You swear you only had a couple of drinks and that your blood alcohol content was nowhere near the legal limit of .08 percent when police pulled you over and administered roadside sobriety tests. While this may be true, in Alabama, you could still face serious penalties if police determine that you were unfit to drive, even if your BAC was well below the limit.
Permission you may not remember giving
Chances are, if you were unable to successfully perform the sobriety tests police administered, officers asked you to submit to a chemical test to determine the exact level of alcohol in your blood. If you refused, you may already have lost your license for 90 days. That’s because Alabama is an implied consent state.
This means that when you signed your name to receive your new driver’s license, you also agreed to submit to BAC testing in the event you are suspected of driving drunk. You may refuse a blood test, but that means police will test either your breath or your urine to measure your BAC. They may also request a court order to draw your blood.
Harsh penalties for drunk driving
Your DUI arrest makes you susceptible to two kinds of penalties: administrative and criminal. Administrative penalties usually involve the suspension of your license. Depending on how often in the past you have been convicted of driving under the influence, your license may be suspended for 90 days up to five years if your BAC is at or above the legal limit. This penalty may be imposed before the court hears your criminal charges.
When the criminal trial takes place, you may face any of the following consequences if you are convicted:
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Months or years in jail
- Community service
- Participation in DUI classes
- Additional suspension of your license
These sentences increase in severity with each subsequent conviction. They also may be more severe if your BAC is .15 or higher, if someone was injured as a result of you driving while intoxicated or if you have a child in the vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest.
Protecting your rights and your future
Courts in Alabama do not take DUIs lightly, and the high number of injuries and deaths involving drunk drivers compels them to seek the stiffest penalties. Those penalties may send your life in a direction you never anticipated. Losing your license and spending time in jail may jeopardize your job, your family and your future.
This is why it is crucial to have a strong defense. A DUI attorney with experience in Alabama courts will know how to navigate the complex and severe laws regarding suspected drunk drivers. Having an attorney on your side will prove invaluable for the protection of your future.