Tuscaloosa DUI Lawyer
It often does not take much to trigger a DUI arrest. For certain categories of drivers, the blood alcohol concentration at which a violation occurs can be quite small. But the consequences are anything but. Substantial jail time, heavy fines, suspension of driving privileges, and arduous reinstatement requirements are some of the potential penalties faced by an individual convicted of violating Alabama’s DUI laws.
However, numerous challenges can be raised in a DUI case and those charged under the statutes do not necessarily need to face the maximum penalties.
An experienced Tuscaloosa DUI lawyer will know the correct steps to take in a specific case based on the circumstances involved in order to work toward the best conceivable outcome. Contact an experienced defense attorney right away to begin your case.
Alabama DUI Laws
Alabama statutes prohibit individuals from driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or “any substance which impairs the mental or physical faculties of such person to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.” (Ala. Code §32-5A-191).
The laws governing driving under the influence are complex and involve different limits and penalties for drivers in different circumstances. Moreover, while the laws set limits of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that constitute a violation, drivers can be in violation of the laws even without a specific BAC level. To further complicate matters, under Alabama law, all drivers on public roads are deemed to have consented to take a chemical test if a police officer believes they may be driving under the influence. Refusal to take such a test can have serious ramifications.
For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC for a DUI violation is only .02 percent. Those driving commercial vehicles will be found in violation of the DUI laws in Tuscaloosa at a BAC level of .04 percent, while the limit for most adult drivers is .08 percent. However, the driver of a school bus or vehicle used while providing daycare is in violation at .02 percent BAC.
Potential DUI Penalties
For the purposes of establishing the severity of an offense and the penalties mandated under the statutes, Alabama law uses a “look back” or “washout” period of ten years. In other words, only the driver’s record from the past ten years is relevant. This is important because the penalties escalate depending on the number of violations within that time-period and those penalties include mandatory jail or community service time starting at the second offense.
In the case of a driver’s first offense, an individual faces a fine of $600-$2100, a 90-day license suspension, mandatory DUI school, and possible jail time of up to one year.
As noted above, after a second offense, a driver faces mandatory jail time (or community service) plus a fine of $1100 to $5100, a one-year license suspension and more. A fourth offense is classified as a felony with a one to ten year jail sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. It is important to be aware that certain circumstances can substantially increase or even double the penalties. For instance, drivers with a BAC of .15 percent or more or adults driving with a passenger less than 14 years of age can have their penalties doubled.
Ignition Interlock Installation
Individuals should also note that even if this is their first DWI offense, they still may be forced to install an Ignition Interlock Device for two years. The Ignition Interlock becomes mandatory if they:
- Refuse to provide a breath test
- Breath test result of 0.15 or higher
- Child under 14 in the car
- Getting into an accident with injuries
For second and subsequent DUI arrests in Alabama, the Interlock period is higher, with up to five years. However, by contacting an Tuscaloosa DUI Defense lawyer, they may be able to avoid this harsh penalty. People who are in pre-trial diversion programs also must install an ignition interlock. The person is responsible for the installation fee and the monthly monitoring fees, and must keep the interlock on their vehicle for six months or for the length of time of the diversion program, whichever is greater.
A Tuscaloosa DUI Lawyer Can Help
In this specialized area of law, it is essential to have help from someone well- versed in the procedures, defenses and legal requirements involved in DUI cases. Alabama law now provides for a stay of license suspension in certain cases where ignition interlock devices are installed.
An experienced DUI attorney in Tuscaloosa can guide individuals through the process, which requires quick timing to preserve driving privileges.
At its best, a DUI charge is expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient, but at its worst, it can be devastating. Anyone facing a DUI charge should waste no time before consulting a knowledgeable Tuscaloosa DUI lawyer.