Believe it or not, Birmingham was named one of the top spring break vacation destinations this year.
Granted, the livability list was made with more family-oriented trips in mind (we ranked No. 6). Still, our Birmingham DUI lawyers know that every year, spring break celebrations – whether with family or friends – inevitably lead to an uptick in DUI arrests.
Sure, people may be a bit more relaxed and having a few more drinks than they would otherwise. But the increase in arrests is also in no small part due to the enhanced law enforcement presence. Happens every year, and this will be no different.
The Alabama Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force announced that officers plan to enact roving patrols as tens of thousands of vacationers descend on gulf coast cities throughout this month and early into the next.
Primarily, they'll be hunting drunk drivers.
So the old saying about what happens on spring break staying there won't be true for those unfortunate folks who are arrested for a DUI.
Out-of-towners should know that like all other states, it's illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Alabama if your blood alcohol level is at 0.08 percent or higher, perAlabama Code Section 32-5A-191. Likewise under that same statute, it's illegal to drive under the influence of a controlled substance that may render you incapable of safely driving. That's a subjective determination, but it includes even medication that you may be prescribed. If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol level measures at just 0.02 percent. Depending on your size and weight, that can be a very small amount.
If you are from out-of-state and you are arrested for DUI while on spring break vacation in Birmingham, you will need to contact an attorney before you leave the state, to be sure you will be kept apprised of any court dates and future obligations. Meeting with the attorney while you're still in town may give you a better chance of fighting the charge.
As you are gearing up for your spring break vacation, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind:
—The legal drinking age in Alabama is 21. If you are arrested for underage possession of consumption of alcohol, you may be fined $100 and face up to a month in jail. However, if you use a phony ID to illegally purchase alcohol, you could face up to a $500 fine and three months in jail and a license suspension of between 3 and 6 months.
—In Alabama, possession of an open alcohol beverage in a motor vehicle is against the law, which could result in a Class C misdemeanor charge, Per Alabama Code Section 32-5A-330. Drinking from an open container in public is also against the law, and will result in a $50 fine.
Keep in mind that a taxi is almost always a cheaper option. Better yet, if you know you're going to be drinking, plan ahead so that you have a designated driver. If you notice a friend or family member is about to drive drunk, take their keys.
If you do take powerful prescription medications, know whether you can also safely consume alcohol. Know too whether the combined effects of that plus alcohol may render you unable to safely operate a vehicle.
And if you are arrested, call us as soon possible and let us help you take care of it.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Birmingham, call Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
State law enforcement urges families to stay safe over spring break, March 7, 2013, By Kelsey Stein, AL.com
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Alabama DUI Charges Faced Down by School Official, Feb. 25, 2013, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog