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 anti-drunk driving advertising blitzes launched by organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Alabama Highway Patrol. In fact, the Guardian reported recently that the National Institutes of Health is backing research aimed at reaching today's young, tech-savvy audience. Researchers at Texas A&M and the University of Connecticut are working to determine whether anti-DUI posters inserted into video games have a measurable impact on the resistance of young people to such public-service announcements.
By those standards, today's internet campaigns are utilizing old technology. Organizations like Drive Safe Alabama have been pushing their safety messages for years online, in print and over the airwaves.
Meanwhile, federal and state safety grants continue to pay overtime to city and state law enforcement agencies to engage in drunk driving enforcement measures like roving patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
Alabama DUI defense - asserting your rights
All of this comes at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. But few motorists stop to consider the vast resources aimed at the issue until they are accused of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Hiring an experienced drunk driving defense attorney in Birmingham is the first step toward protecting your own rights.
Sometimes, people make mistakes. But in too many cases, enforcement measures during such holiday public safety campaigns can result in marginal or unfair arrest.
For those facing charges, it will be up to them to assert their rights to fair remedy.
Defending a first offense can be particularly important. Not only does your defense attorney have the best chances of getting such charges reduced or dismissed, but keeping a first offense off your record becomes even more critical in the event you are ever stopped and arrested again. And, as anyone with a drunk driving conviction on their record can tell you, nothing is more of an invitation to law enforcement to conduct a future traffic stop than a DUI conviction.
Underage drivers and those with commercial driver's licenses face reduced thresholds for charges and increased penalties if convicted. Difficulty obtaining employment is also a common problem for those with convictions on their permanent driving record.
Make no mistake about it: Drunk driving is a serious charge that requires a serious defense. Finding an experienced DUI defense lawyer can help ensure a conviction doesn't have unwarranted consequences for years to come.