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DUI Penalties in Alabama

As noted below, the penalties DUI convictions can vary depending on how many previous felonies the defendant has committed or been charged with.  Specifically, the charge could either be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of other offenses committed by the defendant as well as the seriousness of the charges and the level of risk associated with them in terms of public health and benefit.  Among the various penalties in Alabama for such a violation include fines as well as prison sentences (both short and long term) as well as suspension of driving rights, often for a period of months or years.  Even after committing first offenses, drivers have the ability to apply for limited privilege licenses in order to drive for necessity, such as to school or work.

In addition to the penalties prescribed by the court system, there are additional bridges to cross in Alabama to acquire the privilege of driving once again.  When a defendant is convicted of driving under the influence, the state requires he show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an insurance policy meeting the minimum requirements of the state in terms of auto insurance.  A fee must also be paid to the DMV.

A first conviction for driving under the influence in Alabama is a misdemeanor and will result in license suspension for a period of 90 days.  In addition, the driver may face up to one year in prison depending on the gravity of the situation surrounding the arrest.  The driver will be forced to pay a fine of $600-$2,100 and must also enroll in an alcohol education or substance abuse program.  Passing the program is necessary for the driver’s license to be reinstated.

A second conviction within five years of the first offense is also a misdemeanor and will lead to a driver’s license suspension for a period of one year with no chance of retaining any driving privileges during that period.  A second offense will also result in jail time of up to one year, though the time served is typically much less and drivers can often substitute community service for the required jail time.  The fine for a second offense will be between $1,100-$5,100.  The driver must also submit to a substance abuse evaluation program.

A third conviction is also a misdemeanor and results in license revocation for a period of three years with no chance of obtaining a work only license.  The minimum jail time associated with this offense is 60 days, though such a conviction can result in up to one year in prison.  The fines range from $2,100-$10,100, and the driver will again be required to go to substance abuse evaluation programs.

A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within five years of the last conviction is a Class C felony in Alabama and results in license revocation for five years, and the jail time associated could be anywhere from one to ten years in prison.  The fines will range from $4,000-$10,000 depending on the circumstances of the situation and the discretion of the court.

Many states provide for harsher penalties for defendants with particularly high blood alcohol content at the time of the violation.  The enhancement penalties allow the court system to give a harsher penalty to a defendant who is extremely drunk, a repeat offender or who lacks remorse for their actions.  Such enhancement penalties serve the purpose of deterring reckless behavior and promoting public health at the same time.  Alabama currently is one of a small number of states to not have a sentence enhancement penalty for the charge of DUI.

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