A first offense DUI is an ordeal no matter what state you're in, but the penalties in some states are particularly harsh. DUI laws have become increasingly stringent in recent years, especially in areas that were traditionally perceived as overly forgiving when it came to driving under the influence. The recognition of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a serious and extremely dangerous offense has made laws stricter in many states, and Alaska is no exception.
If you are arrested for DUI in Alaska, you will face penalties from both the courts and the department of motor vehicles (DMV). Be advised that you can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol even if your BAC breath test comes in below .08, and a reading of 0.08 or higher guarantees your arrest via a per se law, which pertains to every state in the union.
When tried in criminal court, you will face fees totalling a minimum of $1,500 and will be sentenced to at least 72 hours in jail if convicted. You may also have to attend court appointed alcohol awareness meetings or drug and alcohol rehabilitation therapy, and may be sentenced to probation.
Understanding the look-back
Alaska's 15 year look-back period may have bearing on your case. If you have been convicted of a DUI within the last 15 years, a subsequent offense will be considered your second. If you have never been convicted, or if your previous arrest occurred more that 15 years before your current arrest, the second offense will count as your first in relation to certain, but not all, penalties.
In the case of your official criminal record, there is no look-back period in Alaska, and a second offense, even if it occurs 50 years after the first, is still a second offense when it comes to most proceedings.
Navigating the DMV
The Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles automatically suspends your license for 90 days when you are arrested for a DUI. In order to have your license reinstated on a limited or complete basis, you will have to file for a hearing at the DMV within seven days of your arrest. At this hearing, you may be granted a temporary license based on need or hardship.
After 30 days of your license suspension, you can apply for a limited interlock ignition device to be installed in your car. This will often trigger additional fees. An interlock device will require you to take a breathalyzer test before you start your car, and the transmission will not fire if you have a BAC over a certain level, usually established below the legal limit of .08.
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