Each year, thousands of Alabama drivers are arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). For most of these individuals, their DUI arrest is the first time they have even been on the wrong side of the law. As a result, many assume that having a clean criminal background will reduce the penalties they face for their DUI violation. However, being convicted of a 1st offense DUI in Alabama is no laughing matter.
If an officer suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she will probably ask you to perform a breath test in order to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Be aware that under Alabama’s Implied Consent Law, you are legally obligated to comply with this request. Refusing to submit to a breath test, or any other type of chemical testing (urine and blood tests, for example) is a separate offense in and of itself. In some cases, you may even face harsher penalties for refusing to take the test than for failing it.
Although first-time DUI offenders are typically given lighter sentences than repeat offenders (anyone who has been convicted of DUI in the past five years), the penalties for a 1st offense are nonetheless severe. Immediately after you are arrested for DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will issue a 90-day license suspension—and if you are convicted in criminal court, that suspension could be even longer.
Losing your driver’s license is not the only consequence you may face if you are convicted of DUI. As a misdemeanor crime, the punishment for a 1st DUI offense can include fines ranging from $600 to $2,100, mandatory substance abuse treatment, probation, and even a one-year jail sentence.
What’s more, the long-term effects of a DUI conviction will continue to follow you long after your sentence has been served. Employers, potential housing providers, and anyone who conducts a background check will see that you were found guilty of driving under the influence—a fact that can seriously jeopardize your future opportunities.
You can also expect to have difficulties obtaining affordable auto insurance, since most companies will label you a “high-risk driver” due to your conviction—and in turn, charge far higher rates for coverage.
Fortunately, the Whitney B. Polson DUI Defense Office is here to help you avoid the life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction. As an exclusive DUI defense firm, we have in-depth knowledge of Alabama’s complex DUI laws, and our team of skilled trial attorneys can use this expertise to challenge the charges against you.
Put our skill to work for you. Submit your case online today to receive a free, no-obligation evaluation from one of our skilled DUI defense attorneys.