DUI laws change on Sunday

Published 3:04 am Saturday, June 30, 2018

Interlock devices, designed to prevent drunk driving, now here

An Alabama law that goes into effect tomorrow requires even first-time offenders convicted of DUI to use an ignition interlock device.

The device analyzes a driver’s breath and prevents a car from being started if alcohol is detected.

And just when it looked as if a loophole in the law that exempts those who live in a county where one must drive 50 miles to have a device installed would apply to Covington County residents, Moore and Moore Tires is prepared to install the devices.

“We got the equipment yesterday,” owner Kenny Moore said Friday. “A salesman came by and said that we would be a good central location so that people won’t have to drive to Dothan to get it.”

An older version of the law requiring the use of interlock devices exempted those entering a pretrial diversion program. The 2018 rules close that loophole.

What’s not yet clear is how much the device will cost. “We don’t know how much it is going to cost to get it installed yet,” Moore said. “It depends on the court and each person.”

According to LifeSaver, the company that provides Moore and Moore Tires with their equipment, the device will randomly ask for additional tests while the engine is running so no one else can start the vehicle for the person convicted of drunk driving. If the retest is not taken or is failed, the unit will log a retest violation and the alarm horn will honk until the vehicle is turned off.

Another question answered by LifeSaver is, “Can I leave my car running outside of a bar, drink inside then drive away?”

Their response to this is that the unit will randomly ask for breath tests while the vehicle is running, and if a sample is not given when requested, the device will log a retest violation and the alarm horn will honk until the vehicle is shut off.

Moore said that they should have the equipment set up and ready to go by next week.

“We still have a couple more parts to get in,” Moore said. “We should be getting them in next week.”

The installation should not take longer than 20 to 40 minutes, Moore said.

“We hope we will get a lot of use out of these and that it will help the community,” Moore said.

A separate change to Alabama DUI laws that goes into effect tomorrow increases the “look back” period for sentencing in DUI cases from five to 10 years.

Earlier this year, Rep. Mike Jones explained that after three misdemeanor offenses, a fourth DUI and any subsequent DUI is a Class C felony, punishable with a fine between $4,000 and $10,000 and one to 10 years in prison. If the sentence is only one year, it can be served in the county jail.