Alabama DUI Lawyer Blog for several months has detailed Alabama lawmakers' efforts to push through a law that mandates the use of ignition interlock devices in DUI convictions.
While it should be stressed that these devices are only required for people convicted of DUI, and only in certain circumstances, drivers in Alabama should be educated about how these devices work and what the law actually says. Birmingham DUI Lawyers will explain in this blog post what the new law says and how it affects you. DUI in Birmingham is a serious charge and requires an aggressive defense, especially as politicians continue to hammer people convicted of this charge.
First, let's consider the penalties already on the books for DUI:
$600 to $2,100 in fines
90-day driver's license suspension
DUI or substance abuse program
Up to 1 year in jail
Now add the additional penalty: installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.
These devices work similarly to breathalyzer testing in Alabama. They hook up to a vehicle's ignition and require the driver to blow into a tube before it will start. They register an estimation of the driver's blood-alcohol content level and if it's above a certain level, the vehicle won't start. Some devices require blowing several times per trip and some require scans or other forms to identify the driver as the person who has been sentenced. A failure will make the vehicle stop and, in some cases, won't start again until the device is re-programmed.
In Alabama, lawmakers recently made these devices a mandatory part of sentencing in certain circumstances. For instance, an ignition interlock device must be installed for two years after a 90-day suspension of the license for drivers:
First-time DUI conviction where the driver's blood-alcohol level was .15 or greater.
First-time DUI conviction where the driver injures someone.
First-time DUI conviction where the driver refuses to provide their blood-alcohol content or has a child under 14 in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, a second conviction requires the installation of the device for two years after restoration of the license and for three-time offenders, they would be required to drive with the device for three years. Subsequent convictions would require a five-year stint with the devices attached to their vehicle.
And what many people may not realize is how expensive these devices are. Installation costs can run about $350 and the monthly fee is somewhere around $75. Then, if a driver fails a test, the device must be reprogrammed, which can cost another $150. All told, the driver ends up spending somewhere around an additional $2,500 per year or $5,000 for a two-year sentence of the device. No wonder the ignition interlock device lobby has been so strong in Alabama the past few years as they have pushed to have this law passed!
It is more important than ever to fight this charge. A first-time offense can cause financial hardship and any subsequent convictions can lead to even more severe penalties. Fight this charge with everything you can. Trust in Birmingham DUI Lawyers.
If you or someone you know is arrested and needs to talk with a Birmingham DUI lawyer, contact Eversole Law at 205-981-2450 for a free consultation.
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