Bay Minette DUI Lawyers
After your DUI arrest in Bay Minette, your mind may be racing. We know you probably have lots of questions regarding your legal options, what will happen to you, and what your future will look like. No matter how worried you are or how difficult it may be to think about what comes next, do not wait to act.
A conviction for driving while under the influence comes with a wide range of consequences, many of which can follow you for years or even decades. The sooner you reach out to a DUI defense attorney in Bay Minette, the more time you give them to build an effective defense on your behalf.
This is the time to take action and get serious about protecting your future. Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-937-7024 to schedule a consultation now.
Different Types of DUI Charges in Alabama
The phrase “DUI” is an umbrella term for driving while being too impaired to drive safely. The relevant statute, 32-5A-191, allows for five different ways for a suspect to be charged. They include:
- Driving under the influence: This is reserved for cases where officers have reason to believe that you were impaired enough to drive unsafely. Rather than relying on meeting the state’s legal BAC cutoff, this type of charge looks at a wide range of evidence. For example, officers may have proof of you driving in a way that matches how an impaired person would drive. They may also have evidence from field tests.
- Driving under the influence per se: In Alabama, it is against the law to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, even if a BAC of that level does not make you feel If they have the results of a Draeger instrument that show that your BAC was at least 0.08, they may seek a conviction that way.
- Driving under the influence of a controlled substance: If you are caught driving under the influence of a controlled substance in such a way that you are unable to drive safely, you may be charged with drugged driving.
- Driving under the influence of both alcohol and a controlled substance: Those who test positive for both drugs and some level of alcohol consumption could be charged for being under the influence of both.
- Driving under the influence of any substance which impairs your faculties: This is essentially a catchall for any other type of substance you may consume that could leave you unable to drive.
What Happens After a DUI Conviction?
The consequences you face in Alabama depend mostly on how many prior convictions you have and how strong the evidence against you is. Like many other states, Alabama takes a fairly relaxed approach to a first DUI conviction. This is often enough to get people on the right path and keep them from becoming a habitual offender.
The first conviction could lead to up to one year in jail but does not have a mandatory minimum sentence. Fines range from $600 to $2,100, and your license will be suspended for 90 days. You may be able to bypass this by getting an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. Additionally, you will need to attend a court-referred treatment program.
On your second offense within five years, you may spend between five days and one year in jail. This may be replaced by 30 or more days of community service. Fines range from $1,100 to $5,100. Plan on losing your license for one full year, although you may get it back when you start your required two-year ignition interlock period.
By your third offense, you’ll be facing very serious penalties. These include fines ranging from $2,100 to $10,100, a three-year loss of your license, and having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for three years once you start driving again.
Beyond your third offense, your minimum fine increases to $4,100 and you must spend a minimum of one year and one day in prison. Your license will be revoked for five years, and you must have an ignition interlock device on your car for five years when you get your license back.
On top of these baseline consequences, there are some circumstances that can lead to stiffer penalties. These include having a child who is younger than 14 in the vehicle or having a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
How Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne Can Help You
There is no question that a DUI conviction can fundamentally change your life. Looking at the penalties listed above, some of them might not seem terrible—especially if it’s your first DUI. However, you have to look beyond the written consequences and consider every way a conviction could impact you. For example, your reputation among friends and family could be seriously damaged because of a conviction.
Imagine not being allowed to babysit a niece or nephew because of a DUI or having your loved ones suddenly be afraid to be in the car with you. You could also lose out on job opportunities with a DUI conviction, especially if you’re interested in jobs that require a clear driving history. You’ll likely face significantly higher insurance rates for some time, as well as the costs associated with an ignition interlock device.
The team at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne understands all of that, and we know what’s at stake for you. We’re very familiar with the stigma that comes with a DUI conviction, and we’re committed to protecting your future. After we review the facts of the case and the evidence against you, we’ll explore different defense options. Just a few different paths we’ll consider include:
- Illegal traffic stop. Before the police stop you from driving under the influence, they must have valid cause to do so. If they did not, all of the evidence gathered afterward may be inadmissible.
- Use of field sobriety tests. While field sobriety tests are intended to be a standardized and objective way of assessing a person’s level of impairment, they are anything but. Result interpretations vary between officers, and failure to pass these tests may be the result of other factors.
- Unreliable breath test results. Breath test machines require regular maintenance and assessment to produce valid results. If your test was conducted by a faulty machine, the results may be useless.
Whether you’re facing your first DUI or you have multiple convictions behind you, you deserve the support and advocacy of a determined attorney. That’s where we step in to help.
Contact Us Now to Protect Your Rights
Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne as soon as you are arrested. We’ll begin working on your case immediately. Get started now by calling us at 251-937-7024 or reaching out online.