Alabama DUI Timeline
Driving Under the Influence timeline in Alabama
1. DUI Stop, Pre-Arrest Tests, Arrest, and the State-Administered Test.
In every DUI case, the police have to, at some point in time, approach the defendant. Unless you are stopped at a roadblock, the police must have what is called “probable cause” to stop a person on the roadway. Prior to arresting someone for driving under the influence of alcohol in Alabama, the police must observe something that leads them to believe that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some other substance that impaired the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Usually, in Alabama DUI case, officers perform field sobriety tests upon suspects. After concluding that there is probable cause to believe that someone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer typically places the suspect under arrest. After the suspect is arrested, he or she is to be advised of their rights under Alabama’s “Implied Consent” Notice. Then, the suspect is typically transported to the jail where a breath test is performed or to a local hospital where a blood test is performed.
Most of the evidence that you will have to attack in your Alabama DUI case is gathered at this stage.
2. Bail and Bonding.
After the arrest, if you are released from jail, you have either “posted” cash for the full amount of your bond, been granted an “O.R.” (own recognizance) bond, posted a property bond (where you or someone on your behalf applied realty to satisfy the bail, or retained the services of a professional surety. In the event that you posted a cash bond, you or the person that actually posted the cash, will receive the full amount of the cash bond upon the conclusion of your DUI case. If you posted a cash bond, the full amount will be returned to the person who posted the bond upon final resolution of your case.
3. 10-Day Letter (Request for Hearing upon the Administrative License Suspension).
If you are charged with a DUI in Alabama, you must act within 10 days from the date of your arrest in order to keep your driver’s license from being suspended or revoked. If you are in any of the categories listed below, you must request a hearing within 10 days or your license may be suspended for up to 1 year:
• If you submitted to the state-administered breath test and your test result registered .08 or higher, you should act immediately to request a hearing.
• If you were under 21 years of age at the time you received a DUI and you submitted to the state-administered breath test that registered .02 or higher, you should act immediately to request a hearing.
• If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you were in a commercial vehicle at the time you received a DUI, and you submitted to the state-administered breath test that registered .04 or higher, you should act immediately to request a hearing.
• If you refused to take the test requested by the officer that arrested you for DUI, you should act immediately to request a hearing.
If you are uncertain of what the officer requested, whether you properly submitted to the requested test, or what your test result was, you should act immediately to request a hearing.
4. Administrative License Suspension Hearing.
This hearing may cause a suspension of your driver’s license, but this does not prevent the suspension of your driver’s license in the criminal portion of your DUI case. The administrative license suspension hearing in your Alabama DUI case is limited to following issues:
• Whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest.
• Whether at the time of the request for the test or tests the officer informed the person of the person’s implied consent rights and the consequence of submitting or refusing to submit to such tees.
• Whether the person refused the test; or whether a test or tests were administered and the results indicated an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more or, for a person under the age of 21, an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, for a person operating or having actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more.
• Whether the test or tests were properly administered by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the Division of Forensic Sciences of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation on an instrument approved by the Division of Forensic Sciences or a test conducted by the Division of Forensic Sciences, including whether the machine at the time of the test was operated with all its electronic and operating components prescribed by its manufacturer properly attached and in good working order, which shall be required. A copy of the operator’s permit showing that the operator has been trained on the particular type of instrument used and one of the original copies of the test results or, where the test is performed by the Division of Forensic Sciences, a copy of the crime lab report shall satisfy the requirements of this subparagraph.
The arraignment date in your case marks the beginning of the formal criminal process. You have the right to be formally arraigned upon the charges in your case. This means that if you chose to, you appear before the court and have the judge or the prosecutor read the charges pending against you out loud.
After the formal reading of the charges, you would announce your plea of guilty or not guilty. In all actuality, this formal process is very rarely followed. In almost every Alabama DUI case, the arraignment is now waived by the attorney. When we file the waiver for you, you will be relieved of the responsibility of appearing in court for a formal arraignment in your case.
6. Motions Hearings
In your motions hearings, we ask the judge to require the state to produce evidence that we feel should have been turned over to us during discovery and we ask the judge to exclude certain from the trial of the case. The importance of the motions hearings upon your Alabama DUI case cannot be overstated. Frequently, the state will fail to meet its burden of proof upon certain items of evidence in your DUI case and the exclusion of these items of evidence can lead to the state dismissing or reducing your DUI charge. Motions hearings also give you an opportunity to hear the officer testify under oath regarding the case. A transcript of the officer’s testimony can be used to contradict his testimony later at trial.
7. Calendar Calls and Other Status Hearings.
Generally, calendar calls and status hearings are used by the courts to determine whether the parties (the State and the Defendant) are ready for trial.
In Alabama, a trial in your DUI case may take place before a judge or a jury. A skilled Alabama DUI lawyer can assist you in making an informed decision regarding whether a bench or jury trial will provide you with the best opportunity to prevail in your case.