Frequently Asked Alabama DUI Questions

What is the Alabama DUI statute?

The Alabama DUI statue (may also be referred to as Alabama DUI law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Read the full Alabama code here.

What are Alabama DUI charges?

A DUI in Alabama can be charged as:

  • DUI – Illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration
  • DUI – Under the Influence of Alcohol
  • DUI – Under the Influence of Controlled Substance
  • DUI – Combined Influence of Alcohol and a Controlled Substance
  • DUI – Any Substance

Are DUI charges in Alabama classified as a misdemeanor or a felony?

Majority are charged as misdemeanor DUIs in Alabama.  A DUI results in an Alabama felony charge if it is the 4th DUI within 10 years.  A felony may also occur if a first time DUI causes an accident with serious bodily injury or death. A felony DUI in Alabama is categorized as a Class “C” felony.

What are Alabama DUI criminal penalties?

Alabama felony sentence guidelines for driving under the influence require jail time of a minimum of 1 year and 1 day and no more than 10 years.  A conviction may also include a fine of $4,100 to $10,100 and a suspension of your Alabama driver’s license for five years.  The installation of an ignition interlock device may also be mandated.  This is an electronic breath alcohol test machine that restricts a vehicle from being started or driven if any amount of blood alcohol is detected in a driver’s breath.

Alabama DUI misdemeanor sentences can require a maximum of one year jail time.  Judges more often than not will suspend jail time and sentence probation instead; which lasts around a year and has certain restrictions to abide by.  Violating any of the probation conditions may result in jail time.  If convicted of a first offense misdemeanor DUI, substance abuse evaluation is required.  Further treatment may result based on the evaluation and court discretion. In addition to court costs, fines may be $600 to $2,100.

What is BAC?

BAC is “blood alcohol concentration.”  It measures how much alcohol is in a person’s blood.  Law enforcement uses a driver’s blood alcohol concentration to measure whether a person is under the influence.  Individuals react differently to alcohol, but there is a correlation of a person’s BAC to the number of drinks they have had and impairment to drive.

Alabama’s blood alcohol concentration limit is .08% or more while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other impairing substances that make them incapable of driving a vehicle.  If driving a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit is reduced to .04% and for those under 21 years old is .02% or more.  A person’s BAC can be affected by gender, body type, weight, and amount of alcohol consumed.

What is a substance abuse evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation (or a drug and alcohol evaluation) assesses whether an individual’s alcohol or drug use is an issue.  If convicted of a first offense DUI in Alabama, an evaluation is mandatory.  A substance abuse counselor may deem additional treatment necessary and in that case it will be mandatory by the court as well.

Make sure that your substance abuse evaluation is administered by a state certified agency. 

If I am on prescription medicine, will I be charged with a DUI in Alabama?

Anything that impairs a person’s ability to drive can result in a driving under the influence charge.  Impaired driving can occur from over the counter medication, prescription medication, or illegal substances.  If you have taken enough of these drugs to be “under the influence” or “intoxicated” you can be charged with a DUI.  A DUI for drugs are measured by a blood test.

What are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

If pulled over for impaired driving, an Alabama Law enforcement officer may ask you to complete a field sobriety test.  You are not required to take the test and can refuse.  

If you do consent, there are three approved Alabama field sobriety tests (the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the one legged stand, and the walk and turn test).  Non-approved tests may include reciting the alphabet, counting on your fingers, being asked to touch your nose with your finger, and others that lack solid scientific credibility.  

How long does an Alabama DUI conviction stay on your record?

A DUI conviction in Alabama (unless for a juvenile) stays on your criminal record forever.

Are DUI roadblocks constitutional? 

According to the Supreme Court, Alabama DUI checkpoints are constitutional as long as they are not being held for the purpose of finding illegal drugs.  DUI checkpoints are are performed by police to detain you temporarily to check your license and registration and determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol.  

Can I plead “no contest” or “nolo contendre” to a DUI charge in Alabama?

No, Alabama law does not recognize a plea of solo contendre.  You can only plead “guilty” or “not guilty” to the offense.

If convicted of a DUI, can I get a temporary driver license?

In Alabama, a DUI offender cannot get a temporary driver license. 

Are there tougher standards for commercial driver license (CDL) holders?

Yes, CDL holders can be convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .04% (instead of .08%) if operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the incident.  They are also at risk of of an administrative hearing to “disqualify” the CDL for one year or even a lifetime.  A second DUI offense under Alabama Law, will automatically result in a CDL disqualification.