Your Anchorage DUI Case: The Basics

Everyone at the office is talking about your co-worker, Penny. She always shows up to work late. She frequently has red, watery eyes and slow, slurred speech. Today, she's more disheveled than normal and keeps nodding off at her desk. You really don't understand how she doesn't get fired. During lunch, you watched her walk to the parking lot and try getting into the wrong car. You tried to stop her from driving away, but she almost ran you down. Penny pulled out of the parking lot and managed to hit an Anchorage Police officer. Well, at least something stopped her.

In all seriousness, DUI arrests happen every day and in countless different ways. Here's some general information about an Anchorage DUI case.

Anchorage DUI: A Crime and An Administrative Issue

A DUI in Anchorage is considered a criminal offense. But that's not all. When you're arrested and convicted of a DUI, you face both criminal penalties and administrative action by the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles.

DUI Charges

In Anchorage, under Alaska Stat. § 28.35.030 a driver can be charged with being impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both if he or she:

  • Had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher;
  • Was under the influence or affected by an intoxicating liquor or drug;
  • Was under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol.

It's important to know that "drugs" doesn't refer only to illegal street narcotics. Medications that were prescribed or sold over-the-counter (depression medications, pain killers or sleep agents) can also create an intoxicating effect. Legally possessing the medication is not a defense. If you are "high" and driving, you can be charged.

Anchorage Criminal DUI Penalties

1. First DUI Conviction

  • Misdemeanor
  • Minimum 72 Consecutive Hours in Jail;
  • Minimum $1,500 Fine;
  • 10 points Added to Your Driving Record;
  • 90 Day License Suspension; and/or
  • Order to Complete Drug or Alcohol Evaluation and Possible Treatment Program.

2. Second DUI Conviction in Five Years

  • Misdemeanor
  • Minimum 20 Days in Jail;
  • Minimum $3,000 fine;
  • 1 Year License Revocation Up to Five Years; and/or
  • Order to Complete Drug or Alcohol Evaluation and Possible Treatment Program.

3. Third DUI Conviction in Ten Years

  • Class C Felony;
  • Minimum 60 Days in Jail;
  • Minimum $4,000 fine;
  • 1 Year License Revocation Up to Five Years; and/or
  • Order to Complete Drug or Alcohol Evaluation and Possible Treatment Program.

Can I Get a Restricted License?

You may still be able to drive in some situations. However, it's all dependent upon your treatment, driving and criminal history. You have to apply for a Limited Driving Privilege (PDF). A Limited Driving Privilege will require an employment certificate and certificate of good standing from an alcohol counseling center.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers

If you drive for a living, pay close attention. Under Alaska Stat. § 28.33.150, the BAC limit is lower for commercial drivers, .04 or higher. These penalties are especially harsh. In addition to the criminal repercussions we already mentioned, your driver's license will be suspended for one year. If you were transporting hazardous material, you'll lose your license for three years.

Thinking of doing it a second time? You will lose your commercial license for life. It's possible to get that reduced to ten years, but there are no guarantees.

Alaska Under 21 DUI

Alaska has zero tolerance if you are under 21 years of age and are caught drinking and driving. If you have any alcohol in your system and decide to drive, you are violating the law.

The court may order your license to be suspended for 30 days for the first conviction, for 60 days for a subsequent conviction for any alcohol or drug-related offense while driving; for 90 days if you have 2 earlier revocations for this offense, or one year if you have three or more earlier revocations. You may also have to pay a large fine, and perform community service. In addition, you may have to undergo a Juvenile Alcohol Safety Program (PDF).

Last, but not least, it's also possible you could be charged and sentenced just like a person over 21.

DMV Penalties and Your Driver's License

Remember we told you that a DUI is really a two-part process -- criminal and administrative? Let's discuss the administrative part more in depth.

The DMV will handle your license suspension pursuant to Alaska's implied consent laws. First of all, when you were arrested for DUI, the arresting officer immediately revoked your Alaska driver privilege.

If you want to contest the revocation, you'll need to go through an administrative hearing. The hearings focus only on:

  1. Was your BAC .08 or higher or did you refuse to give a breath sample?
    or
  2. Did the arresting officer have probable cause to believe that you were operating or driving a motor vehicle while under the influence?

You'll need to request this hearing. It is not automatic, but act quickly. You only have seven from the date of your arrest to request the hearing.

Requesting a hearing may allow you to continue driving without any restrictions. The DMV will supply a temporary license that is valid up to administrative hearing date.

Anchorage DUIs -- the Final Word

Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time, who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, hail a yellow taxi, or use the People Mover. If you have been charged with a DUI, you may want to consider speaking to an Anchorage criminal defense attorney about your specific circumstances.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.