Were You Arrested for a DUI in Birmingham, AL?
In Birmingham, AL, a DUI arrest is stressful, full of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.
If you are charged with DUI, you might wonder how it will affect your future and whether life will ever be the same again.
However, the right DUI lawyer from Birmingham, AL— one who emphasizes the clients’ needs and treats them like family—could ease the stress and alleviate some of the burdens you carry after a DUI arrest while building an aggressive and successful defense.
A DUI charge in Birmingham, AL, requires the undivided attention of a highly experienced and skilled Birmingham DUI attorney.
Even first-time offenders face the potential of going to jail, paying hefty fines, probation, driver license loss, and other sanctions. The severity of the penalties increases as the offenses become more severe.
Therefore, anyone arrested for DUI in Birmingham, AL, must contact a skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated Birmingham DUI lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest to ensure that their rights are protected.
DUI Law in Alabama
Section 32-5A-191 of the Code of Alabama indicates that a person is guilty of DUI when they are driving a vehicle or in physical control of a vehicle and either:
- Have a blood-alcohol level by weight of 0.08 or above;
- Are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage;
- Are under the influence of a controlled substance that impairs their ability to drive safely; or
- Are under the influence of any substance that impairs their ability to drive safely.
The prosecutor has the burden to prove every element of DUI in Alabama beyond a reasonable doubt.
DUI Penalties in Alabama
Section 32-5A-191 describes the crime of DUI and provides penalties for DUI convictions.
First DUI Offense
A person convicted of a first offense DUI in Alabama could face up to one year in the county jail, pay a fine between $600 and $2,100, or receive an incarcerated sentence and pay a fine.
The court will suspend the driver license of the first-time offender for 90 days. The person convicted of a first offense DUI in Alabama has the opportunity to avoid license loss by agreeing to install an ignition interlock.
Second DUI Offense
A person convicted of a second offense faces one year in jail.
However, the possible fine increases to a sum between $1,100 and $5,100, along with either a five-day minimum-mandatory jail term or community service for 30 days.
The mandatory license loss is for one year, and the person must install an ignition interlock device for up to two years.
Third Offense DUI
A conviction for a third offense DUI in Alabama still carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.
However, the court must impose a 60-day minimum-mandatory jail term along with a fine between $2,100 and $10,100. The court must suspend the offender’s driver license for three years.
Also, the person must use an ignition interlock device for three years after license reinstatement.
Fourth Offense or Greater DUI
A conviction for a fourth offense DUI in Alabama is a Class C felony.
The potential prison sentence is one to 10 years, and the offender may serve any incarcerated term for less than three years in the county jail. A judge must impose the minimum sentence of one year and one day.
However, the judge could order the offender to serve 10 days in the county jail and then suspend the remainder of the sentence for probation with house arrest and GPS monitoring.
Alabama DUI Defenses
Defenses in Birmingham, AL, DUI cases typically fall into pre-trial and trial categories.
Pre-trial defenses include arguing a motion to dismiss based on lack of evidence and motions to suppress based on a violation of the Constitution by the police.
The court must suppress all evidence seized by police if the police violated the accused’s right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures.
For example, stopping a car without just cause is grounds to suppress the stop and all of the evidence that the police collected after the stop.
Additionally, the Court must suppress all statements made by the person under arrest for DUI if the police did not give the person the Miranda warnings required by law.
A DUI lawyer in Birmingham, AL, can craft trial defenses that attack the weakness in the State’s case and build upon the theme that the government has failed to meet its burden to prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Common examples of trial defenses include:
- Attacking the validity of the chemical test results;
- Questioning the arresting officer about the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests; and
- Scrutinizing eye witness accounts to show the witness’s testimony is inaccurate.
Your attorney will consult with you about which defenses are likely to be most effective in your case.
Experienced, Compassionate Representation
Alabama DUI attorney Dagney Johnson places her clients’ interests first and fights aggressively to relieve the stress commonly associated with a Birmingham, AL DUI arrest.
Since 2002, Dagney has represented people charged with DUI and other crimes throughout the state of Alabama. Dagney and her family have been advocates for justice in Birmingham, AL, for over 40 years.