If you are facing a driving under the influence criminal charge then there are a few things you should know about Alabama DUI laws. In September, 2011 the DUI law was changed by the legislature. The new law makes the potential punishment for a DUI much more expensive and carries more potential jail time.
First, the legislature made an important distinction between the amount of alcohol in your body at the time you are arrested. Specifically, if your blood alcohol content is .15 or above, then the fine and jail sentence are doubled. This is a mandatory provision which means that if you plead guilty or are convicted after a trial then the court must impose double the minimum punishment. This is an important provision because normally on a first offense DUI, meaning your first arrest for DUI within a five-year period, the minimum fine is $600.00. However, with the recent change in the law if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .15 or above then the minimum fine essentially increases to $1,200.00. That is a drastic increase of an already expensive fine. It also doubles the potential jail time that you may be ordered to serve as well.
There are also some additional circumstances that could cause the increase, such as having a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. It is obvious from this increase that you need to seek legal counsel if you are arrested for a DUI. Other then the increase in fines, there are additional conditions in any DUI sentence that can affect your ability to keep your job, support your family, and be able to pay your bills.
I am often asked if an attorney is needed on a 1st DUI, and my answer is always a resounding Yes. You wouldn’t conduct surgery on yourself, or design the plane you were going to fly in, so why would you represent yourself on a criminal charge that can have such a significant impact on your life? Hiring an attorney that is knowledgeable and experienced with handling DUI cases is like making an investment. Although there is no guarantee of results in any case, a qualified attorney may be able to help you minimize the potential punishment, mitigate the impact on your livelihood, and possibly get the case dismissed or an acquittal if a trial is necessary and there are favorable legal problems with your case. There are options available to you, so before you plead guilty you need to seek the advice of an attorney.