Alabama DUI Laws

Alabama DUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. For people under 21, it’s 0.02%.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
DUI laws state that drivers 21 and older who drive with a blood/breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above can be charged with a DWI. If the driver is operating a commercial vehicle, the limit is 0.04%. Underage drivers may not exceed 0.02% BAC.
It is a dangerous crime to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Each state determines its own penalties, but even a first-time offense can cost the driver up to $10,000 in legal fees and fines in the state of Alabama.
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What is a DUI?

DUI is an acronym that stands for
driving under the influence
whereas DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. The state will determine the difference.
A driver can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and this includes legal drugs like prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. If you become impaired as a result of taking a substance and then get behind the wheel, you can be charged with a DUI.
Some states use different terms to mean the same thing, like OUI (operating under the influence) or OWI (operating while intoxicated).
In Alabama, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are not currently operating the vehicle. If you have "actual physical control" (the exclusive physical power and present ability to operate, move, park, or direct the motor vehicle), then you can be charged if your BAC exceeds state limits.

DUI in Alabama

In Alabama, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
  • 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21
  • 0.02% if you are a school bus or daycare driver
  • 0.04% if you’re driving a commercial vehicle
  • Any level if you are deemed unable to safely operate a vehicle
Key Takeaway: There is zero tolerance for minors driving under the influence. People under the age of 21 may not carry alcohol inside a vehicle unless a parent is present and the container is unopened, full, and sealed.
Each state has an implied consent law which says that you consent to be tested if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you are lawfully arrested for a DUI, you are required to submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. Alabama drivers who refuse to be tested can be penalized with lengthy license suspensions or even
revocation of their license
You do not have the right to consult with legal counsel before taking the test.

Penalties for a DUI in Alabama

Penalties for DUIs are harsh and the conviction will remain on your for five years.

First conviction

$600 to $2,100
Up to one year
License suspension
90 days
Ignition interlock device
6 months if BAC 0.15% or higher, with a passenger under 14, injury accident, or refusal to take BAC test
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
The state may require that you complete a DUI program. The length of the program will depend on the severity of your conviction.
The state can also require you to install an ignition interlock device or IID in your vehicle. This device prevents you from starting the car if it detects any alcohol on your breath.
Underage drivers are not subjected to the above penalties, but they will lose their license for 30 days and must submit to substance abuse treatment.
MORE: How to find defensive driving courses in Alabama

Subsequent convictions

$1,100 to $10,000
Up to one year
License suspension
1 to 3 years
Ignition interlock device
2 to 3 years
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
If you are convicted of a DUI again, you will be subject to increased penalties. These could include serious fines (up to $10,100), up to 10 years in prison which may include hard labor, an ignition interlock device, five-year license revocation, and even disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle for life.
Alabama does not have a
hardship license
or DUI restricted license. This means that if your license is suspended, you will lose your ability to drive for the entire duration of the suspension period.
Key Takeaway: Minimum penalties are usually increased if you had a very high blood alcohol concentration or if you were involved in an accident where someone was injured—even for a first conviction.
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Does a DUI impact car insurance in Alabama?

Yes, insurance companies care a lot about DUI convictions. You will be classified as a
high-risk driver
You may struggle to find insurance with a DUI on your record. The best strategy is to shop around.
can compare rates from top insurance companies and generate personalized quotes. You won’t have to deal with salespeople or fill out lengthy online forms.
With a DUI on your record, expect substantially higher rates than your previous payment. You will need to find an insurance company that can file an
on your behalf. This form confirms that you have the
minimum car insurance required in your state
and you won’t be allowed to drive without it.

Other effects of a DUI

On top of the penalties and higher insurance rates, you could face additional consequences due to a DUI conviction.
License revocation: After a DUI charge, your license may be revoked if you were charged with another serious offense—like endangerment.
Ignition interlock device: Every state has a version of the ignition interlock program which requires drivers with a DUI conviction to install this device in their vehicle. This device will disable your engine if any alcohol is detected on your breath.
Background checks: DUIs show up on background checks and can limit your employment opportunities.

How to find cheap insurance after a DUI

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