Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious violation. Still, every day, numerous people in Alabama face charges for this offense. If you found yourself facing DUI charges, the consequences of a possible conviction can be severe.
Before diving into the penalties that accompany DUI charges, let's go over what it takes for police to arrest you for this offense. If you are over the age of 21, the police may arrest you for driving under the influence if they find you have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. If you are under the age of 21, the BAC limit lowers to .02%. If you are a commercial truck driver, the BAC limit is .04%.
What are the possible penalties?
There are several potential penalties associated with DUI charges. Which may apply to your case depends primarily on the number of similar offenses you already have on your record. Typical penalties for DUI offenses in Alabama are:
- License suspension/revocation
- A court ordered treatment program
- Jail time
License suspension can last anywhere from 90 days to three years depending on the number of DUI offenses on your record. Your license may be permanently revoked if the court deems that you are a habitual offender. Alcohol treatment is typically ordered in most, if not all, cases. Finally, jail time is possible following any DUI offense. How long you might be behind bars depends on a number of factors.
Are there alternative sentencing options?
The state has something called the Alabama Court Referral Program. It is similar to other states' alcohol diversion programs. You may avoid certain penalties if you successfully complete the program in its entirety. There are four different levels of this addiction treatment program. They are simply known as:
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Youth and Juvenile
Levels 1, 2, and youth and juvenile are outpatient programs that consist of presentations regarding substance abuse and how to cope with addiction. Level 3 generally involves inpatient, or highly intensive outpatient, therapy.
How can you defend yourself?
If you face DUI charges, you can defend yourself, and you can have help doing it. A few defense strategies may work in your case. After a careful case review, you can plot a course of action and carry it out with the goal of achieving a case dismissal or, at least, minimizing potential penalties.