DUI Lawyer in Dothan, Alabama
Increasingly, law enforcement is cracking down on the practice of driving after you’ve had a few drinks. Even just a glass of wine with dinner.
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is above 0.08%, you are considered legally intoxicated. You may not feel impaired, but we are living in times of heightened awareness of the effects of alcohol on driving.
Just one drink an hour can raise your BAC and even if it is not 0.08% you can be charged if your BAC is elevated at all. Women are especially susceptible to having an elevated BAC after drinking because of their smaller body mass.
A DUI charge can also be imposed on a driver of a truck, motorcycle, or commercial vehicle.
Getting arrested and charged with DUI is never a good outcome. It is especially problematic if you are out of state.
If you are pulled over, Florida will require you to submit to some form of chemical test to determine if you are driving under the influence or DUI. The implied consent laws essentially require you to submit to these tests which may include a Breathalyzer or urine test.
If you refuse to submit to the test you can lose your license for up to one year. The penalties for refusing are often higher than a positive DUI result.
Whether you are in Florida or Alabama, the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration is the legal limit for intoxication.
If you are under the age of 21, whether in Florida or Alabama, zero tolerance law applies. It is illegal in either state for someone who is underage to purchase and use alcohol and drive. It is a criminal offense even if there is a small amount of alcohol in your system, such as a glass of wine with dinner.
The federal law was imposed in 1995 to cut down on driver deaths for those under the age of 21 and a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) study found a 20% drop in single-car nighttime crashes among the first dozen states to impose zero tolerance on young drivers.
If you are charged with DUI in Florida and you live in Alabama, the state of Alabama will find out about it. That is because Florida and Alabama share an interstate driver’s license compact concerning traffic violations.
The compact was enacted to treat your license as if there were one record, no matter where the traffic offense occurred. So if you get a driver’s license suspension in one state the other must suspend your license as well.
Additionally, if your license is suspended, that is reported to the National Driver Registry, which all states have access to. You may not be able to receive a license again in another state. And your auto insurance is likely to go much higher after a DUI conviction.
Florida DUI Law
In Florida, there are approximately 54,000 DUI arrests made annually.
For a first time DUI offense in Florida, a conviction could bring you up to six months in jail and cost as much as $1,000. You also may lose your license up to six months.
If you test higher than 0.15 BAC, the state requires you install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. This requires you to breath into the device before you can start your car.
If you register 0.025 BAC or above, you cannot start your car.
If you are ordered to appear before a judge, you will need to hire an attorney to proceed with the case. Please do not appear before the judge without representation.
By the third DUI offense in Florida you are charged with a Third-Degree Felony, which requires up to 12 months in jail and revocation of your driver’s license if you had previous DUI’s within 10 years.
You must perform monthly reporting to a probation officer for up to a year.
Smith & McGhee is licensed to practice law in Alabama and Florida and we can provide a strong defense for your Florida DUI case.
Alabama DUI Law
In Florida, the state Department of Motor Vehicles cannot take your license if you are arrested for DUI. You can be facing fines, jail time and other punishment. You may lose your right to drive in Florida.
And once you return to Alabama, you can face similar punishments. That means you also may be punished under Alabama law.
Alabama law for a first time DUI offense imposes a fine of $600 to $2,100 and imprisonment of no more than a year in jail.
You may have your license suspended for 90 days and the ignition interlock device will be installed if your DUI was for a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
You must also complete a DUI court referral program before you can have your driver’s license reissued.
For a second offense the fines increase to up to $5,100, you lose your license for a year and have the interlock device installed for two years.
Alabama considers a third DUI offense a misdemeanor with increased fines and imprisonment of up to one year. The license goes away for three years, and the interlock is device installed up to three years.
Finally, the fourth DUI offense is considered a Class C Felony and fines increase up to $10,000 and you can be put in prison up to ten years. The driver’s license can be revoked for five years as well as the interlock device installed for five years.
Call Smith & McGhee for Skilled DUI Defense in Florida and Alabama
Regardless of where you are charged for DUI, you need to understand your rights and the penalties you are facing. It may mean you can no longer rely on your own independent transportation to take you to work and that can have a long-term consequence on your financial well-being.
If you have been arrested for DUI, there is no time to waste. Call our office at 334-377-1674 for a consultation to discuss your case and determine your best legal options.