Drunk Driving in Alaska: DWI Laws

A DWI arrest in Alaska triggers two separate cases, and you must defend both after being arrested. First there is the court case, which may result in jail time, fines, and more. There will also be a DMV case where you may lose your license. You must request a DMV hearing within seven days.

The table below outlines the general fines and punishments for various convictions of DUI in Alaska. Keep in mind, penalties may vary depending on blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, injuries, and other factors. It is always best to consult with an attorney regarding a DUI conviction in Alaska.

Alaska DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension*
1st Conviction $1,500 3 Days
90 Days
2nd Conviction $3,000 20 Days
1 Year
3rd Conviction $4,000 60 Days
3 Years
4th Conviction $5,000 120 Days
5 Years

The Court: Two Theories

Alaska DWI charges can be brought against someone whose physical or mental capabilities are impaired by an intoxicant. Driving patterns, your sobriety test performance, or chemical test results demonstrate impairment.

Alternatively, if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 per cent or higher, you can be charged with DWI regardless of whether you’re actually impaired. It is based solely on blood alcohol content and not affected by your ability to actually drive.

Court Repercussions

Alaska DWI convictions are normally misdemeanors, but a DWI can be tried as a felony if it’s a third offense (or greater) or you’ve caused injury. Punishment includes fines, jail time and community service.

DMV Repercussions

If you refuse a breath test, or your breath test is 0.08 per cent or greater, the only way you can keep from losing your driver’s license is by requesting an Administrative/Review hearing within seven days of your arrest. This is separate from your criminal case. You may still lose your license even if the criminal charge is dismissed or successfully defended in court.

The period of revocation varies according to how many DWI convictions you have. IF you have no prior convictions, you lose your license for 90 days, with the possibility of a limited license for work purposes only during the last 60 days. If you have one prior DWI, you will lose your license for one year, with no possibility for a limited work permit. Two convictions, you will lose your license for three years, and three or more DWI convictions, you will lose your license for five years.

The Administrative/Review Hearing

If a driver does not schedule a Hearing within seven days, his or her license is automatically revoked. It is possible to defeat the revocation at the hearing, depending on the facts of your case.

The hearing gives your lawyer the chance to cross examine the officers involved in your arrest before the criminal trial, under oath. This locks the officer into his or her testimony, and gives you the chance to impeach the officer if he or she attempts to testify differently at the criminal trial.

Requesting a hearing will also guarantee you will be granted temporary driving privileges by the DMV, at least until your hearing.

Chemical Testing Requirements

Chemical tests must be administered within four hours of driving and must be performed according to Department of Public Safety methods.  Drivers accused of a DUI offense also have the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at their own expense.

Minors and Commercial Drivers

In the case of minors, a blood alcohol content of any amount constitues driving under the influence.  If convicted, minors will be fined $500 and will be required to commit to up to 40 hours of community service.  A second conviction will impose a $1000 fine and up to 60 hours of community service.  A third conviction entails a $1500 fine and up to 80 hours of community service.

A commercial vehicle driver is considered legally drunk if their BAC is .04 percent or higher.  Penalties are higher for commercial drivers even for a first offense.  In addition to general fines and penalties that the court will impose after a conviction, a commercial driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year, three years if hazardous materials were involved.  A second conviction will cause disqualification from driving commercially for at least ten years.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI or DWI, it's important to contact a DUI Attorney as early as possible.

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