Alabama is growing, and with more people moving in, so is the number of people who are bringing their past history with DUI law. If you have a DUI conviction in your past, you may be wondering whether or not that conviction could lead to your being charged as a repeat offender if you find yourself accused of a separate DUI offense here in Alabama. Because each state monitors driving and criminal history separately, the information may not travel automatically, and some states may not honor a DUI conviction in the same way others might.
Well, the answer to this question has both some good news and some bad news for those with a previous DUI history. The overwhelming majority of states, including Alabama, have struck up a deal whereby they all agree to exchange information when it comes to driver’s license information and violation history. That means everything from traffic tickets to DUI convictions can and will follow you from your previous home to Alabama and vice versa.
Therefore, it is still highly likely that you will be charged as a repeat offender in Alabama, even though your first offense came in a different state. However, this is where the good news is: Alabama law may actually be more lenient when it comes to seeing you as a repeat offender than your home state may have been. Take North Carolina for example. North Carolina has a seven-year lookback period for license suspension purposes, which means that for seven years from the date of your arrest, you will be considered a repeat offender when it comes to having your license suspended. However, in Georgia, that lookback period is only five years. So if you’re charged with a second DUI in Alabama six years after your previous one in North Carolina, you’ll be looked at as a first-time offender when it comes to license suspension.
However, Alabama is also more stringent than other states in other regards. For third and fourth-time repeat offenders, Alabama looks at your lifetime driving history, without regard to any lookback periods. That means even though you may come from a state where there’s a limited look back period on every offense, whether it’s your third, fourth, or more. In your prior state, you may not be seen as a repeat offender, but in Alabama, it will be. Even if it’s more than 10 years, 20 years, or more!
What About Alabamans in Out-of-State DUIs?
If you live in Alabama and are arrested for DUI out of state, the state where you are arrested will be the one where your case will be handled, and that means you’ll be subject to that state’s laws and procedures. You’ll need to find a DUI attorney in that state, and you’ll need to adhere to all of their local laws and deadlines. Make sure you find out what they are—some states have extremely limited periods in which to file for things like a license suspension hearing.
Likewise, if you are convicted out of state, you could have your license suspended, even though you live in Alabama. The penalties will carry over to Alabama, and Alabama will honor them as a part of the pact between states to carry driver’s license records and information.
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, make sure you have a Birmingham DUI attorney on your side who can help you! Call Tidwell Law Group at (205) 536-7770 today to request a consultation.