probation generally lasts one year and requires the person to abide by certain restrictions. Violating a condition of probation can result in jail time.
A person who's convicted of a first DUI also faces fines of $600 to $2,100, plus court costs.
Every person convicted of a first DUI must complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow all recommendations. The extent of treatment depends on the discretion of the court and the report of the evaluator.
The court reports all DUI convictions to the State Law Enforcement Agency. For most first-offense DUIs, the Agency will suspend the driver's license for 90 days.
This suspension can be stayed if the offender chooses to install an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is an in-car breathalyzer that must be installed and maintained by a licensed distributor at the expense of the driver. Successful usage of the IID for 90 days will negate the 90-day suspension requirement.
However, drivers who refused BAC testing, had a passenger under 14 years old, a BAC of .15% or more, or were involved in an injury accident are not able to escape suspension entirely. These drivers must complete a 45- to 90-day suspension and then use an IID for up to two years.
The driver must also complete any court-ordered treatment and substance abuse counseling before being eligible for license reinstatement.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Alabama, it's a good idea to talk to a DUI lawyer. DUI law is complicated and the facts of each case are different. A qualified DUI attorney can tell you how the law applies to your case and help you decide on the best course of action.