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What Are the Different Levels of DUI Charges in Alabama, and How Do They Vary?

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Understanding Your Charges

Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming and leave you feeling lost. It can feel isolating not to know who to trust with your story, feeling ashamed or guilty for what happened, or maybe frustration if you were wrongly charged.

Regardless of how you are feeling, know that you have legal options and are not alone. Alabama’s laws, as in several other states, have become significantly more harsh over the years regarding DUIs to keep others safe.

Understanding your charges can help you know what to expect and what steps to take next.

First-Time DUI Charge in Alabama

If you are charged with a DUI in Alabama, and you don’t have a prior DUI on record, the penalties can still be harsh. You may face losing your license and other consequences, such as being required to install an interlock device and more.

If your blood alcohol content is above .08, or you refuse to submit to a chemical test, this can result in fines of $600 up to $2,100 plus court costs and fees, losing your license for up to 90 days, required ignition interlock for six months or more, and up to one year in jail.

A substance abuse evaluation will generally be required if you are convicted of a DUI in Alabama. One step you can take is to research substance abuse evaluations in your area and set it up to be proactive. Abide by all results of the assessment or do more than what is required before being forced to by the courts, and this may help provide good faith or determination on your part that you are willing to face the consequences and make changes in your life.

Aggravating Circumstances

You could face much harsher penalties depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. For example, if there were aggravating circumstances surrounding your arrest, such as your BAC being .15 or higher, your penalties, such as jail time and fines, may substantially increase.

This elevated BAC may be referred to as a “super DUI” and can entice the courts to double the minimum fines, jail time, interlock requirement, and more. For example, the required interlock time may be up to two years rather than six months.

Other aggravating factors can include whether or not a child was present in the vehicle when the offense occurred or if someone was injured as a result of impaired driving.

Consequences for Subsequent DUI’s in Alabama

If this is your second or more DUI in Alabama, you are likely facing harsher penalties than listed above. Alabama has a “look back period” of ten years, meaning that if you have a DUI on your record within the last ten years, this may be your second, third, or more charge. Subsequent DUI arrests typically result in harsher penalties, as summarized below.

A 2nd DUI typically results in a mandatory five days in jail and up to a year. Community service may be an alternative to this option. Fines may be as high as $5,100, an interlock device may be required for up to two years, and you may lose your license for a year.

A 3rd DUI can result in mandatory 60 days in jail and up to one year, fines as high as $10,100, losing your license for three years, and a required interlock for three years, which can be as high as six years if aggravating circumstances exist.

A fourth DUI or more could result in a complete revocation of your license, an indefinite period of required interlock, up to $10,100 in fines or more, and up to ten years of incarceration.

DUI Diversion Program

A DUI diversion program may be an excellent option for a select group of offenders. Not everyone is eligible, however, such as those with multiple offenses or aggravating circumstances.

A DUI diversion program can help many avoid jail time and other penalties by adhering to other options that may be available to them. Options include installing an interlock device for at least six months or the terms stipulated in the diversion program, entering into counseling or drug treatment, and more.

The offender would plead guilty to the charge, enter into the diversion program, and adhere without fail to all requirements, and upon completion, the charges may be dismissed or lessened.

Other options can include community service, attending a victim impact panel that helps offenders understand the long-term effects that their decisions to drive while impaired can cause those around us and more.

Speak with your attorney to determine if a diversion program is something you may be eligible for and would be a viable option for your case.

Don’t Let a Mistake Negatively Affect Your Life

It’s important to understand that though a first-time DUI is considered a misdemeanor, the charges should be taken seriously, as they will remain on your record for the rest of your life. Speaking with an experienced attorney is imperative to seek viable options such as getting charges lessened or dropped and keeping your record clean.

If you are charged with a 2nd, 3rd, or more DUI, it’s crucial to seek legal advocacy immediately. The punishments are much harsher for those with subsequent DUIs, but there may be viable options to reduce or drop the charge entirely, depending on the legal circumstances of your case.

Skilled DUI attorneys have a vast knowledge of how these laws work and your reasonable options. With being in practice since 2011, our team is prepared to assist you and your loved ones with even the most challenging DUI cases.

Contact our office today at (205) 881-5641 to schedule your consultation and learn more about your options.

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