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Penalties for all DUI offenses have escalated in recent years. Many of these offenses now constitute a felony in some circumstances and all of these offenses will result in a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. A Shelby County first-offense DUI lawyer will tell you that the potential fines and minimum sentences of incarceration, even for a first-offense DUI, can be harsh.

A first-time DUI can lead to collateral consequences of a conviction that you might not expect. For example, loss of your ability to drive can make it difficult and even impossible to maintain your job in some cases.

The court may require you to undergo substance abuse counseling, install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and pay high fines, all of which can be extremely expensive. If you are facing DUI charges, consult with a seasoned DUI attorney today.

Defining DUI in Shelby County

DUI is a potential criminal charge that can arise out of different situations. Ala. Code § 32-5A-191 defines DUI as driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more
  • Under the influence of alcohol
  • Under the influence of a drug to the extent that it renders individuals incapable of driving safely
  • Under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs or any substance that makes impairs the physical or mental faculties of individuals that makes them unable to safely drive

Additionally, if individuals are under the age of 21, they are subject to more stringent standards. Underage individuals commit DUI if their BAC measures 0.02 percent or more, regardless of any evidence or impairment or inability to safely drive.

As a result of these potentially severe repercussions for any DUI conviction, a first-offense DUI attorney in Shelby County may be able to give you important advice about your situation.

Penalties for a First-Offense DUI

A first-offense DUI in Shelby County is a misdemeanor offense. DUI charges are considered a first offense if the drivers have not had a DUI conviction within the previous five years. Potential penalties under Ala. Code § 32-5A-191 relative to a first-offense DUI conviction may include:

  • Incarceration in the municipal or county jail for no more than one year
  • A fine ranging from $600 to $2,100
  • 90-day license suspension or installation of an approved ignition interlock device for six months

Although pretrial diversion programs may be available for some individuals with a first-time DUI charge, they may be subject to various requirements, as well, including periodic drug tests and installation of an ignition interlock device.

For minors convicted of a first-time DUI who have a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.08 percent, the penalty is a 30-day license suspension. However, with exception of the court system, law enforcement agencies, and employers, there will be no disclosure of the conviction to the public and the records related to the conviction will remain confidential. According to Shelby County first-offense DUI lawyers, these individuals also must attend a court-approved DUI or substance abuse program.

Circumstances Elevating Penalties for a First-Offense DUI

Alabama law further provides that individuals with a first-time DUI conviction who refused a BAC test, who had a passenger who was a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, or who caused injury to another, are all subject to a 90-day license suspension and installation of an ignition interlock device for two years.

However, after serving at least 45 days of license suspension, individuals may be able to obtain an ignition interlock restricted license, at which time the two-year required ignition interlock installation period begins.

Daycare or school bus drivers may face DUI charges if their BAC measures 0.02 percent or more. Those convicted of a first-time DUI offense will face a license suspension of one year. The penalties for a first-offense DUI are harsh, which is why it is important to obtain the services of an accomplished criminal defense lawyer.

Speak with a Shelby County First-Time DUI Offense Attorney

A Shelby County first-offense DUI lawyer knows that any DUI conviction can result in significant penalties that can alter your life for a substantial period of time.

An inability to drive for even a short period of time can make it hard to maintain your job, and in some cases, disqualify you from certain jobs or occupations. Most DUI convictions also create a permanent criminal record that prospective employers, colleges, and landlords all can freely view.

For these reasons, consulting a first-time DUI offense attorney in Shelby County may be one of the only ways to fight back against these charges. Let an experienced and skilled defense attorney work with you to develop an effective defense in your case.