Penalties for DUI convictions are already serious all over the United States, but some areas are taking measures to punish drunk drivers even more severely than ever before.
The Opelika, Alabama area is attempting to crack down on drunk driving with new laws that will affect all of Lee County.
Lee County requires interlock device for all drivers convicted in Opelika
Drivers who have a DUI conviction will now be required by law to install an ignition interlock device before they can ever drive again. A Senator for Alabama stated that he has looked into other states which have similar laws on the books, and he believes the interlock device definitely works as a deterrent and reduces subsequent offenses for those who have already been caught driving under the influence once.
The device works by testing for alcohol on the driver’s breath before the car can be started. If any presence of alcohol is found, it will be impossible for the driver to start the car.
Local residents who were interviewed seemed to have mixed feelings about the law. Some have family members who were harmed by drunk drivers and they strongly support the measure. Others think it should be unnecessary and individuals should be responsible for choosing to obey laws regarding alcohol consumption before driving.
How are DUI charges proven by the state?
A DUI investigation usually begins with an officer conducting a traffic stop or responding to the accident caused by an impaired driver. They will make some observations about the appearance of the suspect and their behavior and driving pattern. In most cases, the officer will ask the defendant to perform a series of roadside physical exercises to help determine their level of impairment. A breath sample will be collected, and if the suspect has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, they are considered to be above the legal limit for driving. After a breath test, the driver is usually arrested and charged. All of this evidence will be introduced by a prosecutor later in criminal court.
What are the penalties for a first DUI in Alabama?
Aside from the ignition interlock device, someone who is convicted of a DUI charge will have to face additional consequences. A driver’s license suspension of 90 days is standard, and the court will direct the defendant to complete substance abuse treatment before their license can be reinstated. There are fines that will range from approximately $500 to $2000. In some cases, jail time of up to one year may be added by a prosecutor. Additional DUI charges within five years result in more severe penalties. There is now also a requirement for a mandatory installation of the ignition interlock device in Lee County and other areas.
Aside from the criminal penalties handed down by the court system, people who are charged with drunk driving may have a professional board discipline them, or face other consequences that affect their ability to find employment. Because of the severity of these penalties, it is important to get only the best DUI lawyer you can find in the state.
If you have been charged with drunk driving in the Opelika area, there is help available from licensed attorneys. Use the listings on this site to find an Alabama DUI attorney.