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While no one wants to endanger another's life intentionally by driving under the influence, DUI defendants in Alabama do have some legal options available to them. A good initial strategy is to become familiar with the specific DUI laws in Alabama, either before taking the wheel while drinking or immediately following an arrest for drunk driving. This way, defendants will always know what they must face in creating a successful defense.
As in all American states, DUI is a serious offense in Alabama, resulting in some of the harshest penalties dispensed by the nation's justice system. Learning about these laws can often stop a DUI before it occurs and at the very least lets all involved parties know exactly where they stand. Here are the current DUI penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction in the state of Alabama:
A first conviction means a mandatory driver's license suspension for 90 days as well as attending DUI school. Defendants who are convicted may also incur a fine of between $500 and $2,000. Alabama has no mandatory jail sentence for a first conviction, but under some circumstances, defendants could receive a sentence of up to a year in jail.
As one might expect, a second DUI conviction has more severe penalties including a jail term of not less than 48 hours but no more than one year. Alternatively, some second offense defendants might receive a community service sentence instead of a lengthy jail term. A second conviction also means a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 as well as a one year driver's license revocation.
For a third conviction within a five year period, defendants can expect even more severe penalties. These include a mandatory 60 day jail term without chance of sentence suspension or probation. This jail sentence could be extended for up to one year. Those convicted must also pay a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000 and have their driver's licenses revoked for three years.
For four or more additional arrests within five years, defendants may be charged with a Class C felony. If convicted, the penalties include revocation of driver's license for five years, fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for one to five years.
Fortunately, those arrested for drunk driving in Alabama have a real chance of escaping the harshest penalties by avoiding a conviction for DUI altogether. In almost every instance, it is impossible to beat a conviction without professional assistance from an attorney who knows how to handle DUI cases. He or she can investigate the circumstances behind the blood alcohol testing and subsequent arrest to ensure no one's rights were violated. Even when avoiding conviction is impossible, a skilled attorney practicing in the state of Alabama can make a solid argument for the defendant, in many cases resulting in reduced DUI penalties whenever possible.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.