Alabama DUI / DWI charges can be prosecuted under one (or both) of two theories. First, Alabama DUI charges can be brought against someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs refers to a person whose physical or mental capabilities are impaired by an intoxicant. It relates to the driver’s impaired ability to drive a vehicle in Alabama.
Alabama DUI arrests can also be based on violation of Alabama’s per se laws, making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher. This type of Alabama DUI charge can be brought whether or not the person is actually impaired. Violating Alabama’s per se limit of .08 means that the prosecution can be based only on body chemistry, and have nothing to do with the way the person is actually driving their car.
Alabama DUI law does not require that the person be caught driving the car! Alabama is an “actual physical control” state, which means that under Alabama DUI law, just being in the car may be good enough for police. Actual physical control is the exclusive physical power, and present ability, to operate, move, park, or direct whatever use or nonuse is to be made of a motor vehicle at the moment, as determined by the totality of the circumstances. For instance, a person who meets one of the above conditions and who is asleep in, or simply sitting in, a motor vehicle may be guilty of DUI, DWI or drunk driving.
Alabama DUI law creates additional punishment and penalties for anyone that refused to take a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine following their lawful arrest for drunk driving in Alabama. A refusal to test carries with it a 90-day driver’s license suspension, with no chance at a restricted license during that time. The prosecutor will also try to use your refusal to test against you in the criminal court case, arguing under Alabama DUI law that this is consciousness of guilt. A skilled Alabama DUI defense attorney will be able to rebut these arguments, as there are many reasons why an innocent person might refuse these drinking and driving tests.