Drunk driving penalties increase for first-time offenders

A drunk driving charge is serious. However, the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Alabama have become even more severe.

Starting this month, first-time offenders will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle if they had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, if a child under the age of 14 was in the car with them, if they refused a Breathalyzer test or if another person was injured while they drove under the influence.

An ignition interlock device is used to prevent people from driving drunk. If alcohol is detected in the driver's breath, the car's ignition is disabled.

In addition to installing an ignition interlock device, those who are convicted of DUI for the first time will likely face fines and have their driver's license suspended for 90 days.

Because the penalties are so harsh, people in Alabama who are charged with drunk driving would be wise to rely on the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

An attorney can investigate the evidence in a case to determine if law enforcement followed proper procedure during the arrest. If it is determined that they did not follow proper procedure, the evidence in a case may be thrown out and the charges could be dropped completely. Law enforcement officers have an important job to do. However, they cannot violate people's rights.

People in Alabama who face drunk driving charges for the first time may feel overwhelmed. However, as with all criminal cases, they must remember that they remain innocent until proven guilty.

Source: ABC32, "Alabama Drunk Drivers Forced to have Breathalyzer Device on Dashboard," Heather VacLav, Sept. 1, 2012

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