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Alabama DUI Laws and Alabama DUI Penalties

By: Whitney Polson, Alabama DUI Attorney

Like most of the states, Alabama DUI penalties have increased dramatically over the years. The sentencing range, and whether the driving under the influence offense will be a misdemeanor or a felony, is based on the number of prior DUI or drunk driving convictions. If your arrest results in a 1st offense DUI, then you will have the least DUI penalties, but some mandatory minimum DUI punishments are required to past of even a first DUI conviction.

DUI 1st Offense - Alabama Drunk Driving Conviction – Mandatory DUI Penalty Information

Imprisonment or DUI fine – Up to 1 Year in Jail or a fine ranging from $600 (minimum mandatory) to $2,100 or both. The minimum fine for a first DUI conviction in Alabama is $600, if the fine is part of your court-ordered DUI penalty.

Driver’s License Suspension –Driver’s License Suspension for 90 Days (mandatory) – no limited permit

Substance Abuse Treatment (mandatory) – All persons convicted of DUI must undergo substance abuse evaluation, and substance abuse treatment, as deemed necessary by the substance abuse counselor.

Probation is mandatory in Alabama – Because the convicted drunk driver must satisfy all conditions and pay all fines that are part of the DUI sentence, and comply with Alabama laws, probation is a replacement for jail time that the Judge has the discretion to put in place, rather than merely send you to jail.

Is your first DUI a felony? NO, in Alabama, and all other states, the 1st DUI is a misdemeanor, unless another person has died or been seriously injured by your vehicle that is attributable to your drunken driving. The first DUI conviction in a person's lifetime is a misdemeanor, under Alabama DUI laws. Alabama DUI law measures prior DUI offense by using a five year “lookback” period, which means that a 2nd DUI offense within 5 years has increased DUI consequences. Hence, 2nd DUI jail time, or felony DUI jail time would be significantly greater, if the driver was not facing a 1st DUI offense, in the last 5 years.

DUI Jail Time in Alabama – How Long in Jail for DUI? - Upon any DUI Alabama conviction, the Judge sentences the driver. The convicted DUI driver may be given a jail sentence of up to 365 days in the county jail or municipal jail and be required to pay a fine of between $600 and $2,100. For most of our clients facing a driving while intoxicated charge, jail time for DUI is their number one concern.

Mandatory Substance Abuse – Evaluation and Treatment - The person convicted of DUI in Alabama also will be ordered to attend a court-approved substance abuse program (licensed by the state of Alabama). Out of state residents may be able to have the substance abuse evaluation and any mandated substance abuse treatment sessions performed in their state of residence.

Drivers License Suspension for 90 days - If he or she is licensed by another state, the privilege to drive in Alabama will be suspended by virtue of any DUI 1st offense conviction for a period of 90 days. Nationally, the in other states, their department of motor vehicles or department of public safety of another state (like Georgia, Florida Mississippi or Tennessee) will honor that license suspension from an Alabama criminal court, once the driver goes back to his or her state of residence, if Alabama DPS reports the conviction and driver license suspension to them, as is required by Alabama law.

Lookback Period for Determining 2nd DUI status - Alabama’s "lookback" period for DUI laws is five years. This means that if a person has only one prior DUI, and the day that he or she is convicted of the second DUI is more than five years after the date of conviction for the first DUI, he or she will be sentenced within the minimum and maximum range of punishment as a person with a first DUI in Alabama. However, if the second DUI conviction is within five years of the date of the DUI first conviction, he or she will be punished as a second-time driving while impaired offender.

Other States measure Lookback Periods Differently for First Offense DUI and Second DUI - Not every state follows the same lookback “rules” as Alabama. By way of example, Georgia measures a 2nd DUI as date-of-arrest to date-of-arrest, and applies a 5 year lookback for their drivers license suspension law, but a 10 year lookback under the criminal law part of Georgia DUI laws, for adding on very harsh addition DUI penalties and consequences for a DUI second offense. North Carolina has the same type of lookback law in their DWI laws for license suspension, but is similar to Georgia in having a longer lookback period (7 years). So, if you were convicted of DUI in any other state, the complexity of our DUI law firm investigation of all aspects of potential DUI punishment increases. Another neighboring state, Tennessee, now has mandatory ignition interlock for even a 1st DUI conviction, when any Alabama DUI gets reported to them, upon a conviction.

Also, below you will see that for 3rd DUI or 4th DUI convictions in Alabama, the legislature looks at your LIFETIME record. This is similar to other states like Michigan. But, other states, like Georgia, utilize a 10 year lookback period for all DUI offenses, with a DUI 4th offense being a DUI felony.

Second DUI - What happens after a DUI second offense Conviction in Alabama?

Imprisonment – Jail time from 5 days to 1 Year in Jail or Community Service for a minimum of 30 Days (Judge’s Discretion)
Fine – From $1,100 minimum up to $5,100 maximum
License Suspension – 1 Year
Probation – 1 year
Substance Abuse Treatment – Mandatory

A second DUI within five years of the first is a misdemeanor with a jail term of no less than five (5) days and up to 365 days in the county jail or municipal jail. A judge in an Alabama criminal court may allow a person convicted of drunk driving to perform 30 days of community service in lieu of the required five days jail time. On a second conviction, the accused must be fined not less than $1,100 and not more than $5,100, under Alabama DUI laws. Additionally, his or her driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year, and he or she will be required to attend a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program.

Third Conviction for DUI in Alabama

Imprisonment – From 60 Days to 1 Year Jail – Mandatory 60 Days
Fine - $2,100 - $10,000
License Suspension – 3 Years
DUI Probation – 1 year, less any days served in Jail

A third DUI conviction within a person's lifetime is also a misdemeanor DUI in Alabama. Upon conviction, the driver will be sentenced to no less than 60 days jail time and no more than 1 year in the county jail or municipal jail. He or she shall be fined between $2,100 and $10,100, have his or her Alabama driver’s license suspended for 3 years and shall be required to complete a court-ordered substance abouse treatment program.

Felony DUI – for a Fourth Alabama DUI Conviction

Class “C” Felony Imprisonment – From 1 Year to 10 Years, Jail Time is a Mandatory 1 Year and 1 Day, minimum and a Ten Year State Prison term, if Convicted of Class “C” DUI Felony
Fine – Minimum of $4,100 to a maximum of $10,100
Substance Abuse – Complete State-Certified Chemical Dependency Program License Suspension – 5 Years
DUI Probation – Up to 10 years

The fourth, or subsequent DUI in Alabama (lifetime), is a driving under the influence conviction that is a Class C felony DUI. A person convicted of DUI felony in Alabama will be sentenced to no less than one year and one day in state prison and no more than 10 years of imprisonment at an Alabama state prison. He or she will be fined between $4,100 and $10,100 Dollars, and have his or her Alabama driver's license suspended for five years. The accused will also be required to attend a court-approved substance abuse treatment program.

Other Alabama DUI felony penalties include (when eligible for reinstatement after getting out of state prison) the installation of an ignition interlock device, which is a breath alcohol test machine attached to the steering column and ignition wiring of your car. This breathalyzer device records and digitally tracks all attempts to crank the car or truck, and prevents a vehicle from being started or driven when any measurable amount of alcohol is detected in your breath.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for Alabama DUI, please contact a lawyer at once. Contact qualified Alabama DUI defense lawyer Polson & Polson P.C. for free case consultation.

*All convicted DUI offenders are required to complete a DUI or substance abuse court referral program

We Can Come To You, if necessary. We Fight DUI Alabama Charges across the entire State, as well as other misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. Call us now at our office. 205-871-8838, or toll free at 1-844-7POLSON [1-844-776-5766]. When you only have one chance to win, why not go with an experienced Alabama DUI attorney?

   

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