Legislature Passes “All-Offender” Ignition Interlock Legislation

Tags: DUI

Ignition-interlock devices prevent drivers who have been convicted of DUI from being able to start their cars. While advocates hope that the measure prevents future drunk driving, the new law could signal harsher penalties for all drunk drivers, including first-time offenders. Alabama will be among 20 other states that have enacted the new law. Drivers in Birmingham and throughout the state should note the new penalties in the event they are arrested and charged with DUI.

Under the new law, all drunk drivers, including first time offenders will be required to have an ignition-interlock system installed in their vehicle. Alabama is the 21st state to enact an “all-inclusive” offender law that makes penalties applicable to first-time offenders. Our Birmingham drunk driving defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and minimizing penalties in DUI cases. We will thoroughly investigate any allegations of DUI, review police records, challenge illegally obtained or unsubstantiated evidence, and explore every available defense to minimize charges and penalties in your case.

What is an ignition interlock device? An ignition interlock device is wired to the ignition of a vehicle and cannot be tampered with or turned off. Any convicted drunk driver who wants to get behind the wheel must first blow into the device before the vehicle will start. The device tests the blood-alcohol level of the driver to ensure that they haven’t been drinking. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of the biggest supporters of the new law, which stiffens penalties for first-time offenders.According to reports, the initiative was one of the biggest priorities for the group this year.

Though good-intentioned the law may be, it does create significant hardship for individuals who are convicted of DUI. Supporters see the law as a step forward in curbing drunk driving; however, defendants must take greater effort when challenging allegations and a conviction. An ignition-interlock device is an infringement of rights and in some cases, it may be undeserved. When you are arrested and charged with drunk driving, it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced advocate.

Alabama has required ignition-interlock devices for all repeat offenders since 2011. Courts also required ignition-interlock devices in case involving first-time offenders who were beyond the legal limit of .08 — in the range of .15 or higher. Now all drivers who are pulled over with a blood-alcohol content of .08 will be forced to use the ignition-interlock device in the event of a conviction. In most cases, alleged offenders will be required to use the device for 6 months after a conviction.

Many legislators see the bill as a positive step forward in saving lives and reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road. Though drunk driving can potentially be preventable through such measures, not everyone who is pulled over deserves the harshest penalties. If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with drunk driving, an experienced advocate can help to protect your rights, minimize charges and penalties, and work to put the incident behind you.

If you are facing criminal charges in Alabama, contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers at (205) 994-0616 or use our online contact form.

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