Alabama DUI & DWI Laws
You’ll face harsh consequences from both the Alabama courts and the AL Department of Public Safety (DPS) if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).
Depending on the severity of your DUI, the circumstances of your offense and your driving history, you may face varying degrees of jail time, fines, driver’s license suspensions, and reinstatement requirements.
On this page you’ll find information about the definitions of a DUI/DWI, the penalties you may face, and the reinstatement requirements you may need to satisfy to regain your driving privileges.
Alabama DUI Definitions
In Alabama, driving under the influence is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
- 0.08% or more.
- 0.04% or more in a commercial vehicle.
- 0.02% or more, if you are younger than 21 years old.
Depending on the nature of your offense, you may receive a DUI or alcohol-related offense for driving with a BAC that is lower than the legal limits above.
Chemical Test Refusal
Refusing to submit to a chemical test is considered a violation of the Implied Consent laws in Alabama. When you accept a driver’s license you also agree to submit to chemical tests when driving. By refusing to submit to a chemical test the Department of Public Safety has the right to suspend your driver’s license whether or not you are arrested. Refusing a chemical test can carry stiff penalties:
1st offense: 90 days.
2nd offense: 1 year.
License suspensions for refusing a chemical test can result in being denied any kind of restricted license, it can also be required that you install an Ignition Interlock on your vehicle. (See Ignition Interlock) You do have the option of requesting a hearing to challenge your suspension. See Administrative Hearing.
DUI Penalties in Alabama
Administrative Penalties in Alabama
The consequences for refusing a chemical test and/or being arrested for a DUI will automatically get you penalties from the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS). These penalties, known as Administrative penalties, are in addition to any you may face in a court of law. These penalties go into effect immediately when you are arrested. Your driver’s license will be suspended by the DPS for a DUI arrest for:
1st offense: 90 days
2nd offense: 12 months
3rd offense: 3 years.
4th and subsequent offense: 5 years.
Those under 21 years old will have their license suspended for 30 days on a 1st offense. Any additional offenses can cause the license to be revoked for longer periods of time. Other extenuating circumstances (such as BAC level, type of license you hold, if an accident occurred) can increase the suspension period regardless of the age of the driver. Anyone who has had their license suspended by the DPS must also complete a substance abuse or DUI court referral program.
The only way to fight an Administrative suspension is to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety
To qualify for a hearing you must send in a request within 10 days after your arrest.
In order to apply for a hearing you submit a request by fax (334) 353-2009 or mail the request to:
OK Driver License Division
Attn: Hearing Unit
P.O. Box 1471
Montgomery, AL 36102
Your request must include:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number (SSN if driver’s license number is unknown)
- Current street address
- Current mailing address
- Contact phone number
Criminal Penalties in Alabama
The criminal penalties you may face for a DUI are in addition to any penalties by the Department of Public Safety. Criminal pemalties are as follows:
- For a 1st offense of a DUI, you may receive:
- Up to 1 year in jail.
- A fine of $500 to $2,000, plus a charge of $100 for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund..
- For a 2nd offense, you may face:
- 48 hours to 1 year in jail (required to serve the minimum) OR minimum of 20 days community service.
- A fine of $1,000 to $5,000, plus a $100 fee for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund.
- For a 3rd offense of a DUI within 5 years, you may face:
- 60 days to 1 year in jail (required to serve the minimum)
- A fine of $2,000 to $10,000, plus $100 for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund.
- For a 4th offense or subsequent offenses within 5 years, you may face:
- Prison time of 1 to 10 years.
- A fine of $4,000 to $10,000.
Your penalties may vary depending on the circumstances and severity of your DUI.
Alabama Ignition Interlock Requirements
Ignition interlock devices are designed to hook up to your vehicle’s ignition system and require you to pass a BAC/breathalyzer test before your car will start. These devices carry an installation fee as well as a maintenance fee. These fees vary by company.
You may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle if you:
- Received a 1st offense of a DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or more.
- Caused an accident as the result of your DUI.
- Refuse a chemical test.
- Committed a DUI with a passenger younger than 14 years old in the car.
- Have committed multiple DUIs.
For more information and for a list of approved interlock device installation facilities, please visit the Alabama Department of Public Safety website.
Reinstating Your AL Driver’s License
After completing the requirements of your Administrative suspension and/or DUI court conviction and finishing your driver’s license suspension/revocation period, you’ll need to reinstate your driver’s license with the Alabama DPS.
While your specific reinstatement requirements will vary depending on the specifics of your court sentence and the severity of your DUI, you may need to:
- Pay reinstatement fee (minimum of $275).
- Submit proof of financial responsibility. (Typically with an SR22 form from your car insurance provider.)
- Complete an alcohol/drug treatment, education, and evaluation program.
- Pass any required Alabama DPS tests (may include both written and road tests).