Birmingham DUI Attorney
Quality and Reliable DWI Defense in Vestavia Hills, Alabama
Most DUI arrests begin with a traffic stop after a few post-work drinks or a night on the town with friends. While an officer may begin with unassuming questions about how many drinks you’ve had, your answers may lead to a field sobriety test that could lead to arrest. In this situation, it is critical that you contact a Birmingham DUI lawyer to defense against your charge. Do not wait until your court date to hire a DUI attorney; Ingram Law, LLC can help you immediately.
When you work with Ingram Law, LLC, you can expect Attorney Joseph A. Ingram to help you through this overwhelming and often confusing experience. My firm fights hard for individuals who have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), going above and beyond to help them achieve favorable results. Ingram Law, LLC handles cases involving allegations of DWI or driving under the influence (DUI), from mere chemical test refusals to serious accidents.
What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence?
Alabama prohibits anyone from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle if they:
- have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more; or
- are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any impairing substance to a degree that renders them incapable of safely driving a vehicle.
Be aware that the BAC threshold is reduced to .04% if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle, and it’s unlawful for drivers who are under 21 years old to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more. A drunk driving offense based on BAC is commonly known as a “per se” DUI. In Alabama, though, note that a motorist can still be charged with a DUI even without actually driving or having the car in motion.
What is Alabama’s Implied Consent Law?
Alabama’s “implied consent” laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. Note that a driver is required to test only if they have been lawfully arrested for DUI, and the officer must have reasonable grounds to believe so in order to request a test. In any case, if the driver was placed under lawful arrest and refused to submit to the officer’s request for a test, their license will be immediately suspended for 90 days. This increases to 1 year if the person has refused testing within the last 5 years.
Field Sobriety Tests
There are a number of field sobriety tests an officer can administer, such as:
- “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test
- The Walk and Turn (WAT) test
- The One Leg Stand (OLS) test
Note that the test refusal suspension is separate from the criminal conviction and may be imposed even if the criminal charges are dismissed. Additionally, refusal of a requested chemical test may be used against the accused at trial as possible evidence of an unlawfully high BAC they are trying to hide.
Drivers who refuse testing are also required to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs), and the time period the driver must have the IID is longer than for non-refusal cases. For instance, a driver convicted of a first-offense DUI who wouldn’t normally be subject to a mandatory IID requirement will be subject to a 2-year IID requirement if they refused testing.
What are the Penalties for DWI in Alabama?
The penalties for DWI can be a combination of jail time and fines, depending on the number of prior offenses. The sentencing is as follows:
- First Offense – up to 1 year in jail; $600-$2,100 in fines; 90 days of license suspension; IID for 6 months (2 years with BAC of .15% or more, passenger under age 14, injury accident, or BAC test refusal)
- Second Offense – 5 days to 1 year in jail; $1,100-$5,100 in fines; 1-year license revocation; IID for 2 years (4 years with BAC of .15% or more or BAC test refusal)
- Third Offense – 60 days to 1 year in jail; $2,100-$10,100 in fines; 3-year license revocation; IID for 3 years (6 years with BAC of .15 or more or BAC test refusal)
Note that offenders under 21 years old aren’t subject to the same exact penalties above, but they will likely only incur a 30-day license suspension and substance abuse treatment.
In Alabama, a DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life; they cannot be expunged. However, a DUI will only stay on your driver's record for 5 years, meaning a second DUI conviction after 5 years could be treated as a first-time DUI.
Is a DUI a Felony in Alabama?
In Alabama, a DUI conviction is generally classified as a misdemeanor; however, in some circumstances, a DUI charge can be upgraded to a felony. A person convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense within five years faces felony charges; so does anyone convicted of driving under the influence with an underage passenger in the vehicle. If someone was injured or killed due to a drunk-driving incident, the driver might also be charged with a felony. It is essential for anyone charged with DUI in Alabama to seek legal counsel as soon as possible so that they can build the best defense possible and work towards avoiding more severe charges such as felonies.
Defending Against DWI Charges in AL
Common defenses against DUI charges are arguing:
- not under the influence of alcohol or drugs (medical condition that produced the same effect);
- challenge test results that are unreliable;
- simply poor or reckless driving;
- unlawfully arrested;
- police failed to follow proper procedures (inadmissible evidence).
Why Hire a Birmingham DUI Attorney?
Hiring a DUI defense lawyer is one of the best steps you can take after being arrested for a DUI. A qualified attorney will have experience in defending individuals charged with driving under the influence and will be able to provide you with valuable advice, support and counsel throughout your case.
Here are several benefits of hiring our Birmingham DUI attorney at Ingram Law, LLC:
- Experienced legal representation from an attorney who is knowledgeable about DUI laws.
- Guidance on the length of your court case, what to expect in court, and how to protect your rights during the proceedings.
- Assistance with finding a qualified expert witness or alcohol assessment specialist if necessary.
- Negotiation of plea bargains or reduced sentences when appropriate.
- Advice on whether you should appeal a conviction or sentence and help with organizing any appeals paperwork if you choose to do so.
- Knowledgeable insight into all aspects of the criminal justice system involved in a DUI case.
Ultimately, having our Birmingham DUI attorney by your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. They are an invaluable resource who will fight for your best interests in court and ensure that you get the best possible result from your legal proceedings.
No matter the circumstances of your situation, the Birmingham DUI lawyer at Ingram Law, LLC can fight to reduce the consequences you may face for conviction.
Attorney Ingram is a Former District Attorney and has a successful track record.
We are here for you. Attorney Ingram will travel to you.
Attorney Ingram is a proven trial attorney with years of experience.
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