In the grand scheme of things, Alabama’s felony DUI laws are relatively new. Some forms of DUI were introduced as a felony in 1994, though the law has continued to take shape since then.
Driving under the influence, more commonly known as a DUI, is a serious concern. Not only are legal consequences established for DUI, but being convicted could also lead to personal and professional effects. For instance, having a felony on your record could mean that you do not land a job for which you applied.
When you are facing a DUI, you need to have a solid grasp of the consequences that could be awaiting you. Understanding Alabama’s felony laws and consequences will help you see why hiring a strong criminal defense lawyer is crucial.
What Is a Felony DUI?
To be charged with a DUI as a felony, you typically must have been convicted with a fourth DUI within five years. This offense is considered a Class-C felony in Alabama, and the charges are grave.
Alabama bases its felony laws on the idea that you have been convicted of DUIs on three separate occasions and continue to show disregard for the rules. Of course, the law is not always as cut and dry as many like to think.
Additionally, you may be charged with a felony if your DUI links to death or serious injury resulting from an accident. The level of offense coincides with the level of damage associated with the accident and even blood alcohol content.
What Are the Consequences of Felony DUI?
Alabama has harsh penalties for felony DUI cases, and the consequences have increased in recent years. This list is only a sampling of the potential consequences facing you after sentencing for a felony DUI.
Prison Time – Class-C felonies accompany a mandatory prison sentence, though the court may suspend your sentence in some situations. Prison time ranges from 1 to 10 years.
Driver’s License Suspension – You may face suspension of your driver’s license for up to five years if the court convicts you of a felony DUI.Fines – Felony DUI comes with a penalty ranging from $4,100 to $10,000. These fines are on top of fees associated with other types of punishments.
Substance Abuse Program – In some cases, the court will sentence the individual to a court-approved substance abuse program.
Probation – You may be granted probation by the court if you agree to enroll in a state-certified chemical dependency program, but the judge must approve of this first.
Ignition Interlock Device – You may be required to have an ignition interlock device for up to five years after you receive your driver’s license post-suspension. In addition to paying for the device installation, you must also pay for its maintenance and a $75 monthly fee for the entirety of the time you have it.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Fight Felony DUI Charges?
Everybody should hire an attorney if they find themselves facing charges in court. Even a first-time DUI has substantial consequences.
In some cases, people who are not even guilty of a crime can be convicted of DUI. An attorney will help you fight back against the notion that you have committed a crime.
When it comes to felony DUI, you will find nuances in the law that do not exist for other types of felonies. For example, you might need an attorney to help fight against steep consequences that include loss of a license.
Simms & Associates offers the assurance you need when you feel like your back is up against the wall. Facing felony charges is no laughing matter, and we know how to best approach the situation. Call us today to set up a consultation for your upcoming case.