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Any DUI charge can result in serious consequences for your personal, professional, and financial situation. A second DUI conviction within a five-year period may have even more severe implications for these aspects of your life. If you are facing a second DUI charge, you may want to get the advice of a Shelby County second offense DUI lawyer prior to making any hasty decisions to resolve your charges.

A second DUI conviction can result in a substantially longer jail sentence and many more expenses than for a first DUI conviction. These costs may include probation fees, high-risk vehicle insurance, fines, expenses related to the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. A dedicated DUI lawyer may be able to represent your interests and minimize the impact of the charges against you.

DUI Charges in Shelby County AL

DUI charges may result whenever a law enforcement officer accuses individuals of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater, when under the influence of controlled substances, alcohol, or both that impairs their ability to drive safely, or under the influence of any substance that impairs mental or physical faculties to the point that they are unable to safely drive.

Some drivers are subject to different BAC limits. Individuals who are under the age of 21 may not drive if they have a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater. Daycare and school bus drivers are prohibited from driving if they have a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater.

Likewise, drivers who hold commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) are subject to federal restrictions on BAC levels when operating commercial vehicles. All of these special circumstances also may lead to DUI charges in Shelby County.

Look Back Period for DUI Convictions

In determining whether a DUI conviction is a first, second, or subsequent offense for the purposes of sentencing, the court will “look back” at the criminal history of individuals for the previous 10 years. If there is a first DUI conviction within that 10-year look back period, then the current DUI charge will constitute a second DUI offense under Alabama law. This look back period can create a significant difference in potential jail sentences and fines between a first DUI conviction and a second DUI conviction. If your first DUI in Alabama was a felony, then any subsequent DUI will be classified as a felony, no matter how long ago you were convicted of the first DUI.

Penalties for a Second Offense DUI Convictions

As per Ala. Code § 32-5A-191, the charges for a second-offense DUI are still misdemeanor charges, but the potential penalties are greater than for a first-offense DUI. A conviction for a second DUI can result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from a mandatory minimum of five days to 365 days. In lieu of the mandatory minimum five-day sentence, however, the sentencing court can require individuals to complete 30 days of community service.

Other penalties may include a minimum fine of $1,100 up to a maximum fine of $5,100. If it is your second offense DUI conviction in Alabama, within 10 years, the driving privilege or driver’s license shall be revoked for a period of one year and the offender 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 two years 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.

After a minimum of 45 days of the license revocation or suspension pursuant to Section 32-5A-304, 32-5A-191, or both, is completed, 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 two years approved in this subsection shall start and the suspension period, revocation period, or both, as required under this subsection shall be stayed. The remainder of the driver license revocation period, suspension period, or both, shall be commuted upon the successful completion of the period of time in which the ignition interlock device is mandated to be installed and operational.

Furthermore, individuals in this situation will be required to maintain high-risk SR-22 motor vehicle insurance for a period of three years, which is costly. They also may need to complete any court referrals to a substance abuse treatment program. As a result of these high stakes, getting advice from a skilled Shelby County second-offense DUI lawyer could be key to resolving a defendant’s situation in a positive manner.

The second change to the state’s DUI laws deals with ignition interlock systems, and who the state mandates to install one in their vehicle. The biggest change is people who are in pretrial diversion programs must install an ignition interlock.

If you qualify for any type of diversion program, you must install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for six months or the length of time of the diversion program, whichever is greater.

How a Shelby County Second-Offense DUI Attorney Could Help

A DUI charge, even if a second offense within 10 years, does not always result in a DUI conviction. In some cases, there are evidentiary issues, law enforcement officers who do not always follow procedure, and other circumstances that may impact the ability to effectively prosecute your case.

A Shelby County second-offense DUI lawyer may be able to investigate your case and consider whether any irregularities in your arrest and charges exist.

Working with a skilled DUI defense attorney in Shelby County can be a good first step to building a defense to the charges against you. Going it alone when the potential penalties for a conviction are so great can be a risky choice. Getting advice at the outset of your case may be the wiser path to follow.