Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious crime that can lead to lengthy time in prison and hefty fines. The state of Alabama has strict laws in place to punish those charged and convicted of DUI, which encompasses both alcohol and drugs. Whether or not you have ever faced charges for DUI in Alabama, you need to know the law surrounding this crime, the penalties that can be assessed, the factors that go into sentencing and the cost of being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.
What is the DUI Law in Alabama?
Let’s first begin with the DUI law in Alabama. Any driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher can be charged for DUI. Commercial drivers with a BAC of 0.04 or higher can be charged for DUI. Anyone under the age of 21, including those between the ages of 18 and 20, can be charged for DUI if they have a BAC of 0.02 or higher. Even though Alabama has a strict law regarding DUI for minors, it does not impose the 0.00 BAC levels because alcohol can be present in prescription medication and food that could elevate a minor’s levels.
The Factors that Go into Penalty Assessment
There are numerous factors that go into penalty assessment for drivers charged for DUI in Alabama. These factors include the following:
- The age of the driver
- The type of the driver’s license
- The estimated BAC of the driver
- The substance of impairment
- If the driver has prior DUIs on their record
- Property damage or injuries caused by the suspected DUI
- If a minor was in the vehicle
New laws that went into effect on July 1, 2018 allow the government to look back a total of 10 years on a driver’s record to see how many prior DUIs are on their record. The previous law allowed a records look back of no more than five years. This increases the penalties for repeat offenders.
Alabama Penalties for DUI with Drugs
The penalties mandated by Alabama law for driving under the influence of drugs include the following:
- 1st DUI: License suspension of 90 days, fine ranging from $500 to $2,000, prison for no more than one year, fine of $100 for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund
- 2nd DUI: One-year license suspension, fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, $100 fine for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund, prison sentence of two days to one year or 20 days community service
- 3rd DUI (within five years of second DUI): Three-year license suspension, fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, $100 fine for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund, prison sentence of 60 days to one year
- 4th or subsequent DUI: Five-year license suspension, fine ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, fine of $100 for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund, prison sentence of one to 10 years, installation of an ignition interlock device system
The Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device can be ordered by a judge for any of the following reasons outside of a 4th or subsequent DUI:
- Charged for DUI and a passenger under the age of 14 was in the car
- The DUI led to a crash
- The offender has been charged with multiple DUIs
- The offender’s first DUI charge came with a BAC of 0.15 or higher
An ignition interlock device is installed in an offender’s vehicle to prevent it from being driven if the driver blows into the device and has alcohol or drugs in their system. The device presents the vehicle from starting the car. Drivers will also be subjected to retests while driving. If the driver fails the test while driving, the car will not shut off but will blare the horn and flash the lights until the driver brings the vehicle to a stop.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney Today
Have you been charged for DUI in Alabama? If so, it’s time to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your situation. Call the Darley Law Firm in Mobile at (251) 441-7772 to schedule a consultation. We will investigate the nature of the traffic stop, the tests administered during the stop, the training of the officers involved and the chain of command of any blood test administered to help build a defense against the charges.