If you are charged with a DUI for the first time, we recommend contacting an experienced DUI lawyer. Even a first offense DUI in Alabama can lead to severe consequences, like jail time, probation, community service, fines, and the loss of your driver’s license.
To avoid a first DUI conviction, you will need an attorney who will work to have the charges dismissed or fight for you at trial. We have a long track record of success in DUI cases and always pursue the best possible outcome. We will work hard from the beginning to help you avoid a conviction, or when appropriate, mitigate any Alabama DUI penalties.
A DUI in Alabama may happen because your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was found to be over the legal limit of .08. But, that is not the only basis for a DUI. If there is evidence you are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both, even without being over the legal limit, you can be charged.
Under AL Code §32-5A-191, you can be charged with DUI if you drive or are in physical control of a vehicle while:
If you are facing your first DUI, call our DUI lawyers right away. We will fight hard for you to avoid a DUI conviction and keep your clean record.
A first offense DUI does not necessarily mean it is the only DUI in your past. Alabama’s lookback period is 10 years. When you are arrested for a DUI, the prosecutor will look back at the previous 10 years of your criminal record. If you have no other DUI convictions within those 10 years, then the current arrest with be charged as a first-time DUI.
For a first offense DUI in Alabama, you will be arrested and booked at a police station. You will be asked to submit to a formal breath test while in custody. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be taken to a hospital or another medical facility for a blood test or medical care.
Your first court appearance is your arraignment. Sometimes, you are taken directly from jail to the arraignment. Or, you may be released after a few hours in custody and required to come back to court for your arraignment. During this court appearance, you will be told the charges against you and asked to submit a plea.
You may receive notice of an administrative license suspension (ALS) if you were over the legal limit or you refused to take a chemical test to determine your BAC. The police will give you notice of the ALS and a yellow form as your temporary driving permit.
An ALS is not a criminal penalty, and it begins before your DUI case is resolved. An ALS goes into effect 45 days from the date of your arrest. For a first DUI, your license may be suspended for 90 days. However, if you are facing an ALS because you refused to submit to a breath test, then your suspension is for one year.
To fight an ALS, you must contact a DUI lawyer right away. You only have 10 days to ask for an administrative hearing and fight to keep your license.
After you are released from jail and your arraignment, the next step is a preliminary hearing, if you request one. This is similar to a mini-trial, where the judge will listen to the evidence and decide if there is sufficient evidence to support probable cause. If there is not probable cause you committed a DUI, the case will be dismissed.
If you waive your right to a preliminary hearing, or the judge finds there was probable cause, then the next step is pre-trial motions, plea negotiations, and finally, if the DUI charge is not resolved, trial.
You face jail time for a first-offense DUI, which is why it is important to work with an experienced DUI attorney from the very beginning.
A first-time DUI is an unclassified misdemeanor. If you are convicted and there are no aggravating circumstances, you face:
Depending on the circumstances and the judge’s discretion, you may be given the maximum DUI penalties available. However, that is not always the case, particularly in a first-time DUI case during which you are remorseful and take responsibility for your actions.
We will argue that you should not be jailed. Instead of incarceration, we may request probation, community service, house arrest, and/or electronic monitoring.
If you are convicted of a DUI, even for the first time, you face many collateral consequences. A DUI on your record and the loss of your driving privileges for months or over a year make it difficult to go to school or work. You may lose your job or be unable to sustain a job without reliable transportation.
A DUI is a criminal offense that can impact your child custody or visitation, immigration status, and ability to travel abroad. A DUI can make it difficult to visit Canada, Mexico, or other foreign countries for work or vacation.
When you are facing a DUI for the first time or for the first time in a long time, the best way to protect yourself is to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. At Alabama Criminal Lawyers, we will carefully review the evidence against you.
If mistakes occurred with your DUI testing or while you were in custody, we will fight to have improper evident or lab reports excluded. This may result in a dismissal. We will also go over your options with you, including how to protect your license, what we believe to be the best defense strategy or the best method of mitigating the consequences.