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What Constitutes  DUI in Alabama

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What Constitutes DUI in Alabama

By Henry Lagman, Attorney at Law

In the state of Alabama, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The impairment is typically determined by measuring the blood alcohol concentration (BAC), where a level of 0.08% or higher constitutes legal intoxication for drivers over the age of 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is lower at 0.04%, and for drivers under 21, any BAC of 0.02% or higher is illegal.

Alabama law also recognizes DUI based on impairment that affects a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, regardless of BAC level. This means a person can be charged with DUI even if their BAC is below the legal limit, should their driving ability be demonstrably impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Furthermore, Alabama’s DUI law includes the use of controlled substances, including both illegal drugs and prescription medications, as a basis for DUI charges. The presence of such substances in the driver’s system, along with evidence of impairment, can lead to a DUI arrest.

Penalties for DUI Convictions

The penalties for DUI in Alabama increase significantly with each subsequent offense, reflecting the state’s strict stance on repeat offenders.

First Offense: A first DUI conviction in Alabama typically includes a fine ranging from $600 to $2,100, up to one year in jail, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Mandatory attendance at a DUI or substance abuse program is also common. It is critical that you contact an attorney within the first 10 days to save your license. Ask me how…

Second Offense: For a second DUI conviction within a 10-year period, the penalties escalate. Offenders can face a fine between $1,100 and $5,100, a jail sentence ranging from 48 hours to one year (with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours), and a driver’s license suspension for one year. Additionally, the installation of an ignition interlock device on the offender’s vehicle is required.

Third Offense: A third DUI conviction within a 10-year period is considered a serious misdemeanor. It carries a fine from $2,100 to $10,100, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60 days (which cannot be suspended or probated), and up to one year in jail. The driver’s license suspension period extends to three years.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses: A fourth or subsequent DUI offense is classified as a Class C felony in Alabama. It incurs a fine between $4,100 and $10,100, a prison sentence of one to 10 years, and a five-year driver’s license revocation. The offender also faces the possibility of permanent vehicle seizure.

In addition to these direct penalties, a DUI conviction can have lasting consequences, including increased insurance rates, employment difficulties, and social stigma.

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