Driver’s License Consequences After a DUI in Birmingham, AL

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DUI: Possible Punishments/Effects of Conviction

The possible punishment for a DUI charge depends on many variables. Among these is whether or not it is your first, second, third or fourth offense. Below we loosely outline the possible punishment along that spectrum:

First Time Offenders

You face a misdemeanor offense, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $600 and no more than $2,100, a 90 drivers license suspension, and mandatory attendance in a DUI or substance abuse program.

Second-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)

You face a misdemeanor offense, a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $1,100 and no more than $5,100, 1 year driver license revocation, and mandatory attendance in the DUI program.

Third-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)

You face a misdemeanor offense, mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail, up to 1 year in jail, a fine no less than $2,100 and no more than $10,100, 3 years drivers license revocation, and attendance in the program.

Fourth-Time Offenders (within 5 years of the previous conviction)

You face a felony conviction, a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, up to 10 years in prison, a fine no less than $4,100 and no more and $10,100, 5 years drivers license revocation, and attendance in the program.

Aggravated DUI
With the passage of the Super DUI law, those above a .15 BAC can face a mandatory one-year minimum jail sentence, even for first-time offenders with no prior DUI convictions.

DUI Assault and Manslaughter

In cases where drunk driving involved injury or death, there are serious consequences for possible punishment. With the potential for greater penalties comes all the more reason to secure aggressive representation as soon as possible. At the Alabama Criminal Lawyers, LLC, we bring to the table just the right mix of experience and skillsets to defend such cases.

DUI: Administrative License Suspension

When you are arrested for an Alabama DUI and you either refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test or you submit to a test and fail, your driver’s license will be taken from you. You will then be issued a temporary driving permit in the form of a yellow AST-60 form. This form allows you to drive until your license suspension goes into effect.

The rules for your driver’s license suspension are found in Alabama Code section 32-5A-304, which stipulates that a suspension of 90 days will go into effect if you have no prior convictions for DUI or have no prior related offenses. If you have previously had a DUI charge or refused in the past to submit to a breath test, then your suspension will be for one year. With two or three prior related offenses, you will have a three-year license suspension and if you have had four or more prior DUI or related incidents, your license will be suspended for five years.

This license suspension will occur if you do not take action, and there are no hardship licenses granted in Alabama, which means you will not have a license available to you to go to work or school or to fulfill any of your other obligations if you do not take action to try to stop the license suspension. You have only 10 days in order to take any type of action, so do not hesitate to contact a lawyer to learn your options.

If you wish to try to fight the license suspension and you are within the ten-day time limit, you have several different options for having your suspension reviewed. The first option is to request in writing that the suspension be reviewed by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. If the Department determines that your suspension should stand, you have the right to request an administrative hearing. Finally, the last stage of fighting the suspension would be to request judicial review of the prior proceedings to determine if the suspension should stand.

Because of the ten-day time limit and because you will need assistance crafting arguments for why your license should not be suspended, you must contact an experienced Birmingham Alabama DUI attorney when faced with a license suspension. Getting an attorney to help you fight the license suspension is the only chance you have of being able to walk away from a DUI charge with your driving privileges.

DUI: Insurance Rates

When you are arrested for a DUI in Alabama, your driver’s license can be suspended through an administrative suspension or as part of your criminal sanctions. In order to get your driver’s license back after the license suspension is over, you generally will need to have a special form completed by your insurance company. This is referred to as SR-22.

When you have your insurer complete an SR-22 form, this serves as notification to the car insurer of your DUI. At this time, the car insurer is likely to raise your rates significantly. Further, not all car insurance companies provide SR-22 insurance, which means your policy may be cancelled and you would have to find a new insurer who is willing to insure you even with the DUI on your record.

You will not be able to get your driver’s license back or legally drive on the roads in Alabama without insurance and your SR-22 form after a drunk driving incident. As such, you will have no choice but to pay for the expensive costs of SR-22 insurance if you hope to drive your vehicle. Your insurer will also notify the DMV if your insurance policy is cancelled and your registration and license can be suspended if you do not have proof of a new insurance policy. Furthermore, driving without valid insurance can lead to criminal sanctions.

Many people find it difficult to afford the high cost of insurance after a DUI. This is especially challenging given the fact that DUI sanctions include fines, and given that you will have to pay to reinstate your license after a DUI suspension.

DUI: Ignition Interlock Devices in Alabama

Alabama was the last state in the U.S. to adopt a requirement that ignition interlock devices be used in DUI cases, but as of September 2011, Alabama law has imposed requirements that these devices be used in certain DUI cases.

An ignition interlock device is a small device connected to the ignition system of any vehicle that the driver of the convicted DUI uses. The driver must blow into the device before operating the vehicle, submitting a breath sample that is compared to a pre-set BAC limit. Unless the driver’s breath sample is below the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. To ensure that the driver does not ask someone else to blow into the test for him or her, rolling retests may also be administered wherein the driver must blow into the device while operating the vehicle. If the driver fails a rolling retest, an alarm will go off and the vehicle’s horn will begin sounding and the lights flashing until the vehicle is turned off or a clean breath sample is submitted.

Ignition interlock devices can cost several hundred dollars to install and to operate. Unfortunately, if you are convicted of a DUI with a BAC above .15 for a first offense, or if you are convicted of a repeat DUI offense, you will be required to have the device installed on your vehicle. At a time when you already must pay for DUI fines totaling in the thousands of dollars, as well as for expensive DUI insurance and for the reinstatement of your license, the cost of an ignition interlock device can be a real burden.

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers

Aside from jail time and the negative effect of a criminal record, the best way to avoid the consequences of a DUI is to work with an experienced DUI lawyer at Alabama Criminal Lawyers. Contact us today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.