The holidays are a festive time to share your joys with your loved ones, but merriment of the occasion does not give you the license to drink and drive. Alabama law enforcement agencies are extra vigilant during the days around the Christmas and New Year, but unfortunately the highest number of drinking and driving incidents are still reported in this period every year.
Drive Sober Campaign in Alabama
Alabama participates in the national campaign to prevent drunk driving called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” between December 13th and January 1st. The Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division in the state steps up its effort during the holidays, which include:
- Hosting events to educate people and promote awareness about the dangers of holiday drunk driving
- Using social media networks to spread the message about avoiding drunk driving during holidays
- Setting up DUI checkpoints, particularly in areas that are known to report higher number of alcohol related crashes during the holiday season
- Maximizing enforcement efforts during the highest risk days, including Christmas Eve and New Year Eve
DUI Penalties in Alabama
During the holidays, Alabama deploys a higher number of police officers to patrol the streets, and all 67 counties in the state will have increased enforcement to try and curb DUI incidents. Alabama imposes strict penalties on drunk drivers. Just for your first DUI offense, the penalties may include:
- Up to 12 months of imprisonment or mandatory probation
- Fine of up to $2100 (court costs extra)
- Up to 90 days of driver’s license suspension or ignition interlock device (IID) installation
- Mandatory evaluation/treatment for substance abuse
Aggravated circumstances such as drunk driving with a child passenger, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or above, second or subsequent DUI offense, and DUI involving severe injuries or death will result in increased penalties. A DUI conviction can make life more difficult even in terms of future employment, college admission, obtaining housing loans, and acquiring a license for your professional practice.
Drivers Under 21
If it is the first DUI violation of a minor, and their BAC is found between .02 to .08, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 30 days. The minor will also be required to attend a DUI awareness or substance abuse program. The amount of fine imposed on a minor convicted of DUI is the same as what is paid by adult offenders.
“Open House Party” Statute in Alabama
According to Alabama law, it is a crime if an adult allows an “open house party” to be held at their home where people under 21 consume alcohol. A conviction under this law may include jail time of up to six months (which could even include hard labor), in addition to a fine of up to $3,000.
Tips for Responsible Driving during Holidays
Drivers have the foremost responsibility to minimize the incidence of drunk driving during holidays.
- If you plan to enjoy alcoholic beverages during a family get-together or a party with friends during holidays, arrange for a sober driver.
- Be prepared to call a cab or Uber/Lyft if you are drunk and you must leave on your own.
- If you are traveling a long distance and you know it is going to a be a late-night Christmas or New Year party with drinks, book a stay for the night at a nearby motel or hotel.
- Watch how much you drink so that you can have the presence of mind to make the correct choices for getting back home safely.
Tips for Being a Responsible Host during Holidays
If you plan to host holiday parties with alcoholic drinks for family and friends, you can make conscious efforts to help ensure your guests do not choose to drive while they are impaired.
- Have more emphasis during the party on food, coffee, and various non-alcoholic beverages rather than centering the whole party around alcoholic drinks.
- Be alert to any guests who may be showing signs of impairment. Intervene in the situation and ensure they get a cab or a designated sober driver.
- Email a list of phone numbers of local cab and rideshare service providers to your guests beforehand, so they can be prepared in advance.
Consult with a Knowledgeable DUI Lawyer in Alabama Today
In the unfortunate event of a DUI arrest during holidays or otherwise, you will need strong legal representation as soon as possible. The competent and experienced criminal law attorneys at Darley Law, LLC in Mobile County and Baldwin County can pursue a sound legal strategy to mitigate your circumstances as much as possible. Call us at (251) 441-7772 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.