Frequently Asked Questions about DUI

FAQ Regarding DUI in North Alabama

Experienced DUI Lawyers in Athens and Huntsville | Crumbley, Blackwell, Wisda & Associates, P.C.

Being arrested for DUI can be very frightening. In one single moment, your life could change forever, and you may not know how to deal with the repercussions. Whether you or a loved one are facing DUI charges, the reality of having to go through the resulting legal process can make anyone anxious, especially if you are uninformed about your rights.

If you have found yourself in a similar position there are likely a number of questions that you have, obtaining answers as quickly as possible can relieve anxiety and concern. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding DUI to help you better understand your situation. It is imperative that you understand the severity of the situation and the potential DUI penalties you could be facing. Please read through the questions and answers provided below. These were compiled by our office, from the most common questions that we get regarding DUI charges.

Facing DUI? We can help. Call (256) 539-4464 or complete an online form to request your free consultation.

I need my driver's license but it was suspended. Can anything be done about my driver's license suspension?

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Huntsville or North Alabama, you most likely had your driver's license revoked and suspended. A skilled DUI attorney can help you avoid a drivers license suspension, and in some cases avoid a single day of the suspension! Contact an experienced DUI Lawyer from our firm, we can help you.

What is a blood alcohol content (BAC) level?

Blood alcohol content (BAC) level is the amount of concentrated alcohol present in your blood stream at the time of a test. There are many ways to measure BAC including a breathalyzer or a urine test, but the most accurate way to measure BAC is through a blood test. All of these tests must be administered properly in order to yield an accurate reading. Arresting officers usually measure your BAC through a breathalyzer test, which measures the concentration of alcohol in your "blood" through your breath. The result of this test is then converted to a number that is "deemed" to be your actual BAC.

I took a breathalyzer test and blew over a 0.08% BAC. Am I automatically guilty of a DUI?

Absolutely not! There are many ways that a skilled DUI defense attorney can challenge or defeat a DUI accusation. In fact, Crumbley, Blackwell, Wisda & Associates, P.C. prevails on a high percentage of our DUI cases even with breath tests resulting higher than the legal amount of 0.08%. We've defended thousands of DUI clients across Huntsville, Athens, and surrounding communities in North Alabama. In fact, the highest breath test result that we have successfully defended is 0.31%, which is 4 times the legal limit in North Alabama.

How can you defend someone who is charged with drunk driving with a successful outcome?

First of all, our clients need to know that it is not against the law to drink and drive in the state of Alabama! It is only against the law to drive if you have consumed so much alcohol that you are impaired to such a degree that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. Many people drink within the limits of the law and simply are not impaired, even if their breath test results exceed the legal limit of 0.08%. Due to standards of ethics, we cannot guarantee that your case will always result in victory, but we can say that there are many different ways to defend a DUI charge. In many instances, the prosecutor simply has too many hurdles to overcome in order to sustain a conviction. A successful outcome can be achieved by many measures however, this one in particular is very popular in Huntsville, Athens, and around North Alabama.

What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests are referred to as "divided attention" tests. That is, they are tests which require the subject to concentrate on both mental and physical tasks at the same time. Officers in North Alabama are trained to compare the actual results of the test to the expected results and make a determination of impairment. The portable breath test device that is used to test your breath on the scene is not admissible in court, due to the fact that they are highly unreliable. There are only three tests that are scientifically reliable, and even still, their reliability is questionable:

  • Walk and turn - 68% reliable
  • One leg stand - 65% reliable
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (pen light test) - generally the officer is not allowed to testify to these results in court
Am I required to take a field sobriety test?

No! There is no law that requires you to submit to a field sobriety test. The implied consent law applies to the submission to a DUI breathalyzer test and does not apply to field sobriety testing. As a result, you are not required by law to submit to field testing.

Am I required to submit to a breathalyzer test?

Yes, and no. The Alabama Code states that "any person who operates a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine for the purposes of determining the alcohol content of his or her blood if lawfully arrested." In other words, implied consent in North Alabama essentially requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test when directed to do so IF you were driving on a public road and the officer has arrested you lawfully for DUI. This is the price we all pay for using public roadways and sharing roads with others. If you were arrested on private property, and the officer did not see you driving on a public roadway, then the implied consent law does not apply.

What if I refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test?

Should you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, your driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days absent legal action on your part. The fact that you refused legal action may be used against you in court if you go to trial for a DUI charge.

Are Miranda rights required in a DUI arrest?

No, not necessarily. Under implied consent laws, we are deemed to have given our "consent" to submit to breathalyzer tests if we use public roads. There are certain situations where Miranda rights may apply (which completely depends on the factors and details surrounding your case), but in the overwhelming majority of DUI arrests in North Alabama, Miranda warnings are not even a point of argument for a DUI defense lawyer handling the case.

What are the penalties that I could be facing for a DUI?

You could be facing a broad range of penalties for a DUI, and each penalty depends on the factors that pertain to your case:

  • For a first offense, you could be facing a fine of up to $2,100 or jail up to 1 year, with a driver's license suspension for 90 days.
  • For a second offense, you could be facing a fine of up to $5,100 or jail time for a maximum of 1 year, with mandatory 5 days served in jail that is not subject to probation, and a revocation of a driver's license for 1 year if the current conviction was within 5 years of the first conviction.
  • For a third offense, you could be facing fines up to $10,100 with mandatory 60 days of jail time and a maximum jail sentence of 1 year, as well as a driver's license revocation for 3 years.
  • For a fourth offense, you could be facing fines of up to $10,100, with a possible felony conviction of up to 10 years of jail time, and a driver's license revocation for 5 years.
How much does it cost to defend a DUI charge?

Legal fees can vary drastically upon a number of factors, so prices are decided on a case-by-case basis. Typically, people who have been arrested for a DUI in North Alabama and are searching for legal guidance can expect to spend a minimum of $500, and a maximum of $15,000. On average, most spend somewhere between $2,500 - $5,000 and some additional expenses.

Relentless DUI Lawyers Serving North Alabama

Please do not be discouraged if a question that has you worried was not included in the above list. We know that there are many facets of DUI defense. Every case is unique, the possibilities and circumstances in a each DUI case are nearly endless. We have included only a small subset of questions that we receive most frequently. Their purpose is to help you better understand your situation and encourage you to think of other questions that you need answers to. Have questions regarding DUI that we have failed to include? Send them to us at questions@crumbleylaw.com.

At Crumbley, Blackwell, Wisda & Associates, P.C. we remind our clients that prior successes are not any indication of future successes. Every case is different and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say, each situation must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The likelihood of success in any given case depends on the facts, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made so that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Should you have additional questions or concerns regarding your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. We have experienced DUI lawyers with nearly 50 years of combined legal experience defending cases across Huntsville, Athens, Decatur, and surrounding areas in North Alabama. Call today at (256) 539-4464 or complete an online case evaluation to schedule your free consultation!

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