In Alabama, the Department of Public Safety of the Highway Patrol Division takes driving under the influence very seriously. Enforcement efforts have resulted in a more than 30 percent decrease in alcohol impaired driving fatalities per every 100,000 residents between the years 2001 and 2012, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. However, even one fatality is too many and penalties for first-time offenders reflect this perspective.
First Conviction DUI Penalties In Alabama
A law enforcement official in Alabama may charge a driver with DUI if the individual is believed to be under the influence of alcohol or testing reveals blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent. An individual need only to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in order to be charged with DUI. However, a charge is not a conviction, making it important to build a strong defense to avoid conviction penalties.
An initial DUI conviction in Alabama results in a mandatory license suspension of 90 days and requires participation in a DUI education program. Fines for first-time convictions range from $500 to $2,000 and an additional $100 is charged for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund. Though there is no minimum mandatory jail sentence for DUI in Alabama, individuals convicted of a first DUI may spend up to one year in county or municipal jail.
Alabama law does not include a provision for vehicle confiscation for DUI convictions, nor does it require the installation of an ignition interlock device in the automobile. However, this does not mean that law enforcement officials take DUI lightly. Requiring attendance at DUI school is intended to prevent repeat offenses by educating DUI offenders about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
Underage DUI in Alabama
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reported 286 DUI arrests in Alabama during 2012. Fortunately, only one of these drivers was under the age of 18. However, the latest data available reflects that more than 20 percent of 12 to 20 year-olds in Alabama consume alcohol and 13 percent admitted to binge drinking within 30 days of being surveyed. Underage drinking and driving resulted in 36 fatalities in 2012.
To deter underage individuals from drinking and driving, Alabama imposes a 0.02 percent blood-alcohol content threshold for drivers under age 21. If an underage driver is convicted of DUI, severe penalties result. However, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to convince the court to instead suspend the driver license for at least 30 days.
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Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.