Stuff happens. Although we've all used that excuse at one time or another, it's not a legitimate legal defense especially when is comes to DUI laws. Like other states, Alabama DUI laws have been structured to keep residents safe. Stopping a potential DUI offender before an accident is always the best course of action.
But what if you're that unfortunate "offender?" Not drinking and driving is a great rule to follow but there are actually some instances where you can still be arrested for a DUI in Alabama without even driving. Knowing about Alabama DUI laws might help you think twice before getting into a situation where you could be arrested.
Alabama DUI Prosecution
As in many other states, Alabama DUI laws allow for a person to be charged with two crimes for one incident. The first charge would be for simply being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Being under the influence" means that you are physically or mentally incapable of driving due to too much alcohol or drugs in your system.
The second charge is the actual operating of a motor vehicle while under the influence. In Alabama, the legal limit has been set at a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater. Here's the catch: you don't actually have to be driving your car to be charged with a DUI. You can merely be sitting in your car, sleeping off a binge and still be arrested. The policy is designed to keep drunk drivers off the road. No matter how sincere you are, the fact that you potentially could drive your car under the influence is enough for an arrest.
Alabama also has a strict "zero tolerance" policy for any one arrested for a DUI who is under the legal drinking age of 21. In those cases, your blood alcohol content can't be any hire than .02%.
Alabama DUI Legal Restrictions
If you have been arrested for any DUI charge in Alabama you have ten days to notify the Alabama Department of Public Safety to set up a hearing in order to determine the status of keeping your driver's license. You have the right to refuse a test to determine your blood alcohol content but that refusal comes with consequences.
If you have been lawfully detained and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, urine or blood test your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. Also, that refusal can be used against you in your trial. It's usually better to take the test.
Alabama DUI Punishment
A person who has been convicted of their first DUI offense can face up to a year in jail and/or fines of anywhere between $600 and $2,100. That person will also be required to complete a state certified substances abuse program. In Alabama, there is a five year "look back" exclusion. This means if a person commits a second DUI offense within a five year period, that person will be charged as a second time offender. Outside of five years, you can face the same punishment for a first time offender.
A second time DUI conviction can mean a minimum of five days in jail and potentially up to a year. In exchange for the five days in jail, a person convicted of a DUI in Alabama can opt for 30 days of community service. Your license will be suspended for a year and you'll still be required to attend a substance abuse program. A third DUI conviction can lead to 60 days in jail. A fourth DUI conviction is consider a Class C felony which means at least one year in jail.