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Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Law in Alaska

Are there sentence enhancements for DUI in Alaska? If so, what are they and what are the enhancements?

Enhancements are additional facts the judge or prosecution may take into account when deciding sentencing. Additional penalties for prior convictions exist in Alaska: for instance the minimum jail sentence for a second offense is twenty days and a $3,000 fine. Further, some DUI offenses that would otherwise be classified as misdemeanors can be enhanced to felony offenses. Your third or subsequent DUI offense within ten years of your prior DUI is considered a Class C felony as opposed to a misdemeanor and carries harsher penalty-fines and jail sentences listed above. Also, any DUI offense after your first offense has penalties including ignition interlock device requirements and possible vehicle forfeiture.

Alaska has enhanced penalties for drivers with a particularly high blood-alcohol concentration. If your BAC was above 0.16% but less than 0.24% at the time of your arrest, the court will require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for a minimum of six months. If your BAC was 0.24% or greater, the court shall require that you install an IID for a minimum of one year after you regain driving privileges.

What are lawful/unlawful vehicle stops in the state?

The police are constantly looking for traffic and vehicle violations. These violations can include speeding, running a red light, changing lanes without signaling etc. Generally a police officer can stop a person if he is violating a traffic law, if he is suspected of being engaged in criminal activity, or to make an arrest for criminal activity. In DUI cases, a police officer can lawfully stop a motorist if the officer suspects that the motorist may be drunk or otherwise impaired. However, a police officer must have probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing to conduct a traffic stop. If the police officer has no probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing, this is not a lawful stop and this is one way to challenge a DUI charge.

Once pulled over, police officers may conduct field sobriety tests: the test observes a suspect’s attention level, balance and other factors that can be used to determine whether the suspect has been driving under the influence.

Again, the police must have probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing to conduct a traffic stop. If the police officer has no probable cause, this is not a lawful stop.

Can I be stopped and arrested for DUI even if the vehicle was not moving?

Yes, in Alaska, the prosecution need not show that the offender was actually driving the car at the time of the arrest. It is enough that you became impaired and subsequently placed yourself in a position to put the vehicle in motion

Do I have the right to talk to an attorney before I give a sample?

Yes, in Alaska, you may decline to submit to a chemical test at the station until you have spoken to an attorney.

Do I have to give a blood or urine sample?

Yes, blood and urine testing are appropriate when the police believe that you are under the influence of a controlled substance, and in DUI cases that involve serious bodily harm or death to another person. Due to Alaska’s implied consent law, you may not refuse a police officer’s request for a chemical test and a refusal is considered a misdemeanor offense.

Do I have to submit to a field sobriety test?

No, you do not have to submit to a field sobriety test. You may politely refuse an officer’s request.

Are there any additional penalties for DUI in Alaska?

In addition to the penalties listed above, if you are convicted of a DUI in Alaska, the court may require that while you are incarcerated or as a condition of your probation or parole, you take medication that is intended to prevent you from consuming alcohol.

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