In Alabama, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities each year. Many drunk driving cases lead to DUI’s. You may be familiar with the terms DUI and DWI, but wondering what is the difference between the two? In reality, these are two very closely related criminal charges. Here is what you need to know.
It is called a DUI in Alabama
Driving Under the Influence (DUI), like Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired (DWI), is a criminal charge committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol, drugs or intoxicants or other kinds. It is well known that increased alcohol levels in the blood stream diminish mental acuity, reaction time and motor skills. This effect directly reduces the driver’s ability to control the vehicle safely. However, alcohol is not the only substance that causes these issues.
Some states have a broader definition
Nine states have enacted laws that address other types of driving impairments apart from drugs or alcohol. For example, in New Jersey, a driver that has been without sleep for 24 hours is considered to be driving recklessly, in the same class as an intoxicated driver. Similarly, in Arkansas, if a driver is involved in a fatal accident and has been without sleep for 24 consecutive hours, they can be charged with “fatigued driving,” which is a class A misdemeanor.
Penalties for DUI in Alabama
There are different possible sentences for a DUI conviction in Alabama depending on your criminal record. On the first conviction you can face up to one year in a county or municipal jail, however, there is no minimum mandatory jail sentence. For a second conviction you could face a minimum of 48 hours and up to one year in jail, plus community service. After four or more convictions, you can be charged with a Class C Felony with a sentence of 1 to 10 years.
Points will also be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you are convicted of a DUI in Alabama. The number of points assessed, depends on the severity of the offense and the number of prior convictions.
If you have questions regarding a DUI in Alabama, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.