License After a First-Time DUI in Birmingham
In Birmingham, on a first-time DUI charge, a person’s driver’s license can be impacted in one of two ways, if not both. First, under the ‘implied consent’ law, when a person is stopped for a DUI in Alabama, if the individual registered a 0.08 or greater or if they refused a breath test, then their license will be administratively suspended for a period of 90 days. However, an experienced DUI lawyer will know how to contest that suspension and possibly make it go away or at least argue for a reduction.
If it is your first offense Alabama DUI conviction, within 10 years, in Alabama and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than .15, the driving privilege or driver’s license of the person convicted shall be suspended for a period of 90 days. The 90-day suspension shall be stayed if the offender elects to have an approved ignition interlock device installed and operating on the designated motor vehicle driven by the offender for 90 days.
If, on a first offense Alabama DUI conviction, within 10 years, any person refusing to provide a blood alcohol concentration, if a child under the age of 14 years was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, if someone else besides the offender was injured at the time of the offense, or if the offender is found to have had at least 0.15 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood while operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, the Secretary of the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency shall suspend the driving privilege or driver’s license of the person convicted for a period of 90 days and the person shall be required to have an ignition interlock device installed and operating on the designated motor vehicle driven by the offender for a period of one year from the date of issuance of a driver’s license indicating that the person’s driving privileges are subject to the condition of the installation and use of a certified ignition interlock device on a motor vehicle.
Upon receipt of a court order from the convicting court, upon issuance of an ignition interlock restricted driver license, and upon proof of installation of an operational approved ignition interlock device on the designated vehicle of the person convicted, the mandated ignition interlock period of one year provided in this subsection shall start and the suspension period, revocation period, or both, as required under this subsection shall be stayed.
Challenging a License Suspension
If a person is simply arrested for a DUI, the only license suspension they would immediately be facing would be under the Birmingham implied consent law. The individual has a 40-day temporary permit that they are given by the local police department or sheriff’s office that allows them to continue to drive without their license.
During that 45-day period, there are three steps that must be taken to contest the administrative suspension of someone’s license.The license suspension must happen within 10 days of the first-offense DUI and in the form of a written demand letter sent to the ALEA, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency down in Montgomery. The other way to challenge the suspension of an individual’s license is called an administrative hearing, the third option being judicial review.
Role of DUI Acquittal
In Birmingham, if there is an administrative suspension of an individual’s license after a DUI where there was a breath test, then was later acquitted, that person will be able to get their driving record expunged and cleared of the previous administrative action and they would not have to pay any reinstatement fee.
If there were a refusal of the breath test, even if the person is later acquitted, they would have to serve the administrative suspension. The suspension would permanently stay on their driver history. Normally, by the time the case comes up for a trial and there is an acquittal, the administrative action has already run its time and the only thing for an individual to have the license restored would be the payment of a reinstatement fee. Anyone charged with a first-offense DUI should contact a first-offense DUI lawyer to be advised on their case.
Importance of Hiring an Attorney
The biggest mistake for a first-time DUI defendant that they need to avoid is not taking the case seriously. Thinking that someone could go to court and handle the case themselves or hire a subpar lawyer that does not necessarily know what they are doing in defending a DUI case and they end up being convicted and having serious consequences. First time DUI penalties could be from the court and the state—fines, probation, interlock, possibly even jail time—but then there are also many collateral consequences that could impact employment and insurance.
The most important thing for a first-time DUI defendant is to take it seriously and contact the most experienced DUI lawyer they can find who is confident in representation.