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Benzodiazepines a Top Cause of Alabama DUI Arrests

Two years ago, Benzodiazepines unseated marijuana as the No. 2 substance cited in Alabama DUI arrests, according to AL.com.  It was at that time that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported 29 percent of DUI arrests involve alprazolam, the generic term for the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. That is compared to 23 percent of Alabama DUI arrests made for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. These types of arrests have only continued to climb, as the use and abuse of prescription drugs has become increasingly prevalent. Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are a class of drug that depresses the central nervous system. Today, the drug continues to cause problems for drivers. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration details this class of drugs may ...

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Can Ignition Interlock Devices Effectively Prevent DUIs in Birmingham, AL?

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are machines installed in vehicles as a requirement for certain drunk driving offenders. Every state in the U.S. mandates the use of IIDs in at least some circumstances following conviction for impaired driving.  The devices force a motorist to test his breath-alcohol concentration before starting a car.  Ignition interlock devices must be paid for by the offender who is required to install the device as part of his penalties for a drunk driving conviction.  All motorists who use the car will end up having to test their BAC before starting to drive, simply because that's the way these systems work. Installing an ignition interlock device can be expensive and having the device installed on your vehicle can be embarrassing. Avoiding ...

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First DUI Risks During Spring Break in Alabama

The Official Travel Site of Alabama encourages you to "pack the car and head down I-65, U.S. Hwy. 231 or across I-10 and down to Alabama's beautiful white sand beaches." There are 32 miles of white sand beaches that visitors can enjoy, and beach communities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores provide plenty of recreational opportunities for people of all ages.  Many of the visitors to these beach communities are college students or young adults who want to take a break from the pressures of school in order to enjoy life. Enjoying life often takes the form of consuming alcohol. Drinking on spring break is a pastime enjoyed by many generations of college students. It can also put you at risk of arrest for ...

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DUI Charges Could End a Commercial Driver's Career

If you are a commercial driver, you need to be aware that you are not allowed to operate your commercial vehicle after having consumed even a small amount of alcohol at all. You are also going to be at risk of losing your commercial driver's license if you get a DUI charge, even in your personal car on your off-time.  Not only that, but companies will be very reluctant to hire you if you have a DUI on your record.  For all of these reasons, a DUI will likely end you career as a commercial driver.  You worked too hard to get your commercial license and develop your professional skills to lose the chance to make your living as a professional driver just ...

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When Are Ignition Interlock Devices Required After a Birmingham DUI?

An ignition interlock device is a device installed in a vehicle which prevents the car from operating until the driver has submitted to an in-vehicle breathalyzer test. There are strict rules for ignition interlock devices, many of which are outlined in Alabama Statute section 32-5A-191.4.  Those who must have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles are required to pay for the devices and the law prohibits anyone from blowing into the device for the driver.  Ignition interlock devices can be costly, are burdensome to use, and may not have any long-term impact on actually reducing drunk driving. Despite this, Alabama.com reported the state of Alabama went "all-in" on ignition interlock devices. If you fit the criteria set forth by law, you will ...

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Drugged Driving Risks and Consequences for Birmingham

Police have long been aggressive in prosecuting drunk drivers because of widespread public concern regarding the dangers of DUI. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups have succeeded in stigmatizing drunk driving to the point where harsh penalties are often called for by the public for impaired driving. Now, it is looking likely that there is a coming crackdown on drugged driving as well.  USA Today reported recently that a "spate of drugged driving deaths alarms U.S. regulators." As the news reports on the "alarming" increase in drugged drivers, however, it is important to remember that the actual level of impairment caused by use of some substances, like cannabis, is not necessarily clear. Still, because of the fact regulators indicate a substantial ...

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Avoid Birmingham DUIs During Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is a time for fun with friends and family. Often, it is also a time for drinking. Police are aware of this, as are auto safety experts. In fact, Alabama.com published an article before Thanksgiving in which the best approach to "cracking down" on drunk drivers was debated. The article argued that while checkpoints are frequently used to fight impaired driving, roving patrols of law enforcement officers may be more effective.  While there may be disagreement over the best approach for police to take to catch impaired drivers, there is one thing that is not up for debate: more people will be driving drunk over Thanksgiving and police will be doing their best to arrest them if they drive impaired. You don't ...

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Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Birmingham?

In Alabama, if you are stopped by police and are suspected of intoxicated driving, law enforcement officers may ask you to take a field sobriety test. There are a standard battery of three tests which are generally accepted as appropriate field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test; the one-legged stand; and the walk-and-turn. These tests have been around since the 1970s and are approved by the Alabama Department of Forensic Science. They are called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, or SFSTs for short.   If you are asked to take these tests, it is important to realize you do NOT have to take them. While Alabama has an implied consent laws requiring certain testing under appropriate circumstances for those accused of impaired ...

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The Risks of a First DUI For College Students

In Birmingham, many students have now returned back to local colleges and universities to enjoy a new semester or to begin their college educations for the first time. Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University, Herzing College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Virginia College-Birmingham are among the institutions which all see an influx of college students in late August and early September each year.  As these students return to college, many will begin engaging in the age-old pastime of college students: drinking alcohol. Whether drinking of campus, at bars, at fraternity parties, or at friend's houses, drinking is a part of life in college. In fact, Villanova reports as many as 80 percent of college students drink alcohol and close to 30 percent generally drink four or more ...

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Is a Trial By Jury the Right Choice for a Birmingham First Offense DUI?

If you are arrested for a first offense DUI in the state of Alabama, you have the option to take your case to trial if you do not wish to try to plead guilty to the offense you have been charged with. If you want to go to trial, your case is usually handled before a judge in municipal court. The process is called a bench trial. Municipal court does not have juries.  However, you can appeal and you can request a jury trial and your case will be heard in circuit court before a jury.  The case is heard de novo, even if you have had a trial in the lower court. This means that the jury will hear the case as if ...

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