Have you just recently been arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Alabama? Are you looking for current up-to-date information on the drunk driving laws in Alabama and how they might apply in your case? On this page you are going to find everything you need to know about the most current DUI laws in Alabama as they relate to a first offense charge.
First lets talk about the criminal charges you will be facing in court. There are two ways that you can be prosecuted on a DUI charge in Alabama, the first is a straight forward driving while ability impaired charge. If the prosecution decide to go this route all that they have to do is prove to the court that you were in fact driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
It is not necessary that you were over the state legal limit of 0.08% BAC. All the prosecution has to do is prove that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired and you should not have been driving.
The second way the prosecution may try your case is for violating the state's per se law, basically what the per se law says is that it is not necessary for a person who is driving to show signs of impairment, the mere fact that they are driving while having a BAC of 0.08% or greater is enough to try a person for violating this law.
If you are stopped for any reason and an officer smells alcohol or gets the feeling that you may be under the influence, they are going to ask you if you have been drinking. Most people typically answer that they have had a beer or two, or whatever. This is enough for the officer to go into action and request you to sumbit to some field sobriety test and submit to a field breathalyzer test. If the breathalyzer test returns 0.08% or higher, you get arrested under the per se law and head to jail.
We know that that is a lot to think about, but there is one other thing you need to be aware of and that is your driver's license. When you're at jail and the officer has booked you and charged you with DUI, they are also going to issue you a form called an AST-60, this form tells the Department of Public Safety that your driver's license must be suspended for driving under the influence. Once you are issued this form you have 45 days in which you can drive legally before the suspension period starts.
Important: Alabama DUI law only allows a 10-day window from the date of your arrest in which your lawyer may file a request for an administrative driver's license hearing with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, if you wish to challenge the suspension of your driver's license.
If a hearing request is not made within this 10-day period, you will not be eligible for a hearing and the officer's suspension of your license will be upheld. The minimum suspension period for an Alabama DUI first offense is 90-days.
Most first time offenders can avoid jail time as long as they did not have an elevated BAC of 0.15% or higher and no one was injured or property damage occurred. To avoid jail time you will have to pay a higher fine amount. The fine amount for a first time DUI in Alabama will be between $600 and $1,200 dollars. This will be at the court's discretion.
First time offender fine amounts will be between $600 - $1,200 dollars. As was stated for the jail time, you can avoid jail time by paying a higher fine amount. You may also have the option of doing some jail time for a reduced fine amount. This will of course be at the court's discretion. If your BAC was .15% or greater, the fine amounts are double that of a low BAC offender.
If you submitted to a chemical test and your BAC was below 0.015% you are looking at a mandatory 90 days license suspension, but you will be eligible for a restricted license for work purposes, groceries, school, doctor appt., etc. If you refused the chemical test, you are looking at the 90 day suspension without the chance of obtaining a restricted license.
If your BAC was above 0.15% you are looking at a 1-year revocation of your driving privileges. Also once your license is reinstated you will be required to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a period of 2-years.
Before the Department of Public Safety will reinstate your driver's license, they will require you to file an SR-22 form with them showing that you have the proper insurance coverage. Most insurance carriers do not offer SR-22 insurance, but you can find those providers by entering your zip code below:
DUI Education Program
All first time offenders will be required to attend and complete a DUI education program in Alabama. Most first time offenders will be required to take a level 1 DUI program. If you had a high BAC the court may require you to take a level 2 or 3 program. If you are a minor the court will refer you to a Juvenile DUI program. The successful completion of the court ordered program will also depend on whether or not you get your driver's license back following your suspension period.
Alabama is a no tolerence state for minors and drinking and driving. If you are under 21 and get stop and have been drinking, even if it was just one drink, and your BAC level is above a .02% you will be arrested for violating the under 21 drinking and driving law. If your BAC was 0.02 up to 0.08 your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days and you will be required to attend a Juvenile DUI education program. If your BAC was 0.08% or higher you will be facing the same fines and penalties as an adult would, minus the jail time.