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Alabama DUI Laws

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Alabama is a serious violation. It can result in losing driving privileges, heavy fines, and jail time. A third DUI conviction within five years can result in a mandatory jail sentence of 60 days and a fine between $2,100 and $10,100.

Knowing the law is the first step in getting the best possible outcome after an arrest. Below is a summary of Alabama DUI law, including information about sentences and education programs.

Alabama DUI Laws: BAC Limits and Implied Consent

"Per se" blood alcohol content (BAC) limit 0.08%
Zero tolerance (underage) BAC limit 0.02%
Enhanced penalty (aggravated) BAC limit 0.15%
Implied consent to submit to BAC test? Yes

Alabama DUI Laws: Select Penalties

Minimum license suspension or revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) 90 days, 1 year, 3 years
Mandatory alcohol education, assessment, and treatment Both
Vehicle confiscation possible? Yes
Ignition interlock device possible? Yes

Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney in your area to ensure you have the most recent information.

Alabama DUI Laws

If caught in physical control of a vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, you will likely face DUI charges. Being in actual physical control of a vehicle or watercraft doesn't mean you have to be driving or even in motion for law enforcement to arrest you. You need to have the exclusive physical power to operate, meaning you would be able to drive if you chose.

If you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, you are per se intoxicated. Per se intoxication means you are at or above the legal limit, and the court doesn't need further evidence of your intoxication to convict you. The legal limit for blood alcohol level varies depending on several factors. If you are under 21, are operating a school bus, or are a day care driver, the legal limit is 0.02%. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04%.

Driving while under the influence of intoxicating substances such as prescription or over-the-counter medications causing drowsiness and controlled substances is illegal.

In Alabama, you may face DUI charges if you are under the legal intoxication limit but appear impaired enough not to be able to drive safely.

Implied Consent Law

Law enforcement determines your impairment through chemical tests and field sobriety tests. Chemical tests include Breathalyzers or other breath tests, blood tests, and urine analysis. You have implied your consent to undergo these tests as part of receiving your driver's license.

If you refuse these tests, the police officer will arrest you, and they can force you to undergo testing anyway. However, you will then face harsher penalties, such as a mandatory 90-day license suspension and the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). The prosecution can also use your refusal as evidence against you in court.


A first-time drugged or drunk driving conviction carries a possible one-year jail sentence and a fine between $600 and $1,200. The Alabama Department of Public Safety will suspend your license for 90 days. You must have an ignition interlock device (IID) for six months following your license reinstatement. You must complete a substance abuse education through the court referral program.

A second conviction within five years increases your penalties to $1,100 to $5,100 in fines. Your license suspension will last one year, with a further two years required with an IID. You will face a mandatory five days in jail, with a possibility of up to one year. You may have to serve hard labor, community service, and probation. You must complete a substance abuse education and treatment through the court referral program.

These penalties double if your BAC is 0.15% or higher or if you have caused injuries. If a minor age 14 or younger was in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, or if you refused to cooperate with chemical and field sobriety tests, your penalties also double. If this is your first DUI, you lose your license for one year, with another two years with an IID.

Alabama Court Referral Programs

There are 29 individual Alabama Court Referral Programs throughout the state, each staffed with court referral officers (CROs) and juvenile instructors. The program material ranges from presentations about substance abuse and its effects on driving to inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment and lessons in coping with addiction.

  • Level 1: A 12-hour presentation, including a general orientation into the program, with information about substance abuse laws and the effects of certain substances on driving. Level 1 is for students who've been determined not to have a substance abuse problem.
  • Level 2: A 24-hour minimum program involving interaction and active participation. Included is all information in Level 1, plus substance use patterns and family support systems. Level 2 requires the completion of self-help meetings. It's for those determined or presumed to have a substance abuse problem.
  • Youth and juvenile: A 12-hour presentation for those 21 and under involved in a substance-related crime and considered at-risk youth. This version of the program includes an orientation and information about coping skills, drug and alcohol abuse laws, and conflict resolution.
  • Level 3 (treatment): This level typically includes a mental health evaluation and referral for substance abuse treatment, which consists of a mental health evaluation and either inpatient or intensive outpatient programs.

Alabama DUI Resources

Discuss Questions About Alabama DUI Laws With an Attorney

A criminal charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or other impairing drugs can result in severe penalties. And while even a first offense can get you up to one year in jail, the penalties for subsequent violations are much more severe. Considering the consequences of a drunk driving or drugged driving conviction, it's a good idea to reach out to a local DUI attorney.

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