Huntsville DUI Defense Lawyer

We can help you in Huntsville, Decatur, 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 a 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
  • Bread
  • 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 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 and older 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 daycare drivers are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is greater than 0.02.

Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is.02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Alabama

First Conviction:

•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

Second Conviction:

•Imprisonment 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 Imprisonment: 1–10 years
•Fine: $4,000 – $10,000
• DL Revocation: 5 years

In addition to any of the penalties the Court 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.

Can you get a jury trial in Huntsville Municipal Court?

In Huntsville Municipal Court, when facing a DUI charge, a jury trial is not possible. Instead of the traditional jury trials seen in other courts, Huntsville Municipal Court conducts what is known as “bench” trials. In a bench trial, the judge takes on the role typically performed by a jury in determining the facts of the case. The judge acts as the “finder of fact,” examining the evidence presented and making a decision based on whether the evidence establishes the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

What are the potential penalties for refusing to take a DUI tests after being arrested in Alabama?

Refusing to take DUI tests after being arrested can lead to potential penalties such as an administrative suspension of driving privileges by the Department of Public Safety. This suspension typically goes into effect 45 days following the arrest. To address this consequence, individuals may seek assistance from a Huntsville criminal defense lawyer who can work towards restoring their driving privileges or reducing the length of the suspension period. It is crucial to take prompt action following the arrest to mitigate the potential penalties associated with refusing to take DUI tests.

Is a DUI conviction in Huntsville Municipal Court a felony or misdemeanor?

According to the information available, DUI convictions in Huntsville Municipal Court are typically treated as misdemeanors rather than felonies. Offenders found guilty of DUI in this court usually receive sentences that are either suspended or shorter than the maximum allowed by law. As each DUI case is unique, individuals who have been convicted of DUI in Huntsville Municipal Court are advised to seek guidance from a DUI defense lawyer to obtain further information on the potential penalties specific to their case.

What are the driving under the influence laws in Alabama?

In Alabama, the laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI) primarily focus on the blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels permitted while operating a vehicle. Under Huntsville law and statewide regulations, it is illegal to drive with a BAC level that exceeds 0.08%. It’s important to note that the BAC threshold can vary based on the individual’s weight, size, the type and amount of alcohol consumed, duration of drinking, speed of consumption, metabolism rate, and other influencing factors.

Additionally, Alabama law makes it illegal to drive “under the influence of alcohol,” which is a more subjective standard that relies on prosecutorial judgment to determine impairment. The law also prohibits driving under the influence of controlled substances or other substances to the extent that an individual is unable to drive safely.

Special conditions apply to certain drivers. For individuals younger than 21 years old, the legal drinking age, or those operating school buses or daycare vehicles, the maximum allowable BAC is lower at 0.02%. Similarly, commercial vehicle operators, such as drivers of 18-wheelers, are subject to stricter standards, with a BAC limit of 0.04%.

Overall, Alabama’s DUI laws cover a broad range of scenarios related to alcohol and substance impairment while driving, with specific thresholds and provisions tailored to different driver categories and circumstances.

How do I choose a DUI lawyer?
You should consider the following when hiring a DUI attorney in Huntsville and Decatur:. Make sure to do the following:

  • Look for local attorneys experienced in DUI’s
  • Ask for referrals from family and friends
  • Check the internet for real reviews, not fake reviews done by attorneys and their staff
  • Have consultations with different lawyers (many offer free consultations).
  • Don’t pay a higher fee for one attorney and end up being passed off to someone else with less experience. If the lawyer does not return calls themselves, run to another attorney. Don’t hire television or billboard attorneys who deal in mass. Make sure you have met the attorney who is handling the case before court.
  • Discuss billing options. Just because the attorney is older does not mean they are better. Shop around.

DUI Statistics

In 2023, there were 10,000 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 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 the 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 the 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 Alabama 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, 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 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, Alabama, 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 60 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
Suite 321
Huntsville, AL 35801

Decatur Office Location:
211 Oak Street, NE
Decatur, AL 35601