In this article, you can discover:
- The factors could affect the severity of the sentence if you are found guilty.
- What happens to your license after a DUI arrest.
- The penalties for a DUI conviction.
When Is Your First Court Date When You’re Arrested?
Upon your release from jail, you should receive a notice of your court date. Typically, you will be required to appear in court between 30-90 days after your release from jail.
Will You Go To Jail For Criminal Charges?
Whether or not you are facing jail time is highly dependent on the type of crime you are charged with, your prior criminal history, and any “bad facts” surrounding your case. The law refers to these bad facts as “aggravating factors.” Though, in most cases, it is doubtful you will go to jail if the charge is your first offense. Instead, you will likely face probation if convicted.
Suppose you have a prior criminal record and face criminal charges in Shelby County, AL. In that case, we will utilize the In/Out guidelines. This set of guidelines looks at several factors including:
- Criminal history;
- Mitigating or aggravating factors;
- Violence related to the charge;
- Whether you were in possession of a firearm while committing the crime;
- Whether children were near the vicinity.
With a criminal background, it may be more challenging to avoid serving some jail time.
What Happens To Your Driver’s License After A DUI Arrest In Alabama?
When arrested for a DUI, you are (most of the time) given a yellow sheet of paper called an AST-60. This paper informs you that your driver’s license will be suspended after 45 days from the date of your arrest. If you are not provided with an AST-60, then chances are that you will not be facing a suspension of your Driver’s License until and unless you are convicted of DUI.
Typically, this period when your license will be suspended lasts for 90 days. After 90 days, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee to obtain your license. However, that 90 days only applies if it’s your first DUI. Each additional DUI carries a longer suspension period.
To stop that process, you will have to file for an administrative hearing. That hearing has to be filed within ten days of the date of your arrest. It is essential to see a DUI defense attorney immediately if you’ve been arrested for DUI because that ten days is a rigid time frame.
In this hearing, your case will be presented to an officer from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). The hearing officer will have to determine probable cause to make the arrest. Suppose it is determined that probable cause existed. In that case, you will have to file a lawsuit in the circuit court against ALEA to stop the suspension process.
That lawsuit needs to be filed before the expiration of the 45 days. But if your case is ultimately dismissed, (whether you’re found not guilty, or you complete a deferred program), ALEA is legally bound to wipe that administrative action from your record.
What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test During A DUI Investigation In Shelby County?
Due to Alabama’s implied consent law, refusing a breathalyzer test can be used against you in court during a trial. A refusal is an automatic suspension of your driver’s license – whether or not there was probable cause to arrest you in the first place.
Even if you haven’t been drinking, and even if you would blow a 0.0%, your license could be suspended if you refuse breath testing.
It is important to note: If you are on private property, you’re not legally bound to take a breathalyzer test. However, if you’re on a public street and refuse a Breathalyzer, that’s an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Alabama?
For your first DUI offense, if you blow under 0.15%, you will probably be facing probation. Generally, that includes 2-year probation, fines, and court costs which can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Additionally, you will be required to take 6-9 months’ worth of drug screens and a defensive driving course.
Additionally, fines and court costs are enhanced for a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or greater.
If convicted for this “aggravated” offense, you will have to use an ignition interlock device. This device is a breathalyzer that is installed in your vehicle – it requires you to blow into it before you start your car. Additionally, it’ll give you a little alarm to periodically blow while driving.
For every subsequent DUI conviction, there are additional penalties, namely mandatory jail time and additional and prolonged suspension of your driver’s license.
Do You Still Need To Hire A DUI Lawyer If You Plan To Plead Guilty To Your DUI Charges In The Birmingham Area?
Regardless of what area in Alabama you are charged within, you need to hire a lawyer to explore your options – because you will not get a good outcome if you go to court and plead guilty to a DUI.
There are a variety of other options that you could explore with a DUI defense attorney, such as:
- The deferred prosecution process;
- Reviewing the facts of the case;
- Saving money on enhanced court fees and fines;
- Avoidance of an ignition interlock.
Once you plead guilty, you’ve waived many of your rights. If there are any problems later down the road with your probation or the deferred prosecution process, that guilty plea can make the consequences more severe.
A DUI attorney can guide you through every stage of the legal process, answer any questions you have, or help communicate with a court referral officer or probation officer regarding your compliance or non-compliance.
Why Can You Trust Our Firm To Handle Your Case?
Our firm primarily works with DUI cases. Our DUI lawyers work towards negotiating a lesser charge or even getting your case dismissed. If you need an expert, our firm is prepared to help you find the outcome you are looking for.