In 2011, Alabama had 259 drunk driving-related fatalities, which made up 32% of the state’s total traffic deaths that year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The state also has a high repeat offense rate with 54,043 third-time drunk driving offenders and 22,306 fifth-time offenders. To reduce its high fatality and repeat offense rates, Alabama became the final state to enact an ignition interlock law in 2011. The law requires first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and all repeat offenders to install the device. MADD congratulated the state on finally enacting an ignition interlock law and believes the use of interlocks will significantly reduce the state’s high number of repeat offenses, save lives, and prevent drunk driving and related injuries.
Anyone who operates a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher in Alabama is charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02. DUI consequences in Alabama include a fine, jail time or community service, driver’s license suspension, and, possibly, DUI school attendance.
- 1st Conviction: $600-$2,100 fine; up to 1 year in jail; 90-day license suspension
- 2nd Conviction (within 5 years): $1,100-$5,100 fine; 5 days to 1 year in jail; 1-year license suspension
- 3rd Conviction: $2,100-$10,100 fine; 60 days to 1 year in jail; 3-year license suspension;
- 4th and Subsequent Convictions (class C felony): $4,100-$10,100 fine; 1 to 10 years in jail; 5-year license suspension
If the convicted drunk driver committed the offense while a child under the age of 14 was in the vehicle, all minimum consequences for a general DUI offense are doubled.
Ignition Interlock Law
In 2011, Alabama became the 50th state to enact an ignition interlock legislation. The fairly new law requires first-time offenders with a BAC over 0.15 and all repeat offenders to install the device before their driving privileges are reinstated after the license suspension period ends.