In Birmingham and nationwide, law enforcement teams are working aggressively to target, catch and penalize drunk drivers. While the intention is to prevent and curb drunk driving, the impact can be wide-reaching, changing the lives of those who are arrested. In some cases, penalties may be deserved; however, every defendant deserves a defense to prevent getting overcharged and over-penalized when accused of drunk driving. One mistake could result in significant fines, a jail sentence, and a criminal record.
Drunk driving can result in misdemeanor or felony DUI or DWI charges, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, including jurisdiction. A prior arrest in another state could also impact your charges and penalties. Remember that law enforcement agencies are aggressive in cracking down on DUI. Whether it is your first offense or you have been charged before, your defense is critical. Our Birmingham drunk driving defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of our clients. We understand the serious nature of a DUI charge and will explore every defense opportunity. If you have been charged, here are some potential penalties you may face if convicted:
License revocation: Even if it is your first offense, Alabama has passed Administrative License Revocation Laws, which gives arresting officers the right to take your license immediately if you refuse a breath test or if your breath test is over the state limit of .08%. Depending on your prior record, your administrative suspension will vary, ranging from 90 days to 5 years. If you are a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder, you could permanently lose your license and ability to work.
SCRAM ankle bracelet: Some offenders will be forced to wear an ankle bracelet called SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) which tests the wearer’s blood-alcohol content and reports the results to law enforcement agencies. Not only does this restrict your freedom, but it could also carry additional penalties if you are caught drinking.
Interlock-ignition device: The Alabama legislature has recently passed a law making interlock ignition devices mandatory, even for first-time offenders. This means that you will not be able to start your car without performing a blood-alcohol content breath test.
Fines: Nationwide, the costs and fines associated with DUI/DWI have gone up. In addition to being strapped with fines upwards of $1500, you could also face the additional hardship of losing your license and not being able to work.
Mandatory jail time and felony charges: While any alleged drunk driver will likely face at least a night in jail, some offenders may be sentenced to mandatory jail time, especially repeat offenders. Habitual violator laws may impose felony penalties for three or more DUI convictions. In addition to penalties, you could lose your right to vote or carry a weapon.
Every case is unique and should be reviewed by an experienced attorney. The circumstances of your arrest may impact your ability to be charged and convicted. If you have been arrested or previously convicted of DUI, it is even more important to consult with an advocate who can protect your rights in the process.