Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a serious crime which can occur more frequently during the festive holiday season. DUI charges carry costly, long-lasting consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, ensure you are protected throughout the criminal case process by consulting with an experienced Birmingham DUI attorney. Start by following these tips for preventing DUI in and around the roads of Birmingham.
The Consequences of DUI
The Code of Alabama §32-5A- 191(e) provides that a first time DUI defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in the country or municipal jail, a fine between $600 and $2100, or both jail and a fine. The defendant’s driver’s license will also suspended for ninety days unless an approved ignition interlock device is installed in his or her vehicle for six months.
Even prominent Alabama citizens are not immune from the consequences of DUI offenses. In September, the wife of Madison, Alabama mayor Paul Finley plead guilty to driving under the influence. WHNT reports that Julie Finley also faced a reckless driving charge for driving 103 miles per hour on the Interstate 565 in Huntsville. When officers pulled her over for speeding, Finley was given a preliminary breath test which showed her blood alcohol level to be .273 - more than three times the legal limit. The reckless driving charge was dismissed pursuant to Finley’s plea agreement, which calls for a 180-day jail sentence. The sentence will be suspended, and Finley will not have to serve it unless she violates the terms of her probation.
What You Can Do to Prevent DUI
Public awareness has been incredibly effective at deterring drunk driving. Unfortunately, this pressure does not yet exist for drugged driving. The Washington Post reports that 2015 was the first year in which drugged driving caused more traffic fatalities than drunk driving. Both drunk and drugged driving are highly dangerous crimes, and it is up to individual drivers to accept personal responsibility for not driving under the influence. First, be sure to have a plan to get home when you plan to be drinking. Uber, Lyft, and other ride share apps have made it incredibly easy to hail a ride whenever and wherever it is needed. If these services are not available in your area, designate a sober driver for the evening, or have someone you can call for a ride. The more backup plans you have, the less tempting it will be to drive while drunk.
Next, it is important to speak up when a friend or family member appears to be impaired. Whether it is alcohol intoxication or opioid addiction or abuse of prescription medication, there are many substances which can impair a person’s ability to drive safety. Confronting loved ones about this problem can be uncomfortable, but it can also save lives. Don’t be afraid to speak up when a problem presents itself. If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, you have important constitutional rights which must be protected. An experienced Birmingham DUI attorney will ensure that you receive fair treatment by the criminal justice system.