In fact, the Department of Public Safety requires that first-time DUI offenders can get up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 and a mandatory three-month license suspension, accompanied by required attendance in DUI school.
For a second DUI conviction, an offender may face up to 1 year in jail (a minimum of two days), a $5,000 fine at least 20 days of community service and 1 year of license suspension.
Of course, that's all assuming no one was hurt as a result of the DUI.
That may not sound like much in comparison to other crimes, but when you are trying to earn a living and take care of your family, such restrictions can represent a huge roadblock in your life. That's why it's so important for Birmingham DUI offenders to fight the charges.
Having said all that, our Birmingham DUI defense lawyers were troubled by suggestions out of Mobile, following a fatal DUI accident there, that the state DUI laws be stiffened.
Here's what we know of that case, according to Fox 10 TV:
A young woman is facing DUI homicide charges in the death of her boyfriend, following an accident in which she reportedly admitted, on camera, that she had been drinking just prior to the wreck.
At issue was the fact that she had a former DUI arrest.
The district attorney in Mobile was quoted as saying that there has been an increasing number of DUI arrests and DUI injuries and deaths. This, he said, should be a foundation for lawmakers to act on calls for tougher penalties for first-time DUI offenders.
But let's stop a second and look at the real numbers (those that the reporter in this case didn't bother to actually look up).
State law enforcement officials peg the number of DUI arrests in Alabama at about 18,300 in 1995. That same year, there were 372 fatal accidents involving alcohol. Skip then to 2000. That year, there were about 13,700 DUI arrests in Alabama and 329 fatal accidents involving alcohol. Then in 2003, we saw about 14,300 DUI arrests and about 300 fatal accidents involving alcohol. Now let's look at 2007. There were 12,800 DUI arrests that year and 345 fatal accidents involving alcohol.
So what is really the trend here? We see that the number of DUI arrests has been dropping dramatically ever since 1995 – in fact, it's down by nearly 30 percent. As far as the fatal accidents, it's true they are up slightly from a few years ago, but they are actually down from 1995.
What this means is that the laws that we already have in place appear to be quite effective. Unnecessary laws are a waste of taxpayer time and energy, and will only end up hurting our state in the long run.
Do Not Plead Guilty. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Birminghamor in any of the surrounding areas, contact Eversole Law Offices for a free initial consultation. Call 866-831-5292.
DUI laws questioned after deadly crash, By Derica Williams, WALA Fox 10 TV