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Stopped for DUI in Alabama: Here’s What You Need to Do

Dui In Alabama

Anytime you look in your rearview mirror to see the red and blue lights of a police car can be stressful, no matter what the reason for the stop. Being pulled over for suspected DUI can be especially intense because of the ramifications of the charge. If you live in Alabama, it is important to know your rights and how you should conduct yourself when being pulled over. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense that can stay with you and on your record for years, especially if you incriminate yourself further due to not knowing your rights when dealing with law enforcement.

This article will help guide you through dealing with this type of interaction as well as give you information on the penalties and laws regarding DUIs in Alabama. Knowing your rights and how to conduct yourself can lessen the consequences of getting a DUI charge. 

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Alabama?

To be considered legally drunk, a regular driver’s blood alcohol level needs to be .08 or higher for all non-commercial drivers. If you happen to drive a commercial vehicle in Alabama, your blood alcohol level needs to be .04 or higher to be legally intoxicated, whereas school bus or daycare drivers have to be greater than .02. This also applies to drivers under the age of 21, as a level of .02 or more is considered illegal.

What to do When Stopped for a DUI

Always Stop for an Officer

Stopping and complying with police when they are pulling you over is very important. Failing to pull over or fleeing the scene of a traffic stop can have very serious consequences, whether you are intoxicated or not. Always stop when so instructed by a police officer. The police are watching you the second they turn on their lights for any strange or erratic behavior, so make sure to play it cool and keep calm. 

Cooperate and Follow Instructions

No matter if you feel the stop was justified or not, it is important to follow the instructions the officers are giving you or else you could be arrested for suspicion of DUI. Politeness and cooperation will only help you during your stop. Turn the vehicle off and exit the car with your hands raised. Never give the police the opportunity to get suspicious or weary of you. Be very cooperative and do what is necessary to protect yourself as well. 

Do Not Incriminate Yourself 

When you answer questions, remember the only information you are required to give the police officer(s) is your name, your driver’s license, your car registration and your insurance information. You are not legally obligated to answer any other questions if you are not comfortable. Make sure to say “I am sorry, but I do not want to answer any more questions without my attorney present.” This will keep you from incriminating yourself by answering further questions. 

Refuse Field Sobriety Tests

You are within your rights to refuse any and all field sobriety tests (FSTs) when you are pulled over for suspected DUI. While implied consent laws state that by giving your license over, you submit to taking tests, unless the officer has good reason to think you are under the influence, you can refuse without consequences, but if the officers have reason, there can be penalties. The officers will most likely say it is in your best interest to comply, but that is only so they can establish a probable cause for your drunk driving arrest. Do not give them fodder for the arrest. If arrested, a chemical test will be given at the station and that may also be refused. 

If you refuse the field sobriety tests or any chemical test, there may be administrative consequences regarding your driver’s license suspension. However, you will have provided limited evidence of your impairment. The decision of whether to participate in these tests is yours to make. 

Penalties for DUI

First DUI Conviction

With a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or less, the first DUI conviction can see you losing your license for 90 days, unless you opt to have the ignition interlock device installed. You may also face jail time for up to one year or fines up to $2,000 or both. If your blood alcohol level is greater than 0.15%, the ignition interlock device will be installed no matter what and your license will be suspended. First-time offenders are also required to attend a DUI or substance abuse program

Second DUI Conviction

For the second conviction, if it is within ten years of the first offense, you will face mandatory jail time and fines.

Third DUI Conviction

The third conviction will most likely see incarceration not less than 60 days. The fines range from $2,000 to $10,000 as well as a driver’s license revocation period up to three years.

Fourth DUI Conviction

Your Fourth DUI conviction may result in a felony charge with even more severe consequences. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Seasoned DUI Attorney Today

Were you stopped for suspicion of DUI and subsequently charged? Whether it’s your first or fourth charge, it is incredibly stressful to face criminal charges, and the pressure you feel about hiring the right lawyer can make it even worse. You need a lawyer who understands what you’re going through and will give you the best legal services possible.

At Brackin and Johnson, we understand the criminal justice process, how to work with each District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, city prosecutor, or judge handling your criminal case, and the possibilities prior to ever entering the courtroom. 

Our experience allows us to better inform our clients of what to expect prior to even entering the courtroom. We believe in integrity, justice, and honor. We know that going through the legal process is not easy and therefore aim to take as much off of your plate as possible. Contact us today, and let us fight for your future.

Categories DUI

What is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust?

Qualified Personal Residence Trust

You have worked hard your entire life to provide for your loved ones and be able to leave them secure and safe. Part of feeling secure is having a home to live in.

If you want to give your home to a beneficiary and take advantage of recent tax changes, but still live in your home for a while, a QPRT may be right for you. Let’s delve a little more in depth into what exactly a QPRT is and what  to do to be sure it is the type of trust you are looking for.

What is a Qualified Personal Trust?

A qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) is a type of trust that allows the creator of the trust (donor/grantor/settlor) to take a personal home from their estate and give it to a member of their family, loved one, or beneficiary. Establishing a QPRT reduces the amount of gift tax that is incurred when the assets are transferred to the receiving beneficiary. This type of trust allows the grantor to remain living in the residence for a specified period of time, all while retaining interest. Once that period is over, the interest accrued is transferred to the beneficiaries as “remainder interest.” If the grantor dies while living in the residence during the trust period, the estate gets transferred directly to the beneficiaries. If the grantor is still alive when the period ends, they can continue living in the home if they pay a rent to the beneficiary, as the residence will now be theirs legally and not the grantor. 

Depending on the length of the trust period, the value of the property during the retained interest period is calculated using applicable federal rates that the IRS provides. Because the owner of the home retains a fraction of the value, the gift value of the property is lower than its fair market value, which lowers the incurred gift tax. 

How Qualified Personal Residence Trusts Work

A QPRT can be useful when the trust ends before the death of the grantor. If the grantor dies before the term expires, the property is included in the estate and is subject to tax. The risk of the trust lies in determining the length of the trust agreement added to likelihood that the grantor will pass away before the expiration of the trust. Longer-term trusts can benefit from smaller remainder interest given to the beneficiaries, which in turn will reduce gift tax. This is advantageous for younger trust holders who have a lower possibility of passing away prior to the trust end date.

Why Choose a QPRT

Reduces Taxable Estate 

One of the biggest benefits of getting a QPRT is that the trust removes the value of your primary or secondary home and its appreciation from your taxable estate.

Continued Property Use

With your home in a QPRT, you can still live in the property rent-free and enjoy any of the income tax deductions that are associated with the trust.

Gift Tax Benefits

You may be able to avoid gift tax liability because you are giving your residence away. This happens because the trust either falls under the exemption amount or locks in the current value of your home even if the exemption amount is going to eventually be reduced. 

Things to Consider

Like all trusts, a QPRT is a legal document that is binding so it is important to know exactly what you are doing and giving away when you decide to get one. 

A QPRT is Irrevocable

When you put your residence into a QPRT, you are assuming a huge commitment as you cannot change the terms or cancel the trust. Once established, the trust will only terminate upon the death of the grantor.

Mortgage

If the property in the trust has a mortgage attached to it, part of the mortgage payments are considered gifts that will count against the gift tax exemption. 

Taxes

Any QPRT income and expenses are taxed to the grantor.

Get Quality Legal Help with Your Trusts

You want to make sure that your family is protected and taken care of now and after you pass. Having professional legal help you can count on when drafting your trusts is the best way to make sure they get everything they deserve. 

At Brackin & Johnson, we have experienced attorneys that have been preparing estate planning documents of all kinds for decades. Whether your estate planning is simple or very complex, we will provide you with the estate planning solutions that you need to protect your family legacy.
Contact us today and let us assist you with all of your estate planning needs.

Contact Brackin & Johnson Today!

We produce results by getting our clients what they are entitled to receive.

(251) 943-4040

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