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Coverage of Ignition-Interlock Debate shows Challenge Faced by Birmingham DUI Defendants

Posted by Steven Eversole | Apr 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

Ok. In a nutshell this is the mentality of 99 percent of the population when it comes to DUI in Birmingham and elsewhere in Alabama: “There was another move at the state capitol today could save the lives of innocent drivers who are at risk of being killed by a drunk driver.”

That was how ABC 31 News reported the drive by lawmakers to force those convicted of drunk driving in Alabama to install ignition interlock devices. This was not a column, mind you, which would permit opinion. This was the straight news story.

Birmingham drunk driving defense attorneys battle this same mentality in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion. Lawmakers will pass the tougher law. And ignition interlocks will no doubt be required for some or all of those convicted of DUI in the future. Regardless of the civil liberties questions. Regardless of the expense or whether or not they are effective in preventing drunk driving. When it comes to drunk driving, there is no backlash for politicians who want to show they are tough on crime by passing another needless slew of legislation.

In 1999, nearly 16,000 drivers were arrested for drunk driving in Alabama and 435 motorists were killed in accidents involving alcohol. In 2007, fewer than 13,000 were arrested and 444 people were killed in crashes attributed to alcohol. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that two-thirds of all fatal crashes in Alabama do not involve alcohol.

The truth of the matter is that fatal drunk driving crashes are at an all-time low nationwide. Yet law enforcement continues to emphasize making DUI arrests. The result in an increasing number of questionable or marginal arrests. Given the continued emphasis on increasing the penalties for a drunk driving conviction, it is more important than ever before to seek qualified legal representation and to fight to keep a DUI conviction off your record.

House Bill 276 and House Bill 361 would require repeat drunk driving offenders and first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level greater than .15, to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The devices force a driver to successfully test their breath for alcohol before a car will start. The proposed law would also require jail time for those caught driving with a revoked license.

The story went on to quote several members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which would also like to limit the discretion of judge's by forcing uniform sentencing measures.

No opposition from civil rights organizations or defense attorneys was included as part of the news story.


Birmingham Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Steven Eversole represents clients facing drunk driving and other serious criminal charges throughout the Birmingham area, including Vestavia Hills, Lake Purdy, and Forestdale. Call Toll Free 1-866-831-5292.

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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