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DUI convictions in Alabama carry heavy consequences for repeat offenders

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There are a bunch of moving parts in DUI cases. The consequences are severe, even for first-time offenders, but repeat offenders see increased consequences in Alabama.

Huntsville defense attorney Erin Atkins told News 19 there was only one goal: deterrence.

“A lot of people know about driving under the influence of alcohol,” she said. “But with the rise of controlled substances, you can also be found guilty of driving under the influence of a substance.”

New methods of sobriety testing are being developed.

“It’s fairly new where they’re now starting to try to test for substances in the person’s system other than alcohol,” Atkins said. “You know, we’re used to the breathalyzer, it’s different.”

A first DUI is a misdemeanor.

Atkins said a first office cannot lead to jail time, but has other penalties.

“You know, if you’re technically convicted, you could be in jail for up to a year,” she said. “In most cases, you’re not going to see a jail sentence, but you’ll see a license suspended for 90 days. And you can consider a fine from $600 to around $2000. »

From this moment, a 10-year observation period begins.

“So if you had a DUI nine years and 11 months ago, and you have a second offense, your time is still running out, which would be considered a second offense and 10 years,” Atkins said.

A second impaired driving conviction increases the consequences.

With the second conviction, she said the consequences were starting to pile up.

“You’re looking at jail time up to about a year, you get mandatory jail time at that point for five days,” Atkins said. “The fine increases from $600 to $2,000. Now it’s between $1,000 and $5,000 and your license is suspended for a year at that point.

A third conviction?

Atkins said a third additional conviction carries longer mandatory jail sentences and even larger fines.

“You have a mandatory 60-day sentence to serve your sentence in prison,” she said. You get your license suspended for three years plus the ignition interlock device, and you risk up to $10,000 in fines.

To be clear, all DUI convictions result in an immobilizer being installed in your car for a period of time. This device requires the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before the car turns on.

After the third DUI in a 10-year period, any subsequent DUI becomes a Class C criminal offense.

Even underage drinkers are likely to be charged with impaired driving.

“A person under the age of 21 would be considered under the influence at a blood alcohol level of 0.02, while an adult is 0.08,” Atkins said. “So if you’re arrested under 21 and even blow a .01 or .02, that will be enough for a DUI conviction.”

More serious violations call for the harshest consequences.

If someone dies as a result of your driving under the influence, in Alabama you could be charged with DUI murder. A conviction carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

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