What Should I Do If I’m Pulled Over for a DUI in Alabama?
Being stopped for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a scary and confusing experience. It’s important to know your rights as an Alabama motorist before you get behind the wheel, especially because of the consequences of a DUI conviction.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency constructed a table of DUI conviction penalties. This table shows the increasing penalties for the first conviction for DUI to the fourth and subsequent convictions for DUI. Unlike other states, Alabama does not directly link certain blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to a conviction or penalty. However, having a very high BAC (0.16 or higher), or other reckless behaviors such as going 30 miles higher than the speed limit, can make a DUI, which is usually a misdemeanor charge, into a felony charge. Note that a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction is a felony charge:
DUI Convictions – Violation Penalties
- First Conviction – Up to 1 year in municipal or county jail (no minimum mandatory sentence), $500 – $2,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund. 90 day license suspension, DUI school attendance
- Second Conviction – 48 consecutive hours, up to 1 year, or not less than 20 days community service, $1000 – $5,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund, Not less than 48 hours consecutive imprisonment, or community service of not less than 20 days, Drivers’ License revocation 1 year
- Third Conviction Within 5 Years – 60 days in municipal or county jail up to 1 year, $2000 – $10,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund 60 day imprisonment which cannot be probated or suspended, Drivers’ License Revocation 3 years
- Fourth or Subsequent Conviction Within 5 Years (Class C Felony) – 1 to 10 years, $4000 – $10,000 and Drivers’ License revocation 5 years.
A DUI conviction can dramatically alter your life in other ways including:
- Job loss
- Higher insurance rates
- Required medical examinations before you’re allowed to drive again
With all these consequences in mind, it’s important to know what to do when you are pulled over for a DUI. The following steps and tips could reduce the chances of a DUI conviction.
- Don’t panic. Seeing those flashing lights in your rearview mirror can put you in panic mode, so take a few deep breaths and remain calm.
- Pleasantly cooperate with the police officer. You may be upset with getting pulled over, but being surly or otherwise rude can be seen as a form of intoxication, and can be enough justification to take you to jail immediately.
- Say enough—don’t overshare. Only answer questions with the information requested. You may be asked your name and date of birth, which are fine to answer.
- You can refuse a field sobriety test. According to Alabama’s implied consent law, you can refuse a field sobriety test without penalty (i.e. walking and turning, standing on one leg).
- Refusing a chemical test will result in a license suspension.Again, according to Alabama’s implied consent law, if you are a motorist on a public road, and a police officer suspects reckless driving due to intoxication, you must take a chemical test (i.e., a blood, breath, or urine test). If you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days for the first refusal, and a year’s suspension for the second and third refusals.
- Do not plead guilty if you are arrested. It’s important to contact an experienced DUI attorney quickly, since you have 10 days from your arrest to take legal action in order to keep your license, or otherwise you will face an automatic suspension.
If you are facing a DUI charge, please contact the experienced DUI attorney at The Law Office of Ginger Poynter, LLC for a free consultation right away. Contact our office at (251) 445-8313 or online. We will examine the details of your case, of how your field sobriety test and/or chemical test were handled, and look at your best options for beating this charge.