In Alabama, driving under the influence is a serious crime, and repeat offenders face strict sentencing guidelines and criminal penalties if they are arrested for drunk driving. Over 20% to 28% of first-time offenders convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) will repeat the offense, and repeat offenders have a 60% greater chance of getting into a fatal crash.
A driver’s history of repeat DUI offenses may affect the compensation you can obtain after a drunk driving accident, including punitive damages. Learn how an irresponsible driver’s criminal record impacts your claim and how The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help.
Alabama courts examine the past 10 years of a driver’s history to check for any previous DUI conviction. A prior DUI conviction from another state will also count in the driver’s record. If there was a previous felony DUI conviction, then the court will treat subsequent convictions as felonies, regardless of the date of the previous felony.
If a driver is convicted of a felony related to driving under the influence, they will not be subject to the habitual felony offender law in Alabama. The felony offender law requires imprisonment for life with no chance of parole for people with Class A felonies and 3 prior felony convictions. However, the court can still consider prior misdemeanor or felony convictions for driving under the influence.
Repeat offenses for drunk driving carry harsh sentences in Alabama. These can include fines, community service, driver’s license suspensions, and ignition interlock device installation.
If a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or more while driving, the court will double the minimum sentence. If you are over 21 and a child under 14 was in the car with you, you will receive at least double the punishment if no child was in the vehicle.
As a first-time DUI offender in Alabama, you face the following penalties:
If you get arrested for the second time, you will see an increase in fees and mandatory sentencing:
A third DUI offense will cost you thousands of dollars in fines and three years of ignition interlock.
If you receive a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction or a felony DUI conviction in the past, you will be guilty of a Class C felony. Other penalties include:
If you are injured in a collision with a repeat drunk driver, it can impact your compensation claim in Alabama. A standard drunk driving case requires you to prove that the driver’s drunken actions directly caused your injuries. You can seek economic and noneconomic damages in a claim against a first-time drunk driver.
In an accident with a repeat DUI offender, you may be able to seek punitive damages in addition to damages like medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering. Alabama courts award punitive damages when there is clear and compelling evidence of a driver showing malice and wanton disregard for the rights and safety of other people.
The Alabama Supreme Court has stated that the facts and details of each case determine what constitutes wanton conduct. Our Alabama car accident lawyers from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can investigate your case and prove the driver’s wanton behavior using evidence like the following:
Our attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers understand the complexities of DUI offenses in Alabama and can assist you in navigating the legal system after a crash. We have in-depth knowledge of the state’s laws surrounding drunk driving accidents and repeat DUI offenses, and can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can review your case and provide an overview of your legal options. Since we work on contingency, we won’t charge you anything unless we recover money for you.