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Alabama Law Mandates DUI Interlock Devices

Alabama now has tougher DUI laws than ever before, which are going to cost people both money and freedom. One of those new laws includes a requirement that all persons convicted of DUI in Alabama will be required to have ignition interlock devices installed. (The other law pertains to the so-called "look-back period," which is the length of time the DUI judge will have to examine your prior DUI record.) Alabama's DUI Laws, Explained The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (which previously reported half of the 18,500 people arrested by county and municipal agencies for alcohol violations in 2016 were charged with driving under the influence) offers a concise breakdown of DUI penalties based on how many prior convictions the offender has. Penalties vary ...

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Alabama Incarceration Rate at an All Time High

Alabama's jails and prisons are notoriously packed and overcrowded. But now a recent analysis reveals Alabama has one of the worst incarceration rates - fifth in the entire world. The Prison Policy Initiative reported on the global context of incarceration, tallying state rates as if they were individual countries. Globally, the top results were all American states, where Alabama ranked fifth overall. The highest rates per 100,000 population were: Oklahoma - 1,079 Louisiana - 1,052 Mississippi - 1,039 Georgia - 970 Alabama - 946 The national average in the U.S. was 698. A total of 23 states were reported to have rates higher than the U.S. national average, but in comparison to the rest of the world, every single state appears extreme. Problems ...

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Should You Accept a Plea Bargain in Alabama Criminal Court?

Alabama criminal cases are routinely settled through plea bargain agreements. However, there is nothing routine about representing criminal defendants in these negotiations. ConnectUS recently focused on some advantages and disadvantages to accepting a plea bargain. It is an interesting list because many of the prosecution advantages should be recognized by defense attorneys and used to the best advantage of their defendants. The truth is that most criminal cases resolve without a trial. Without plea-bargaining the system would be hopelessly backlogged. Plea bargains reduce case loads, reduce congestion of trial schedules and eliminate uncertainty of outcomes. A criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham can even tell how the state feels about its case by the kind of initial plea-bargain offer a prosecutor makes. Prosecutors like ...

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Birmingham Criminal Cases Are Being Drastically Affected By Body Cameras

Like many law enforcement agencies across the nation, the Birmingham Police Department has widely increased its use of body-worn cameras in recent years. Camera footage has the potential to drastically affect the outcome of criminal case proceedings. Some footage will help a defendant’s case, and some footage will hurt it, but the ultimate result of body camera footage should be an accurate representation of interactions with a law enforcement officer. This gives criminal defendants and the general public the ability to hold officers accountable for inappropriate - or illegal - actions. In today’s politically charged climate of strained relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, it is more important than ever to have accurate information about the interactions between them. ...

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Not All Birmingham Marijuana Arrests Result in Prison Sentences

Marijuana has become a complicated legal issue in recent years. It is subject to a patchwork of regulations across different states, which all vary greatly in the severity of punishment for the possession or trafficking of marijuana. Federal law prohibits all uses of marijuana, but the enforcement of federal laws has changed substantially with the change in presidential administrations. With all of these widely different laws, and uneven application of these laws, it can be difficult to know what to expect when one is charged with a marijuana offense. It is important for defendants to understand that not all marijuana cases in the Alabama courts will automatically result in a guilty verdict. How Alabama Law Classifies Marijuana Offenses Prison sentences in Alabama are ...

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What Constitutes an Illegal Search?

There is almost nothing Americans value more than their right to privacy. And that right is almost ironclad, thanks to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But there are certain circumstances in which the government, mainly via law enforcement, has a right to invade your privacy, take your property and possibly use it against you. In some cases, these searches can be illegal. It's best to identify the difference between a legal and illegal search so you can better protect your rights. Searches of your home First off, you should know that the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure of your own property such as your home, vehicle and cell phone. That means federal or state officials, such as ...

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Birmingham Criminal Defense Watch: Campus Arrests on the Rise

The nation's campuses are reporting an increase in student arrests, a troubling trend that will impact futures and career potential for far too many young people as we head into spring break and the end-of-year graduation season. While Birmingham may be the state's largest city, it is the influx of college students that truly swells the population each winter and spring. Area institutions of higher learning include the University of Alabama at Birmingham (including the medical school and dental school), Samford University and Cumberland School of Law, Miles College and Law School, Birmingham School of Business, Birmingham Southern College and Virginia College, as well as several community colleges in Shelby and Jefferson counties. College Student Legal Defense in Birmingham The ongoing risk of school ...

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Birmingham Arrestees Often Self-Incriminate By Talking to Police

State and federal law protects those suspected of crimes from being forced to make self-incriminating statements to authorities. This can include police officers, prosecutors, investigators and other law enforcement agents working on behalf of the state to secure a conviction. This is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the confusing circumstances of many arrests and investigations lead suspects to inadvertently waive this right and make statements or utterances that are eventually used against them in court.  A Birmingham criminal defense attorney can advise you on your right to remain silent. Always ask to exercise your right to speak to a lawyer before submitting to any line of questioning by law enforcement.  What Suspects Need to Know About Incriminating Statements Most Americans are familiar with the ...

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Birmingham DUI Arrests and Anti-Drunk Driving Advertising

Motorists facing drunk driving charges after the holidays are often surprised by the serious consequences that can await them under Alabama law. "It's just a misdemeanor, right?" is a question drunk-driving defense attorneys hear often. But the consequences for DUI in Birmingham can be quite severe, even for a first offense. Motorists face a mandatory 90-day license suspension and attendance at DUI school, as well as fines and court costs of more than $2,000 and up to 1 year in the county jail.  Those who test over .15 BAC face double the mandatory punishment for being over double the legal limit of .08, under Alabama law Section 32-5A-191. Video games next battleground for DUI messaging The holidays are also a favored time for ...

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What To Do After a Birmingham Arrest

  An arrest can be an overwhelming event. It can be difficult to know what to do in a confusing situation, outnumbered by police and facing a system that's seemingly stacked against you. If you, a family member, or loved one has been arrested, it is important to contact a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier your attorney gets involved, the greater your chances of avoiding common pitfalls such as self-incrimination. Invoke Your Right to Silence Defendants have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. This means once you are placed under arrest, you do not have to answer questions about the alleged offense. It's important to still be as polite and respectful as possible to all law enforcement officers and ...

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