Alabama lawmakers recently passed into law a bill that requires an ignition interlock device for repeat drunk drivers and some first-time offenders, NBC News reports.
As previous detailed by the Alabama DUI Lawyer Blog, our state was the only in the nation that didn't already have a law that would penalize drivers convicted of DUI by using an ignition interlock device.
Birmingham DUI Lawyers understand that DUI is a hot-button topic not just in Alabama, but nationwide. And politicians, judges and prosecutors are always trying to show voters they are tough on crime. That's why fighting even the first DUI charge someone faces is critical.
While Alabama House Bill 361 still requires Gov. Robert Bentley's signature; it is sure to go through. The law will require first-time DUI convicts with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or higher, if a child under 14 was in the vehicle or if someone other than the driver was injured, to install the devices on their vehicles. The legal limit in Alabama is .08. All repeat DUI offenders in Jefferson County and elsewhere in the state will have to install the devices.
The devices hook up to a vehicle and require the driver to blow into a tube and register a blood-alcohol level lower than the .08 limit. They work similarly to breathalyzer tests, which also register blood-alcohol levels based on a person's breath.
While organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Diving have applauded the politicians for their work, Birmingham DUI Lawyers see this as another reason for drivers to fight even a first-time DUI conviction. While the motive for passing this type of legislation is to attempt to save lives in drunk driving accidents, it also shows that this crime is so politically charged that the penalties will only get steeper in years to come.
Consider the possible penalties for a first-time DUI conviction, often for a person who has no prior criminal history:
$600 to $2,100 in fines
90-day driver's license suspension
DUI or substance abuse program
Up to 1 year in jail
Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
While many people may think these aren't tough penalties, the average person suffers plenty of consequences as the result of a drunk driving conviction. Time in jail can mean the loss of a job, stress inside the home and a damaged reputation. These are stiff penalties and they won't get lighter any time soon.
So, if you are arrested and charged with DUI, consult with an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer who has years experience fighting the many aspects of a drunk driving prosecution. Field sobriety testing, breathalyzer tests, the admissibility of blood testing and whether officers have the right in the first place as well as the training of the officer are all areas that can be challenged both before trial or before a jury of your peers.
If you or someone you know is arrested and needs to talk with a Birmingham DUI defense attorney, contact Eversole Law at 205-981-2450 for a free consultation.
Previous Blog Entries:
Alabama Lawmakers Likely to Pass Ignition Interlock Device Legislation: May 29, 2011
Newspapers Want Tougher Alabama DUI Laws; Strong Birmingham Drunk Driving Defense Crucial: May 21, 2011
Alabama Lags in Ignition Interlock Device Penalty for DUI, But It's Coming: May 13, 2011