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dui attorney in alabama

What to Do if You’re Pulled Over for DUI in Alabama

Being stopped for drunk driving in Alabama can be a frightening experience, especially if this is the first time. There are harsh legal consequences for a DUI conviction, such as heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. The outcome of your case will depend heavily on what you do during the initial stop and the steps you take shortly thereafter.

There are several “dos” and “don’ts” to follow during a DUI stop and subsequent arrest:

Do be Respectful

When you are pulled over for DUI, it is understandable to be rattled and shaken. However, do your best to stay calm and maintain your composure. No matter how the officer is treating you, it is always in your best interests be polite, courteous, and respectful. Never be rude to an officer, and if they ask you to step out of the car, comply with their request without complaint. The way you conduct yourself at the initial stop could be helpful later on in negotiating a deal with the prosecutor.

Do Provide the Required Information

There are three pieces of information you are required to provide a police officer when you are stopped; your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Have these documents ready to hand over to the officer when he/she approaches your vehicle. Try to avoid having to fish around for this information when the officer is at your window. Provide the required information when the officer asks for it, then place both hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them.

Don’t Answer Additional Questions

After you have provided the officer with the required information, you are under no obligation to answer any further questions. It is important to understand that if an officer pulls you over for DUI, they already suspect that you are guilty. The questions they ask you may seem like “small talk”, but they are designed to obtain probable cause for a DUI arrest. If an officer asks you how much you have had to drink, do not give them an answer like, “just a couple of beers.”  Do not admit to any type of guilt at all. Instead, politely decline to answer the question and let the officer know that you need to speak with your attorney first.

Don’t Submit to a Field Sobriety Test (FST)

Field sobriety tests are those that are conducted at the roadside during a DUI stop. Examples may include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, or following an object with your eyes. Preliminary alcohol screenings (PAS) are another type of FST that help establish your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time you are pulled over. In general, there is no good reason to submit to a field sobriety test unless you are absolutely certain that you are under the legal limit of .08 BAC. Without the results from an FST, there is less evidence that can be used against you to establish probable cause for the arrest and eventually obtain a conviction.

Do Submit to the Chemical Test after the Arrest

Under Alabama’s “implied consent” law, you are required to submit to a chemical (breath, blood or urine) test if probable cause is found to place you under arrest for DUI. Refusal to take this test can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license along with other enhanced penalties. Your refusal may also be used as evidence by the prosecutor to argue to the jury that you are guilty of what you are charged with.

Do Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

Many individuals who are pulled over for drunk driving wonder if it will make any difference to contact a DUI attorney. After all, if the police and prosecution already have proof that you were over the legal limit, how is a lawyer going to get you out of it? Although the state may have ample evidence against you, there are often weaknesses in their case that are not always readily apparent. A DUI lawyer can thoroughly assess the specific circumstances of your case and put together the most effective defense strategy to minimize the negative consequences as much as possible.

For a discreet and confidential consultation with our skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney, call our office today at (334) 345-2765, or send us a message through our online contact form.

do i need to call the police after an accident in alabama?

Do I Need to Call the Police to the Scene of an Accident in Alabama?

The average driver is involved in 3 to 4 accidents throughout their lifetime. Chances are, by the time you turn 30, you will probably have been in at least one auto accident. Vehicle accidents are unsettling for everyone involved. Even minor accidents can shake you up and get your heart racing as you try to resolve the situation.

One of the common questions those involved in an accident often ask is, “do I need to call the police?” In Alabama, you are required to call the police to the scene of an accident if the accident results in a personal injury, fatality, or property damage exceeding $250. This is what the law says, and although you may not be required to call the police for every motor vehicle accident, it is usually a good idea to do so.

There are several reasons why you should call the police to the scene of an accident in Alabama, here are 3 of the most important:

Injuries are Not always Known Right Away

One reason it is generally best to contact the police after a motor vehicle accident is that, although it might appear that nobody was hurt, some injuries are not felt right away after an accident. This is often due to the adrenaline rushing through people that were involved in a collision. Just like an athlete who continues playing in a game after getting hurt, people involved in an accident may not feel their injuries until several hours later. By contacting the police, you will ensure that you are following the law in the event that someone ends up with a personal injury.

The Police Provide Third-Party Documentation

Whenever you are involved in an accident with someone you don’t know, you never know how they will end up handling the situation. For example, everyone may be friendly and polite to each other at the time of the accident, but later on, people might change their stories. By getting a police report, you have third-party verification of the events that occurred which resulted in the accident. This helps protect everyone involved, and if you do end up being hurt, the police report can be used as one of the pieces of evidence if you decide to pursue an injury claim.  

A Police Report Makes It Easier to Prove Fault

If you are involved in an auto accident in Alabama, you will need to prove that the other party was 100% at-fault in order to obtain compensation for your injuries. This is because of Alabama’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% liable for the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. This is why a police report is critical with these types of cases. You will need this and other forms of evidence to prove your case.

What Else should I Do at the Scene of a Car Accident in Alabama?

In addition to contacting the police, there are several other steps you should take immediately after an auto accident:

  • Call 911: As mentioned earlier, many injuries are not immediately apparent after a vehicle collision. Even with a minor collision, it is best to have everyone checked out to make sure they are all okay.
  • Document Everything: It is helpful to have a police report, but it is also a good idea to have your own documentation as well. Take multiple photographs of the scene from as many angles as possible to show exactly what happened. And if you happen to have a dashboard camera, make sure to capture the video footage of the incident. Finally, whenever it is convenient, write down in as much detail as possible what happened. After the police report is filed, obtain a copy and cross reference it with your own report to make sure any mistakes on the police report can be corrected.
  • Report the Accident to your Insurer: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to report what happened. Do not admit any fault to your insurer or anyone else, leave that to the experts to sort out. Just give them the facts about the incident.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or any of your loved ones have any type of injury resulting from the accident, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer. A seasoned attorney can thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so the sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation.

DUI and the Holidays

DUI and the Holidays

The holidays are a festive season that we love to enjoy with our family and friends. For most of us, this is a favorite time of the year when we look forward to time off from work and more time celebrating with those closest to us. Many of the parties and gatherings we attend involve alcohol, and sadly, this causes an increase in drunk driving and DUI-related accidents during this time of year.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports some sobering statistics regarding DUI and the holidays. From 2012 through 2016 (the last five years on record), just under 4,000 individuals were killed in crashes that involved drunk driving in the month of December. This accounts for 28% of auto accident fatalities during the last month of the year. Just in the week of Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve alone, an average of over 300 individuals per year are killed in DUI-related crashes.

Alabama police are well-aware of the spike in drunk driving during the holidays, and you can expect beefed up enforcement in all 67 counties throughout the state during the month of December and into New Year’s. There will be more officers patrolling the streets, and an increase in DUI checkpoints to try and keep the situation under control.

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Alabama, the consequences can be very harsh. Penalties for DUI in the Yellowhammer State just for a first-offense may include:

  • Fines of up to $2100 plus court costs;
  • Up to one year in county jail or mandatory probation;
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 90 days or the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID);
  • Mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

Penalties may be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances such as a second or subsequent DUI, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, child endangerment, and DUIs involving serious injury or death.

A DUI conviction can cost you in several other ways as well. For example, having a drunk driving conviction on your criminal record can make it more difficult to obtain housing, loans, employment, and admission to college. And if your job requires a professional license, you may have difficulty obtaining the license or getting it renewed.

Staying Safe and Avoiding a DUI During the Holidays

With Alabama law enforcement on high alert this time of year, there is no sense putting yourself or others at risk by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated during the holiday season. Here are four tips to help you stay safe at your holiday gatherings:

1. Bring a Designated Driver

If possible, bring someone along who is going to stay sober for the evening. Even if they don’t drive you there, they can always drive your car home if necessary. If you can’t find a designated driver to come along with you, try to at least have someone available to call for a ride home when the evening is over.

2. Use a Cab or Rideshare Service

If there is no one among your group of friends that is sober and able to drive you home, plan to take a cab or Uber. Have the phone number to a cab company, or have your information prepopulated in the ridesharing app on your phone to make it easier to contact them when you’re ready to go.

3. Plan to Stay at a Hotel/Motel or a Friend’s House

One of the best ways to avoid a DUI during the holidays is to book a room at a hotel or motel near the party, or plan to stay at a friend’s place that is nearby. This way, you can go to the party without any worries about how you will get home.

4. Stick to the Plan

Planning ahead for your holiday party is great, but the plan can only work if you commit to sticking to it. Sometimes after people drink too much, they exercise poor judgment and deviate from the plan. For example, you might think, “I’m only a couple blocks from home, so I’m okay to drive.” Do NOT fall into this trap.Decide ahead of time that you will not drive drunk under any circumstances, and if needed, have someone else along who you can count on to hold you accountable.

Pulled Over for Drunk Driving? Contact an Alabama DUI Attorney

Maybe you already made the mistake of getting behind the wheel drunk and got arrested for DUI. If so, you need strong legal counsel in your corner to help mitigate the circumstances as much as possible. At Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, we have an in-depth understanding of Alabama DUI laws, and we know the most effective defense strategies to minimize the negative consequences of a drunk driving arrest. For a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, call our office today at 334-737-3718, or send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.