DECATUR AND HUNTSVILLE DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Huntsville DUI Defense Lawyers
We can help you in Huntsville, Decatur and Athens, AL and the surrounding areas.
Have you been charged with DWI or driving under the influence? Did you know that since the 1980s, drunk driving has become less and less common in the United States. Drivers are considered to be alcohol impaired when their blood alcohol concentrations are .08 or higher. You can be prosecuted in one or two ways for DUI in Alabama. First, a DUI charge can be brought against someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means they allege you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and your physical or mental capabilities are impaired by an intoxicant. It relates to the driver’s impaired ability to drive a vehicle in Alabama. You can also be charged based on violation of Alabama’s per se laws, making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher. This type of drunk-driving charge can be brought whether or not the person is actually impaired.
When an Alabama police officer conducts a traffic stop and requests that the driver get out of the car, it is likely that the officer has reason to believe that the motorist may be intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Usually the officer says he smells alcohol on your breath or sees alcohol containers in your car. During this kind of traffic stop, a police officer may request that the driver submit to a preliminary breathalyzer test or field sobriety test. Drivers are not required to cooperate with such requests, but those who do should be warned that refusing a test could result in a DWI arrest. Refusing a breath test can also get your license suspended.
Many people believe that since a breath test will come back alcohol-free if they didn’t drink before driving, they shouldn’t worry about anything. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case. In truth, a number of things make a breath test come back positive for alcohol even though the individual being tested hasn’t had anything to drink.
Here are a few scenarios where a breath test could result in a false positive:
- Cinnamon buns, protein bars, and specific varieties of bread
fruit or vegetable fermentation
- spicy food
- Ripe or fermented fruit
- Macadamia nuts
- Dishes that incorporate alcoholic beverages
- reflux of acid
- Heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments
Breath tests are not always reliable. Field sobriety exams also entail the police officer delivering the test’s judgment. A movement that the examiner perceives as “off balance” or another low score may be be sufficient justification for a DWI arrest.
In Alabama driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08% or higher is illegal. If you are stopped by a police officer you can be arrested for DUI (driving under the influence). First, the police officer will need to determine whether or not you are under the influence by performing one or more of several field sobriety tests. Depending on the officer or department, the tests can range from a walk and turn test to a more extensive test such as a blood, breath or urine test. You can of course refuse to do the tests. Refusal to perform any of these tests when asked by the officer will most likely result in your immediate arrest and being booked in the city or county jail for DUI. A DUI charge and conviction can have dramatic affects on your future. A Decatur or Huntsville attorney (abogado) experienced in defending people charged with driving under the influence may be able to help keep you out of jail. We offer a no obligation, FREE CONSULTATION to all clients charged with a crime. Call 256-534-3435 or 256-350-7200. We are here to help.
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
•Imprisonment – Up to 1 year in municipal or county jail (no minimum mandatory sentence)
•Fine – $500 – $2,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)
•Mandatory – 90-day license suspension, DUI school attendance
•Imprisonment – 48 consecutive hours, up to 1 year, or not less than 20 days community service
•Fine – $1,000 – $5,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)
•Mandatory – Not less than 48 hours consecutive imprisonment, or community service of not less than 20 days
•DL Revocation – 1 year
Third Conviction Within 5 Years:
•Imprisonment – 60 days in municipal or county jail, up to 1 year
•Mandatory – 60-day imprisonment which cannot be probated or suspended
•Fine – $2,000 – $10,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)
•DL Revocation – 3 years
Fourth or Subsequent Conviction Within 5 Years – Class C Felony (§32-5A-191):
•Imprisonment – 1-10 years
•Fine – $4,000 – $10,000
•DL Revocation – 5 years
In addition to any of the penalties the Court’s may impose for a driving under the influence conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles will take administrative action against an individual’s driver’s license. These actions can include restrictions, suspensions, and revocations.
In 2019 there were 10,142 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in which at least one driver was alcohol-impaired. This totaled 28 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. Fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 5.3 percent (10,710 to 10,142 fatalities) from 2018 to 2019. That is an average of 1 alcohol-impaired- driving fatality every 52 minutes in 2019. The worst age group for fatalities related to DUI’s was the 21- to 24-year-olds.(27%) Males were four times more likely than females to get a DUI.
A number of states DUI rankings increased from 2019 to 2020. Most notably, Missouri jumped up 22 spots owing to a significant 68% increase in DUI arrests over the previous year. Idaho and Louisiana went up considerably in the ranking from 2019 to 2020, as both states experienced double-digit percentage increases in DUI arrests. At least half of U.S. states experienced a reduction in DUI arrests between 2018 and 2019. Most notably, seven states achieved remarkable double-digit percentage drops in their DUI arrests for the year. North Carolina experienced the most significant improvement, with a near 69% year-over-year reduction in DUI arrest rate. South Carolina, earned the second greatest reduction in DUI arrest rates between 2018 and 2019 (a 48% drop), which allowed it to drop from 8th to 12th in the overall ranking. Alabama and Georgia also reported double-digit percentage drops, although their crime data reporting represented a small fraction of their populations.(statistics from arrestrecords.com)
Why Hire Ferguson & Ferguson for Your DUI Case?
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ferguson & Ferguson are experienced in representing clients in any administrative hearings with the Department of Motor Vehicles, and understand that the protection of a driver’s license is often the most important part of representation in a DUI case. A DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor charge and can result in jail time, license suspension, and points on your driving record, fines, counseling and probation. At the Law Offices of Ferguson & Ferguson, we will fight for you and are determined to keep you out of jail. We will look at the facts surrounding your DUI charge and will question the allegations against you. Our attorneys will challenge any field sobriety tests administered and will use their education and knowledge of Alabama DUI laws to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
If you are in need of an experienced DUI defense attorney in Decatur or Huntsville, contact our firm immediately. We have offices conveniently located in downtown Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama. We understand all areas of criminal defense in Alabama and will use our over 45 years of combined experience to aggressively defend the charges against you. We may even be able to have the charges against you lowered or dropped completely. Call now. Call 256-534-3435 or 256-350-7200. We are here to help.
Huntsville Office Location:
303 Williams Avenue SW
Huntsville, AL 35801
Decatur Office Location:
211 Oak Street NE
Decatur, AL 35601