Felony vs Misdemeanor In Alabama: When Is a DUI a Felony?

Questions and Answers

By: Mark Polson and Whitney Polson, Misdemeanor and Felony Lawyers Near Me in Alabama

Every month, potential clients call our DUI law firm asking, “Is a DUI a felony offense?” This page will inform you of when and how classification from misdemeanor to felony occurs, and what constitutes a felony DUI in Alabama. This article addresses those concerns.

Whitney Polson Is a Co-Author of Drunk Driving Book for Alabama DUI Laws

This 2016 drunk driving book, co-authored by Mountain Brook DUI attorney Whitney Polson, reveals little-known DUI defense strategies that have helped Mark Polson, DUI Lawyer Birmingham AL, and Whitney Polson, Homewood DUI lawyer, carve out a reputation for expertise in DUI defense. They cover all types of other Alabama criminal law offenses, from murder to speeding, but DWI-DUI is their main source of criminal defense practice.

The drunk driving book, written in 2016 for DUI defense lawyers, lists over 900 important cases on Alabama DUI law that are already to known to DUI specialists like Mark Polson and Whitney Polson. The gist of this book is to explain Alabama DUI law and how the information contained here can be a roadmap for how to beat a DUI in Court.

Is a DUI a Felony in Alabama?

The Alabama Legislature writes all Alabama laws, including those which can create a felony criminal record. This includes creating and amending felony and misdemeanor criminal code sections relating to the state of Alabama DUI laws. These “laws” are more commonly called “statutes.”

Is drinking and driving a felony? In the United States, it is common that the path to becoming a felon is anchored to prior DUI convictions. After the 2018 charge in Alabama DUI laws, if a person has already been convicted of any felony DUI, he or she will be charged as a felon on all new drunk driving or drugged driving charges.

Is drunk driving a felony? Statistically, not very often. Start with the notion that well over 90% of all DUI Alabama cases are charged as a misdemeanor DUI in AL. So, your answer to the question, “is dui a misdemeanor or felony,” odds are it is not a felony.

Felony vs Misdemeanor DUI. But, in July of 2018, the lawmakers extended the “lookback” period from 5 to 10 years. So, felony charges for DUI will be more frequent now.

What Is a DUI Felony under Alabama DUI Laws?

Question: When is a DUI considered a felony in Alabama? In Alabama, is a first offense DUI a felony? No, it is not, absent being in a DUI accident causing serious bodily injury or death.

How Many DUIs Is a Felony? Answer: A 4th DUI Within 10 years.

Is a DWI considered a felony? In general terms, a felony DUI-DWI is a crime with state prison time of over one year. Some Alabama DUI felony laws call for a minimum prison sentence or county jail time of 1 year and 1 day or longer.

DUI Felony

Felony DUI in Alabama – for a Fourth DUI Offense in AL

Class “C” Felony Imprisonment – From 1 Year and 1 day to up to 10 Years, Jail Time is a Mandatory ten (10) Days minimum and up to Ten Year State Prison term, if Convicted of Class “C” DUI Felony

Fine – Minimum of $4,100 to a maximum of $10,100 on an Alabama felony DUI

Substance Abuse – Complete State-Certified Chemical Dependency Program

License Suspension/Ignition Interlock– 5 Years revocation and 5 years of Ignition Interlock. After a minimum period of 1 year of driver license revocation, and Ignition Interlock may be installed for 5 years to commute the balance of the revocation.

DUI Probation – Up to 5 years

Is a 4th DUI a felony? It depends on the time frame between the 1st DUI and the last arrest for drunken driving.

If convicted, Alabama felony sentencing guidelines. The 4th DUI, or subsequent Alabama DUI (within 5 years), is a DUI-DWI (driving under the influence) conviction that is a Class C felony DUI. A person convicted of DUI felony in Alabama will be sentenced to no less than one year and one day in state prison and no more than 10 years of imprisonment at an Alabama state prison.

What is felony drunk driving? This wide variance in jail time gives a Judge the power to make a scofflaw pay, with prison time. Reducing a long prison sentence is one beneficial area for a DUI attorney Birmingham AL to assist you, which usually only comes from having a known reputation for fighting DUIs and having top credentials. Such things can make a difference.

Fines and Surcharges

The citizen facing an Alabama DUI 4th offense within ten years will be fined between $4,100 and $10,100 Dollars. Plus, driving is no longer available to this person for quite a while. The person with a 4th offense DUI within 10 years faces having his or her Alabama driver’s license suspended for five (5) years.


Other Alabama DUI penalties on a felony in Alabama include the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. This is an electronic breath alcohol test machine that is wired in and attached to the steering column and ignition wiring of your car.

This breathalyzer device tracks and records all attempts (by anyone) to crank the interlock restricted car or truck. Digital technology prevents a vehicle from being started or driven when any measurable amount of the blood alcohol content is detected in the driver’s breath.


As mentioned above, Birmingham DUI attorney Whitney Polson just co-authored the 2016 book, Alabama DUI Defense, to help guide other attorneys and judges on the nuances of Alabama DUI laws. As a leader in the Alabama DUI attorney community, this is Whitney’s way to give back to other Alabama lawyers, and share his knowledge of Alabama DUI law and Alabama DUI penalties.

How to beat a felony charge. The Polson Law Firm finds that their clients are comforted by the fact that their DUI lawyer “wrote the book” on DUI law in Alabama. As a DUI book author, Whitney Polson writes about how to beat a DUI, and avoid Alabama felony records.

dui defence

Question: When is a DUI considered a felony in Alabama? In Alabama, is a first offense DUI a felony? No, it is not, absent being in a DUI accident causing serious bodily injury or death.

How many DUIs is a Felony? Answer: A 4th DUI within 10 years.

How to Beat a DUI in Alabama Is Revealed in the New Drunk Driving Book

Drunk driving defense has been a cornerstone of the Polson Law Firm’s Vestavia Hills DUI attorney practice for almost half a century. When it comes to citizens facing criminal charges for DUI in Alabama charges, the central issue for both Alabama DUI defense attorneys is how to beat a DUI for each client on their Alabama DUI arrest.

This is the reason that Birmingham DUI attorney and Alabama DUI law book co-author and Super Lawyers Rising Star Whitney Polson and his father, Mark Polson, an expert criminal defense lawyer with a comprehensive knowledge of Alabama DUI laws. For 46 years, Mark has fought hard to prevent even a first offense DUI from being on your Alabama driver’s license.

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Get a FREE Lawyer Consultation Today with a Top Alabama DUI Lawyer

Arres+**********************************ted for an Alabama DUI? Need to hire a Birmingham criminal defense attorney? Call our criminal lawyers to find your Alabama DUI Lawyer. Call our DUI law office now for immediate help, at (205) 871-8838. ON WEEKENDS or AFTER BUSINESS HOURS, use our 24-hour DUI Lawyers number at (205) 401-3171.

Ask us about helping file your Alabama DPS appeal, within 10 days after arrest.

Our FREE DUI lawyer consultation and professional criminal case assessment is worth your time and energy. If winning your DUI Alabama case is your objective, call our Alabama DUI law firm near me today.

To speak with an Alabama DUI attorney, who is a DUI specialist on DUI laws in Alabama, do not wait another minute. Our lawyers in Alabama will speak to you NOW, even on holidays and weekends. Whether a first time DUI or a DUI 2nd offense, we can help you.


Birmingham DUI Lawyer

Office Phone: (205) 871-8838

Polson & Polson, P.C.

2824 Central Avenue #150

Birmingham, Alabama 35209

Whitney Polson or Mark Polson will review your DUI felony or misdemeanor case facts, tell you more about your DUI court, and tell you the likelihood of getting your DUI reduced to reckless driving. Plus, based on your case facts, you may have a chance to have the DUI dismissed for a first offense DUI. Our Alabama lawyers can come to you or connect with a VIRTUAL conference by cell phone or through the Internet.

Polson Law Firm

Our Law Firm Fights DUI Charges Anywhere in Alabama.

Call today for a FREE lawyer consultation: (205) 871-8838