Penalties for a DUI in Alabama

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Drinking and driving is risky business on all sorts of levels and for all sorts of reasons. All anyone has to do to be convinced is to take a look at accident statistics for drunk drivers, particularly those regarding death and serious injury. The legal penalties are pretty steep, too, and they should be. And this is true throughout the United States, including Alabama. So if you are an Alabama driver who doesn't think occasional drunk driving is a big deal, you might want to continue reading.

"Under the Influence" and Blood Alcohol Levels In Alabama

A driver in Alabama is considered under the influence "per se" if he or she drives with a blood alcohol level (BAC) at or higher than the following legal limits:

  • 0.08%: Non-commercial drivers 21 years of age or older;
  • 0.04%: Commercial vehicle drivers;
  • 0.02%: Drivers under 21 years of age, and school bus and day care drivers.

It is also illegal to drive in Alabama if a person is:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, meaning that his or her driving ability is impaired by the consumption of alcohol regardless of BAC;
  • Under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree that he or she is rendered incapable of driving safely;
  • Under the combined influence of alcohol and  a controlled substance to a degree that he or she cannot drive safely;
  • Under the influence of ANY substance (controlled or not) which impairs an individual's ability to drive safely.

    Implied Consent and Refusal of Chemical Test

    Alabama is an "implied consent" state, which means that simply by operating a vehicle in the state, a driver has consented to taking a chemical test if suspected of driving under the influence. If requested by a law enforcement officer, a driver is required to submit to a blood, breath or urine test.

    A driver may legally refuse a blood draw and request a breath or urine test. However, refusal to take any form of chemical test will result in suspension of the driver's license for 90 days on a first refusal and one year on second and subsequent refusals. These suspensions are imposed in addition to any suspensions or other penalties that may result from a criminal DUI conviction.

    Administrative Penalties for DUI

    There are two major types of penalties associated with DUI in Alabama: administrative penalties and criminal penalties. These two types of penalties are separate and distinct from one another and a driver arrested for DUI may be susceptible to both. Administrative penalties for DUI in Alabama, which take the form of license suspensions, are:

    • First offense: 90 days;
    • Second offense (within five years): One year;
    • Third offense (within five years): Three years;
    • Fourth and subsequent offenses (within five years): Five years.

    A driver whose license is suspended pursuant to administrative penalties who additionally receives a license suspension as part of criminal conviction concerning the same DUI will have the criminal  suspension credited by the length of the administrative suspension.

    Criminal DUI Penalties

    Upon conviction for DUI in Alabama, a driver will face the following criminal penalties:

    • First conviction: Imprisonment of up to one year in the municipal or county jail (no minimum); Fine of $500 to $2,000, plus additional $100 to paid to the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund; 90-day driver's license suspension; DUI school attendance.
    • Second conviction: Imprisonment of a minimum of 48 consecutive hours to a maximum of one year (or not less than 20 days of community service); Fine of $1,000 to $5,000, plus additional $100 paid to the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund; One-year driver's license revocation.
    • Third conviction (within five years): Imprisonment of a minimum of 60 days in the municipal or county jail to a maximum of one year; Fine of $2,000 to $10,000, plus additional $100 paid to the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund: Three years driver's license revocation.
    • Fourth or subsequent conviction (within five years): Imprisonment from one to ten years; Fine of $4,000 to $10,000; Five-year driver's license revocation.

    These penalties are doubled if the driver is found to have a BAC of 0.15%  and/or if a child under the age of 14 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

    Ignition Interlock Devices

    In addition to all of the above, ignition interlock systems are now mandatory for drivers who are convicted under the following circumstances:

    • A BAC of 0.15% or higher;
    • Refusing a chemical test;
    • If, at the time of the offense, a child under the age of 14 was present in the vehicle;
    • If someone other than the offender was injured at the time of the offense.

    Info You Need to Know Now!