Alabama Drunk Driving Laws
When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Alabama?
- Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater.
- School bus and day care drivers are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is greater than .02.
- Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Alabama
- First-time offenders face imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $600 to $2,100, or both. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days. First-time offenders are also required to attend a DUI or substance abuse program.
- A person who commits a second DUI within five years of the first offense faces imprisonment, which may include hard labor, for up to one year. The imprisonment sentence shall include a mandatory sentence, which is not subject to suspension or probation, of imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for not less than five days or community service for not less than 30 days. The fine ranges from $1,100 to $5,100. The driver’s license revocation period is one year.
- On a third conviction, the offender faces a prison term, which may include hard labor, of up to one year. The imprisonment sentence shall not be less than 60 days. The fine ranges from $2,100 to $10,100. The driver’s license revocation period is three years.
- On a fourth or subsequent conviction, the offender faces a prison term of one year and one day to 10 years. The fine ranges from $4,100 to $10,100. The driver’s license revocation period is five years.
- Other Drunk Driving Penalties
- What is Alabama’s Civil Damages Act?
- What is Alabama’s Dram Shop Act?
- What is Alabama’s “Open House Party” Statute?
- Ciminal Penalties for Selling Alcohol to Minors
Enhanced Penalty for Drunk Driving While a Child Under 14 was in the Vehicle
When a person 21 or older is convicted of drunk driving and a child under 14 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the offender will be sentenced to double the minimum criminal punishment that he or she would have received had the child not been in the car.
Enhanced Penalty for .15 BAC
When any convicted person is found to have had at least 0.15 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood while operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, he or she shall be sentenced to at least double the minimum punishment than the person would have received if he or she had had less than 0.15 percent by weight of alcohol in his or her blood.
In addition to other penalties that may be imposed under Alabama’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the offense was committed while the driver was operating a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification period is three years. If a commercial driver is convicted of a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.
School Bus and Day Care Drivers
In addition to other penalties that may be imposed under Alabama’s DUI laws, school bus and day care drivers who are convicted of DUI for the first time will receive an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.
Drivers Under 21
On a first violation, a minor whose blood alcohol level is between .02 and .08 will receive an automatic 30-day license suspension. The minor must also attend a DUI or substance abuse program. A minor who is found guilty of DUI will be required to pay the same fines as an adult offender.
What is Alabama’s Civil Damages Act?
Under Alabama law, parents can sue a person who sells alcohol to their child if that person knew the child was under 21 at the time of the sale and if alcohol played a role in causing the child’s injury. The Alabama legislature designed this law to deter the sale of alcohol to minors. The law places the burden on sellers of alcoholic beverages to determine that purchasers are not minors. If a seller doesn’t carry that burden, the law permits a jury to assess damages as it sees fit.
Only one action may be commenced for each offense under this section.
What is Alabama’s Dram Shop Act?
This law creates a civil action against owners of drinking establishments that provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons who later cause injury to another person because of their intoxication. Alabama’s Dram Shop Act permits suit to be brought by the injured person or by the injured person’s spouse, child, or parent.
What is Alabama’s “Open House Party” Statute?
Under Alabama law, it is a crime for an adult to allow an “open house party” at his or her residence where alcohol is consumed by persons under 21. A violation of this law is punishable by up to six months in prison, which may include hard labor, and/or a fine of up to $3,000.
Criminal Penalties for Selling Alcohol to Minors
It is a crime for a licensed drinking establishment to sell alcohol to a minor. A first-time offender faces up to six months in jail, which may include hard labor, and a fine of $100 to $1,000. A second-time offender will serve three to six months in prison and be fined $100 to $1,000. On a third conviction, the offender will serve six to 12 months in prison and be fined $100 to $1,000.
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