If you’re arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, there’s a pretty strong chance that your penalties will include a mandatory driver’s license suspension. Even a first-time offender can face a mandatory suspension for 90 days, during which time you are prohibited from operating a vehicle on public roads. However, there are some instances where someone’s ability to work or fulfill other important responsibilities requires them to be able to drive.
This is where the state of Alabama’s laws have lagged significantly behind its neighbors in terms of DUI laws: Alabama does not have a hardship license or DUI restricted license program. If you’re ordered to have your license suspended, you will lose your ability to drive for the duration of the suspension. This is one of the reasons why it’s absolutely crucial that you contact a Birmingham DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you’re arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
Let’s look at an example of when this might be an issue. Say you work some distance away, no public transportation could possibly get you where you need to be before you’re required to be there, and you have no family members who could drive you each morning. In this instance, your livelihood depends on your ability to drive. Yet Alabama’s laws state that you still won’t be eligible to drive if your license has been suspended.
How to Keep Your Driving Privileges
There are a few ways you may be able to keep your driving privileges after a DUI conviction, however. First-time offenders have the strongest odds of being able to do this. If you are convicted, you may have your license suspended for up to 90 days, but you may also be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed for six months. If you’re working with an attorney, you may be able to petition your prosecutor of the judge in your case to allow you to install the interlock device and not have your license suspended. Explaining your situation and how the suspension would create this undue hardship will more than likely help your case.
During the time your ignition interlock device is in your car, you will be required to maintain liability insurance, and that will add a significant financial burden to your life. However, you still will be able to drive as you did previously, and that fact alone can be monumental when your livelihood depends on it.
However, for repeat offenders facing their second or third offense within five years’ time, the odds of being able to do this is significantly diminished. Not only will you face up to a year in jail and immense fines, but your license suspension will last for a year (for a second offense), three years (third offenses), or five years (fourth offenses). You will also be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
If you’re facing a DUI charge and are at risk for losing your livelihood if your license is suspended, don’t hesitate to contact Tidwell Law Group by dialing (205) 536-7770 now!