In Alaska, driving under the influence (DUI) (also called "operating under the influence" or "OUI") is defined as operating a motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
While the penalties can vary based on criminal history and specific circumstances, most Alaska DUIs and are misdemeanors. But repeated convictions and offenses that involve injuries can turn a DUI charge into a felony.
Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in Alaska.
As in all states, Alaska DUI penalties gradually escalate based on the number of prior convictions. But the offense classification becomes a felony when the offender (who will be deemed a "habitual violator") has two or more prior DUI or chemical test refusal convictions within the last ten years.
A habitual violator felony DUI is a class C felony and carries a minimum $10,000 fine, permanent license revocation (though reinstatement is possible), vehicle forfeiture, registration revocation, and jail time. The minimum jail time depends on how many priors the offender has that occurred in the past ten years. The minimum is 120 days with two priors, 240 days with three priors, and 360 days with three priors.
After an individual is convicted of a felony DUI, any subsequent DUI in the next ten years will automatically be considered a felony DUI. After ten years, a felony DUI conviction can still be counted as a prior DUI for generic sentencing purposes.
While not considered a "felony DUI," an impaired driver who injures or kills someone can be charged with other felony offenses. For example, a driver who causes a fatality while recklessly driving impaired can be charged with negligent homicide, manslaughter, or even murder.
If you've been charged with a felony DUI in Alaska, get in contact with a qualified DUI lawyer who can help you. The consequences of a felony DUI conviction are serious. An experienced DUI attorney can explain how the law applies in your case and let you know what you're facing and whether you have any viable defenses.