If you’re going to purchase and drink alcohol in the state of Alabama, you’ll need to make sure you’re aware of all the alcohol-related laws and regulations in order to steer clear of any alcohol-related penalties.
Following the rules and regulations can get confusing because the laws change depending on what county or city you’re in. It’s also confusing because the laws keep changing.
Many counties in Alabama are “dry” meaning alcohol cannot be made there, distributed there, or offered for sale there. In many of the “dry” counties, there are cities that are “wet” cities, meaning that alcohol can be sold there, again with restrictions. Clay County is the only county in Alabama that is completely “dry.”
The Alabama Supreme Court recently overturned a 2009 law which allowed cities in “dry” counties to vote to determine if they could sell alcohol.
The ruling didn’t make clear whether the dozens of “wet “cities in “dry” counties that voted to allow beer, wine, and liquor sales over the last six years would have to stop selling alcohol immediately, or if the new ruling would only apply to cities looking to vote in the future.
In pursuit of tax dollars, more and more dry cities and counties are seeking to allow alcohol sales. Many cities that allow alcohol sales six days a week want to offer Sunday sales as well. Some cities that only allow beer to be sold in bottles and cans also want to make draft beer available.
In the 2015 regular legislative session, bills passed paving the way for eight cities and four counties to allow some form of Sunday sales. Other bills allowed seven cities and three counties to consider offering draft beer sales.
The Alabama cities and counties which allow the purchase and distribution of alcohol have strict rules. Alcohol can only be sold in state owned stores known as package stores or ABC stores (Alcoholic Beverage Control.) Table wine (less than 14 percent alcohol) and beer with less than 6 percent alcohol content by volume is only available in supermarkets and convenience stores.
Unless the county and city rules state otherwise, alcohol might be offered for sale 6 days a week, 24 hours a day. Selling alcohol is prohibited after 2 a.m. on Sunday. Package stores, bars and restaurants are required to have special licenses to sell or serve alcohol. All bars and restaurants must stop serving alcoholic drinks at 2 a.m.
Here are some guidelines to follow so you can avoid getting a DUI in Alabama.
You must be 21 years of age in order to purchase or consume alcohol in the state of Alabama.
Alabama Open Container laws prohibit having an open container of alcohol inside the vehicle; open containers of alcohol must be placed in the trunk of the car and cannot be accessible by the driver or passengers in the car. You cannot consume alcohol in a car if the car is on a public roadway.
A DUI in Alabama is driving with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of:
- 0.08% or more.
- 0.04% or more in a commercial vehicle.
- 0.02% or more, if you are younger than 21 years old.
The legal penalties for an Alabama DUI can include incarceration, probation, substance abuse education classes, and fines, in addition to having your driver’s license suspended.