Alabama DUI Courts
As a driver, you probably know how dangerous it is to operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, despite this knowledge, countless motorists are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Alabama alone. Unfortunately, these individuals find themselves facing a number of consequences when their case is brought before the Alabama DUI courts.
Where Will Your DUI Case Be Tried?
There are two factors that will be considered in order to determine which of Alabama’s many courts will preside over your DUI case: your prior history of DUI and which police department arrested you. If you were pulled over by a county officer and have no more than two prior drunk driving convictions on your record, your offense will most likely be classified as a misdemeanor—which means your case will probably be tried in municipal or county court.
On the other hand, if you were arrested by a county officer and have been convicted of three or more DUIs within the past five years, your DUI may be upgraded to a felony offense. In such instances, your case will usually be tried in a circuit or district county court, rather than a municipal or county court.
So what’s the difference between the two court systems? Well, whereas municipal and district courts only handle misdemeanor cases, circuit and district county courts oversee more serious felony cases. What’s more, while misdemeanor cases are overseen by a judge, you have the option to receive a jury trial if your case is classified as a felony offense.
Penalties For DUI
Regardless of which court handles your case, you can expect to receive little leniency if you are convicted of driving under the influence. Assuming it is your first offense, your sentence may include up to $2,100 in fines, as well as a 90-day license suspension and/or possible jail sentence—and if you are a repeat offender (meaning you have been convicted of one or more DUIs within the past five years), you’ll face even harsher penalties.