Criminal defense attorney Sam Dixon is a warrior. A road warrior for those falsely charged with Driving under the Influence or DUI in Birmingham, Alabama and the surrounding areas. Hundreds of people are falsely charged and convicted under Alabama's DUI statute every year. Sam has successfully handled thousands of DUI cases and you should call us for a free consultation today.
- The Law -- Basically you may be convicted of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof. To be convicted of a DUI while under the influence of drugs, the drug can be prescription or over the counter. You may be convicted of a DUI while riding a horse, a lawnmower, or tractor on the public roadways of Alabama.
A DUI in Alabama can be a difficult thing to prove. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were operating a motor vehicle, upon a state road, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof, to such an extent that you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.
- To Blow or Not to Blow – In most cases of DUI in Alabama the State Trooper, Sheriff's Deputy or city Police Office, will request that you blow into a breathalyzer that measures your breath alcohol content. They will sometimes do this on the side of the road with a hand-held device, and at the station where you are booked for a DUI, such as the county or city jail. The hand-held device used on the side of the road is inadmissible in court other than to prove probable- cause, but it can a substantive issue in your DUI case. If you blow over a .08 then you are presumed to have been intoxicated to such an extent that you could not operate a motor vehicle safely upon the road. Anything less than a .08 is presumption under the law that you were not intoxicated. You may still be charged with a DUI with a breath test that comes in under .08 and you can still win a DUI case with a breath test that is over .08. Remember, the tests themselves are merely evidence that can be attacked through various methods and discredited. Thus, there are risks and benefits to either choice.
Honestly, there is not a great answer to this question. We normally would advise no one give potential evidence to the police and that you should not blow at any time. However, if you do not blow your license will be suspended for usually 90 days and in some instances, would prevent you from obtaining a deferred prosecution in some jurisdictions.
In either situation, we can offer a strong defense to your charges and we have been successful many times keeping client's licenses and keeping a Driving Under the Influence Charge off our client's records in either situation.
If you have been drinking heavily, you should not get behind the wheel. But if you do, and you are pulled over, you should not give any evidence to the police. If you blow over a .15 then you will be subject to the Aggravated DUI Statute that has significantly higher costs and harsher penalties. If you are convicted under the Aggravated DUI Statute you will also have to have an ignition interlock device placed upon your vehicle for two years. Losing your license for a few months is a much better consequence than having interlock devices on your car for two years.
- Field-Sobriety Tests – Similar to breath tests FST, or Field Sobriety Tests can be a double-edged sword. Again, we normally advise to not take these tests unless you are sure you can pass and have not been drinking alcohol. These tests are completely subjective and extremely hard to pass for anyone, not just someone under the influence of alcohol. Under most circumstances you are merely giving evidence to be used against you in a prosecution for DUI. However, we have had situations where a video of the Field Sobriety Test vindicated our client.
Remember, you have the right under our Constitution to refuse any test. It cannot be used against you in court, and it cannot be used as a presumption of guilt. If you refused all tests, the State would then have to prove, to a jury of your peers, your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Without the FST and the Breath Test, the only evidence remaining are the arresting officer's observations. This places a heavy burden upon the State and through good experienced legal counsel, you can fight these charges through trial, and often having the charges dismissed or reduced prior to trial.
- What Happens If I am Charged with a DUI – If you are charged with driving under the influence or a DUI in Alabama, you should immediately contact Sam Dixon, here at Dixon Law. They will usually take your license. You have only ten days to challenge your imminent driver's license suspension. They will usually provide you with a yellow-form called an AST-60 form. This form gives you the right to drive for 45 more days or until your license suspension takes effect. It will usually also list some of the reasons the officer believed you to be under the influence. On the back of the form you will find laws pertaining to your suspension and your right to challenge that suspension in court. We can often have any possible suspension stayed immediately and get your license back.
You will receive a court date and will need to be present during all court proceedings unless your attorney advises you otherwise. You may have several court proceedings up to a trial. We oftentimes are able to resolve a DUI without the need for trial, but if trial is necessary we will aggressively defend your rights. If you lose at trial, you will have a right to appeal to a jury trial.
AL Code § 32-5A-191
Driving while under influence of alcohol, controlled substances, etc.
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while:
(1) There is 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood;
(2) Under the influence of alcohol;
(3) Under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving;
(4) Under the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving; or
(5) Under the influence of any substance which impairs the mental or physical faculties of such person to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.
If you have been charged with Driving under the Influence or a DUI in Alabama, give DUI Attorney Sam Dixon a call. Dixon Law regularly defends clients charged with a DUI in the Municipal Court of Birmingham, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Pelham, Alabaster, Hoover, and other surrounding areas. The consequences of a guilty verdict or guilty plea can be severe for your reputation, finances, car insurance, and you could even face jail time. Call us immediately at 205-616-8896.