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Frequently Asked Questions about Drunk Driving
Q: What is "blood-alcohol concentration" or "blood-alcohol level"?
A: Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the level of alcohol in the bloodstream from drinking alcoholic beverages. BAC readings are used in court as evidence in drunk-driving cases. The most common method of measure is a breath test, although blood and/or urine testing is sometimes done. A result of .08 or higher may establish a presumption of intoxication. The details of the .08 BAC presumption laws vary among the states, but all 50 states have adopted .08 as their official intoxication level, in large part because of a federal threat of otherwise withholding highway funds.
Q: Can I refuse a Breathalyzer® test?
A: Every state has its own version of an implied consent law providing that a driver impliedly consents to alcohol testing just by the act of driving. In many states, a refusal to take a breath test is itself a criminal violation subject to stiff penalties. For example, refusing a breath test might result in automatic drivers-license suspension or revocation. If you are ultimately found guilty of a drunk-driving offense, there may be additional penalties because of the test refusal, such as a stiffer sentence. Your test refusal may also be used as evidence against you in a drunk-driving case.
In 2001, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Police and highway patrol officers are cracking down on drunk drivers with increasing frequency as a result of influence from groups like MADD and public outcries in general. If you find yourself at the center of this crackdown, you need an experienced drunk driving attorney to represent your interests and work toward the least restrictive outcome possible.
Alabama Drunk Driving Information
At the Kreps Law Firm, LLC, our team provides comprehensive DUI and DWI representation to individuals who have been cited or arrested for drunk driving. We focus on efficiently handling these types of issues and ensuring that your rights were, and are, preserved. Drunk driving can carry serious punishments. Our firm can help you explore your options and determine the best way in which to proceed.
The content below is designed to enhance your knowledge of drunk driving (DUI / DWI) matters. Please review it for additional general information. To discuss your specific charges or situation, contact our office and schedule a free consultation with a member of our DUI defense team.
Overview of the Crime of Drunk Driving
Each US state has its own set of drunk-driving laws, but there are certain concepts and features common to most states' drunk-driving jurisprudence. Basically, as we all know, it is illegal and a crime for a person to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs to a degree that impairs his or her safe driving ability and judgment. Both criminal and civil penalties for drunk driving can be harsh and often include:
Loss or suspension of license
Jail or prison time
Restrictive probationary license programs, including ignition interlock devices and Cinderella licenses
In addition, the social stigma and effect on your career may have lifelong negative consequences.
The Role of Probation in Drunk-Driving Sentencing
Probation is by far the most common sentence for people convicted of drunk driving, especially for first-time offenders. Probation is a criminal sentence served in the community, rather than in jail or prison. Most states limit terms of probation to a maximum of five years. If you are facing a drunk-driving charge, an experienced lawyer can assist you with your defense and, if necessary, advocate for a fair sentence.
The Prosecutor's Role in a Drunk-Driving Case
Prosecution refers to the government's role in the criminal-justice system. When criminal activity is suspected, it is up to the government to investigate, arrest, charge and bring the alleged offender to trial. A prosecutor is a lawyer who works for the government and who is responsible for developing and presenting the government's case against a criminal defendant. Prosecutors may be called county attorneys, city attorneys, district attorneys or states' attorneys. Some jurisdictions may even have experienced police officers act as prosecutors in drunk-driving cases. The prosecutor is the opponent or "adversary" of the criminal defendant and his or her attorney; the two sides go head-to-head against each other in court.
Reliability of Breath-Test Results in a Drunk-Driving Case
In every state in the US, a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is presumed to be legally intoxicated for drunk-driving purposes. Each state has also enacted an implied-consent law. Implied-consent laws provide that every licensed driver within the state is considered to have given his or her consent to chemical testing to determine his or her BAC whenever a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of intoxication. In most states, refusal to submit to such a test results in license suspension or revocation.
The Impact of a Drunk-Driving Conviction on Your Auto Insurance
An alcohol-related car accident and subsequent drunk-driving conviction can bring many negative consequences into your life, possibly including jail or prison time, a criminal record, car repair or replacement, restitution, guilt and grief over harm to others, higher insurance premiums, a civil lawsuit, fines, court and administrative fees, community service, alcohol education, substance-abuse treatment, social stigma, restrictions on or revocation of your drivers license, attorneys fees, restrictive probation and others. If you are arrested for or charged with drunk driving, a criminal-defense lawyer can advise you about your legal rights and help you fight the charges.
Drunk Driving/DUI Resource Links
About.com: Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Links to articles and resources about drunk driving.
Impaired Driving Division - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NHTSA's Impaired Driving Division provides information and resources on drunk driving from a legal and social viewpoint and with a goal of prevention.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Link to informational chart about the drunk-driving laws of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) - Impaired Driving
Facts, data, publications and other helpful information involving impaired drivers.
The Century Council
A not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
BirminghamDUIAttorney.com Attorneys represent clients on Alabama DUI, Drunk Driving, Reckless Driving, Speeding and related charges in Jefferson County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Adamsville, Bessemer, Birmingham, Brighton, Brookside, Center Point, Fairfield, Fultondale, Gardendale, Graysville, Homewood, Hoover, Hueytown, Irondale, Kimberly, Leeds, Midfield, Morris, Mountain Brook, Tarrant, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Warrior. Shelby County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Alabaster, Calera, Columbiana, Harpersville, Helena, Montevallo, Pelham, Vincent, and Wilsonville. Chilton County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Clanton, Jemison, Maplesville, and Thorsby. Blount County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Blountsville, Oneonta, and Snead. Cullman County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Cullman and Hanceville. Walker County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Dora, Jasper and Sumiton. Winston County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Addison, Double Springs and Haleyville. Tuscaloosa County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Brookwood, Lake View, Northport, Tuscaloosa, and Vance. Bibb County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Centreville. Talladega County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Childersburg, Lincoln, Sylacauga, and Talladega. St. Clair County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Argo, Ashville, Margaret, Moody, Odenville, Pell City, Riverside, and Springville. Etowah County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Attalla, Gadsden, and Glencoe. Marshall County, Alabama including the cities and towns of Albertville, Arab, Boaz and Guntersville.
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