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Alaska Criminal Law: An Overview

If you're facing a criminal charge, you should be aware of the consequences you may face and your rights under Alaska's criminal laws.

Use LawInfo's criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Alaska's laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with an Alaska criminal law attorney in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau or elsewhere in the state.

Alaska DUI Laws

Driving under the influence (DUI) of intoxicants like drugs, alcohol and medications is prohibited in Alaska for all drivers regardless of age. A DUI is a criminal offense that could result in administrative penalties, fines and imprisonment. The Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also revoke your driver's license.

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Alaska is 0.08 percent for drivers age 21 and older. Drivers under age 21 are subject to a zero-tolerance law, meaning any BAC level is illegal.

Penalties increase with repeat offenses and aggravating conditions, such as the involvement of a minor, property damage and the injury or death of passengers or other parties. Your first offense could result in having your license revoked for a minimum of 90 days, a $1,500 court fine and a minimum of three days' imprisonment. The Alaska DMV provides an itemized list of the consequences you could face for a DUI beyond these basic penalties.

Crime Classifications in Alaska

Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Like most states, Alaska has two main classifications of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more severe crimes than misdemeanors and typically carry heavier sentences.

In addition to misdemeanors and felonies, Alaska classifies offenses on both ends of the criminal spectrum. Violations are non-criminal offenses of the lowest severity such as traffic violations and public indecency. Some offenses are more severe than felonies. While these crimes aren't classified like violations, misdemeanors and felonies, they incur the most severe penalties according to state law. These crimes include:

  • First-degree and second-degree murder.
  • Attempted first-degree murder.
  • Solicitation to commit first-degree murder (i.e. contracted homicide).
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
  • Feticide (murder of an unborn child).
  • First-degree sexual assault.
  • First-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
  • First-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance such as narcotics.
  • First-degree sex trafficking.
  • Kidnapping.

Alaska Criminal Statute of Limitations

Not every criminal offense will hold a defendant liable for a lawsuit indefinitely. Alaska law places time limits called a statute of limitations on litigation against many types of criminal offenses. When a statute of limitation "runs out," a plaintiff may not pursue legal action against the specific offense.

Unclassified criminal offenses (those which Alaska consider the most severe) and specific class A and B sexual offense felonies generally do not possess statutes of limitations, meaning a lawsuit may be filed against them at any time. Specific violent felonies have a limitation of 10 years. All other felonies and misdemeanors have a limitation of five years.

Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified criminal defense lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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