While every state has different licensing and DUI laws, the impact of out-of-state DUIs will vary. Cases involving habitual offenders and multiple DUIs can be complicated when the driver also has a history of DUIs in other states. Under the current state law, a drunk driving conviction from out of state will not impact your license or future sentencing if you are convicted of a 2nd or 3rd offense in Alabama. Now, a local lawmaker is pushing to change current Alabama DUI laws so that prior convictions from Tennessee, Mississippi and other states will impact your rights in Alabama.
Nationwide, habitual offenders will face more extreme penalties, including permanent loss of license and an extended jail sentence. Our Birmingham DUI attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and will take a strategic approach to minimize the consequences of a DUI charge. In addition to helping clients achieve optimal results in a DUI case, we are also abreast of current trends and changes in the law that could impact results in Alabama.
According to reports, State Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur is urging changes in DUI laws to factor in prior convictions from out of state. Some lawmakers believe that the passing of this law is necessary to permanently get repeat offenders off the road. Reducing the number of drunk drivers and minimizing drunk driving accidents is a legitimate goal for public interests. However, it could result in much harsher penalties for individuals who are arrested and charged with DUI in the state of Alabama.
The proposal would eliminate Alabama’s five-year review meaning that any prior DUI conviction can be considered when in the sentencing process. The changes in law not only increase penalties and impose harsher sentences, but they would also make all changes applicable in cases involving driving under the influence of other drugs, such as meth, cocaine and pharmaceutical drugs. Using drunk driving statistics (257 people killed in drunk driving accidents in 2012) the lawmakers see the legislative changes as necessary to save lives and reduce accidents.
Alabama drivers already face some of the harshest penalties in the nation. If the legislative changes are passed, individuals arrested and charged with DUI should consider the very stiff charges and penalties they may face. Currently, drivers face the following penalties for first-time and repeat offense:
1st offense: A single conviction carries a mandatory 90-day license suspension, a $600 fine and up to one year in jail.
2nd offense: Currently, a second offense can carry fines up to $5,100 in fines an d30 days of community service as well as jail time and license suspension.
3rd offense: The minimum sentence for a third DUI conviction, 3-year license suspension and a $2,100 fine.
4th offense: Any habitual driver convicted of a 4th offense will pay up to $10,000 in fines, lose their license for at least 5 years and may spend a year in prison.
If Alabama courts begin to weigh in prior out-of-state convictions, habitual offenders can face even harsher penalties. In addition to jail time, fines and loss of license, convicted offenders will also have a damaging criminal record that can limit employment and other opportunities.