DUI & DWI in Alaska
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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious charge. In Alaska, as with most U.S. states, you are considered legally drunk if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or greater.
If you are charged with a DUI, it is suggested that you consult with a good DUI attorney. This by no means condones drinking and driving, but the severity of a DUI charge, even a first offense, is such that legal representation is of the utmost importance.
In Alaska, the DMV regulations say that if you hold a driver's license, you have given the state what is known as "implied consent." That means, if you are stopped by an officer on a suspicion of DUI, you have already given the officer permission to test your breath or blood for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
If you refuse to take the test, this is considered a separate offense by itself and, even if you are acquitted of DUI, holds its own penalties. Penalties can come from both criminal charges and civil charges. Penalties that come from the Division of Motor Vehicles are known as Administrative.
Administrative Penalties can include: driver's license revocation or cancellation, fees to apply for a restricted license (only after 90 days of license suspension), Ignition Interlocking Device (IID), the requirement to retest for your license and pay those fees and attending an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).
If you are convicted of DUI and refused to test, you may face a higher fine, longer license suspension and a longer DUI program requirement.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC), is the system of measure used to determine how much alcohol is in your bloodstream. The blood alcohol limit in Alaska is 0.08%, unless you are operating a commercial vehicle, in which case the limit is 0.04%.
If you are arrested for suspicion of DUI and you are suspected of also being under the influence of drugs, the officer may require that you undergo a blood or urine test to determine the presence of drugs in your bloodstream.
Zero Tolerance Under 21
Those who are 14 to 21 years old will face penalties for have ANY readable BAC when operating a motor vehicle, watercraft or aircraft. You will face criminal penalties such as fines, jail time and alcohol programs and the lose of your driving privileges. Additionally there are Administrative penalties that will cost you your license as well. If you violate the Zero Tolerance law the Division of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license regardless of any criminal charges. These penalties are based on number of offenses:
- 1st offense: 30 days.
- 2nd offense: 60 days.
- 3rd offense: 90 days.
- 4th and subsequent offenses: 1 year.
The suspension goes into effect 11 days after the notice of suspension/revocation. If you wish to contest the suspension you can do so by requesting an Administrative hearing. (See below)
DUI is considered a criminal offense. When you're arrested for DUI, you face both criminal penalties from the court and administrative action by the DMV.
The Division of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license once you are arrested, regardless of any penalties given by the court. You will face minimum driver's license suspension times of:
- 1st offense: 90 days.
- 2nd offense: 1 year.
- 3rd offense: 3 years
- 4th and subsequent offenses: 5 years.
If you wish to contest the suspension you can do so by requesting an Administrative hearing.
In addition to the administrative suspensions you face criminal charges by the courts. The DUI offense is considered by the courts to be a Class A misdemeanor. The criminal penalties for DUI in Alaska are stiff. You may be sentenced to a fine, jail time, and/or referral to a drug or alcohol treatment program.
If you wish to contest a driver's license suspension by the Division of Motor Vehicles you can request an Administrative hearing. This request must be made within 10 days of your notice of suspension/revocation. Once you request a hearing a temporary license will be issued to you to use until your hearing.
It is important to be prepared for your hearing, as well as to understand the procedure.
Here's what you will need to do in order to have your license reinstated after a DUI conviction: