Statistically, driving under the influence increases someone’s risk of getting into a crash. In fact, alcohol plays a role in so many crashes that leave people hurt and dead that it is one of the biggest contributing factors to road fatalities both here in Alabama and across the nation. About one in every three deadly crashes involves alcohol, and Alabama has higher fatality rates than the national average.
Placing a limit on how much alcohol someone can have in their bloodstream while driving is one way to help protect the public from the risk that drunk driving creates. If a police officer pulls you over and decides through chemical testing or a field sobriety test that you have had too much to drink, they will arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI).
What penalties will you face as a consequence of a drunk driving charge?
Alabama applies multiple penalties to DUI offenses
There are numerous penalties associated with a DUI conviction or guilty plea in Alabama. Some people will have to spend time in jail. Most everyone will pay fines. There is also a mandatory license suspension that goes along with impaired driving convictions.
Your driving record for the last 10 years has a direct relation to the consequences you face. Multiple previous DUI convictions will increase the penalties. Other factors can also increase the severity of your charge. Driving these children in the vehicle, have a very high alcohol level, or causing injury or property damage can increase the charges and penalties involved.
A first DUI with no aggravating factors is a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail, $2,100 in fines and the loss of their license for 90 days. Compare that to a third offense, which has a 60-day minimum sentence, fines of up to $10,100 and three years without a license. If there’s a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, the sentence could double.
DUI charges are not just open-and-shut cases
Far too many innocent people wrongly accused of drunk driving plead guilty because they don’t think they have a chance of defending themselves. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, roadside chemical testing is not infallible. Neither are the laboratories that process samples or the officers conducting field sobriety tests.
There may be multiple ways for you to defend yourself depending on what happened during the arrest and what evidence the state has against you. Rather than accepting the consequences of a DUI, you may want to consider fighting back to avoid them.