You may have seen the news reports of the atmosphere improving in polluted cities for the first time in decades. We are driving less under the threat of this COVID-19 pandemic and until we have testing and a vaccine, and with more people working from home, it is likely that our cars will not be used as much as they were before.
The good news then is that we should also see a reduction in the number of drivers who are driving impaired, that is drinking or on drugs. Since many places of business are closed and beach traffic is limited, there are just not that many places to go.
As things open up slowly, that may change.
Social Distancing and Loneliness
News reporters around the country are noticing a decrease in the number of arrests for driving under the influence.
Social distancing also requires limiting the spread of the virus and for most of us that means spending a lot of time in our homes. While that is an opportunity to catch up with family, it may also heighten loneliness for others. That may explain why we are also seeing an uptick in drinking, drugs, and domestic violence while everyone has been at home.
Drinking may actually put consumers at an increased risk for the coronavirus because it weakens the body’s immune system, according to the World Health Organization.
Some areas around the country such as Florida’s Treasure Coast are reporting an increase in DUI arrests, while California’s decline in DUIs may be related to the full lockdown they implemented early on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drunk Driving Penalties in Alabama
In Alabama, you are considered legally drunk when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08 percent or higher and you should not operate a vehicle. Even a single beer or glass of wine can trigger a BAC dangerously close to legally intoxicated. Women are especially susceptible because of their smaller body mass.
Penalties can include jail time, loss of your license, and being charged with a crime.
- A first-time offense can result in a fine of up to $2,100 and up to a year in jail. In addition, your license may be suspended for 90 days.
- For a second offense, the fines double and you do lose your license for a year in addition to having the interlock device on your vehicle for two years.
- As if two offenses were not enough, if you drive drunk or on drugs a third time and are arrested, you can be charged with a misdemeanor with increased fines and imprisonment, loss of a license for three years, and an interlock device when you can return to driving.
- Alabama will charge a DUI driver with a Class C felony and fine a driver up to $10,000 for a fourth offense that can land you in prison for up to ten years. The penalty also includes losing your license for five years and having an interlock device on your car for another five years.
If you injure someone while driving drunk, the penalties are even harsher. In the case of a DUI with serious bodily injuries or fatalities, there were 3,190 victims of drunk driving crashes in Alabama between 2003 and 2012, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Alabama ranks fifth in the nation for alcohol-related fatalities.
Drunk Driving Defense Attorney in Alabama
Driving in Alabama means you have consented to undergo a blood, breath, or urine test to measure BAC. It is in the small print on your driver’s license. However, you are not legally obligated to submit to any field sobriety tests.
If you have been charged with DUI, this is no time to wonder what to do.
Please arrange for a complimentary consultation with Mobile DUI defense attorney Jason Darley. We are still open for business and we are following the CDC guidelines for sanitation to avoid spreading the virus.
Jason Darley is experienced and compassionate and can explain the legal matters you are facing and your rights and options during this difficult time. Darley Law focuses on DUI and traffic violations, drug and violent crimes, and domestic violence.
COVID-19 has the courtroom suspending in-person hearings for the time being in Mobile County, with a few exceptions.
Darley Law is fully capable of filing documents electronically, teleconference and videoconference with you or the other side if needed. The court should still be able to resolve matters without in-person proceedings using teleconferencing.
The court may be suspended, but your rights are not. Jason can be reached at (251) 441-7772.