Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Alaska

With its wintertime ice and snow, Alaska has some of the nation’s most dangerous roadways even when drivers are sober. These hazards combined with impaired driving can result in fatal automobile accidents, which is why Alaska lawmakers and enforcement agencies take driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs quite seriously. Alaska lawmakers want to reduce accidents and save lives on the roads. It’s important for all Alaskan drivers to become familiar with the rules and laws pertaining to drunk driving in this state.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a DUI in Alaska?

Before taking the wheel after a few drinks in Alaska, consider the following penalties for a first time DUI conviction.

  • Three days of jail time
  • $1,500 in court-ordered fines
  • Mandatory 12 month ignition interlock device at an approximate cost of $1,300
  • 30 day loss of vehicle rights
  • Sentencing fees of at least $250
  • Fees for impounding vehicle of at least $600

How Much Could an Alaska DUI Cost?

The State of Alaska estimates the total costs associated with the above at approximately $3,900 and that does not factor in attorney fees, DMV administrative costs and court costs. For those who have accrued additional DUI convictions, the associated costs rise tremendously. Other penalties that may or may not be ordered for misdemeanor drunk driving in Alaska include: attending an approved driver improvement course, taking a prescription drug to inhibit alcohol consumption, performing community service, paying for any damages related to the DUI arrest and forfeiting the rights to the involved motor vehicle (automobile, watercraft or aircraft).

For felony DUI convictions in Alaska, the stakes rise even higher. Along with paying high and quite costly fines, defendants in felony cases can lose their driving privileges for life after the second felony offense and must complete a lengthy jail sentence in addition to other harsh penalties. Alaska courts also impose severe penalties for commercial drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence including loss of commercial driving privileges and for felony convictions, possible forfeiture of all commercial vehicles registered to the defendant.

Must I Consent To a Blood and/or Urine Test When Pulled Over for Drunk Driving in Alaska?

Yes, according to Alaska law, when you drive on Alaska roads you have given the state “implied consent” to test your blood or urine when stopped on suspicion of DUI.

Defending a DUI charge in Alaska

Clearly, it is not a good idea to drive while drunk in Alaska, but in cases where the defendants have only had one or two drinks, it is possible to avoid a conviction and the subsequent penalties. However, this will likely only be successful by building a strong defense as soon after the arrest as possible. The best way to accomplish this goal is by seeking legal representation from a qualified drunk driving attorney with the skills to utilize a variety of techniques on the defendant’s behalf. Possible legal defenses for Alaska DUI include violation of the right to remain silent, abusive or excessive force and violation of the right to have an attorney present during questioning.