Alaska DUI Laws & Alaska DWI Attorneys
Alaska might be considered the last wild and free frontier in America, but get wet and wild while driving here and you’ll face strict DWI laws including fines, driver’s license suspensions, and loss of freedom. Penalties are getting so severe, it’s crucial to have a qualified DWI defense attorney fighting for your rights.
Alaska DUI cases work under its "per se" law stating that if a driver’s blood or breath alcohol content was .08% percent or greater (.04% for commercial drivers) driving is considered impaired. This also includes impaired driving due to inhalants, or controlled substances and even over the counter drugs. As in most states, an Alaska DWI arrests trigger two separate cases, and each of these cases must be defended separately. First, there is the administrative case, and also the criminal case -- a combination which results in punishment that includes jail time, fines, mandatory DWI educational programs, ignition interlock devices, and more.
Additionally, every driver arrested who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, or who refuses to take a chemical test following an arrest for driving under the influence, will face revocation of driving privileges as an administrative penalty. Drivers arrested for DWI in Alaska have only 7 days from the date of arrest to request a DMV hearing to avoid losing their license. Driving privileges will be lost if a hearing is not requested, fore no appearance or via an unsuccessful DMV hearing — even if found not guilty in criminal court.
DMV administrative hearings are crucial to a client's defense as attorneys can cross-examine the testimony and evidence presented by those involved in the arrest and investigation. Another advantage is that the driver will be granted temporary driving privileges until the date of the hearing.
You can still be arrested if you were not actually driving a vehicle. You might be innocent, and if you haven’t been drinking or you believe that you might have ingested alcohol from a ‘benign source’ (mouthwash) or drugs (such as antihistamines or other over the counter drugs) be aware that you can still be arrested for driving in an impaired or unsafe manner, even if you are not ‘legally drunk’ under the states ‘per se’ BAC law, .08% or more BAC.
A qualified DWI or DUI attorney is what you need if arrested in Alaska. When you are stopped and arrested for suspicion of a DUI make sure you try to see an attorney before giving up your rights.
Was I stopped legally?
You may have been stopped because of an equipment failure or an officer had probable cause to think you were driving in an impaired manner. Not all reasons offered by officers are always legal and that is where you might win the case against you. Check with a Alaska DWI attorney who will examine all the different aspects of your case and will defend you aggressively and try to mitigate any penalties.
Do I have to take a Field Sobriety Test (FST)?
Submitting to a "field sobriety test" is voluntary, but do not expect an officer to inform you of this. Field Sobriety Tests have been studied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the only tests that have been shown to have some relevance to establishing legal intoxication are the One Leg Stand, the Heel-to Toe and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). These tests will be entered as evidence against you unless your Alaska DUI Lawyer can get them suppressed. But even if they are used against you, these tests have only been established to be accurate in predicting blood alcohol content above .10% in 66% to 77% of the time.
What happens if I refuse a breath test?
If you refuse to take the real chemical (blood or breath) test after being arrested for DUI, first the cop will give you a "Notice And Order Of Revocation". Your driver's license and privilege to drive or your ability to obtain a license will be revoked by the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles if you don't fight it. This revocation will occur even when the criminal charge of DWI or refusal to test is dismissed, or you are found not guilty in court. The revocation for refusal is for 90 days if you have not previously been convicted of DWI or refusal to take the test.
What’s a defense going to cost?
One of the biggest concerns for people charged with DWI is what a DUI lawyer will cost. As cases vary, so does cost. Most people don’t realize that money spent now on a skillful DWI attorney might save them thousands in the years to come. Jobs, credit ratings, insurance cots, credit ratings can all be impacted by a criminal record. It is better to check your case out than assume the police officer is correct. They don't care if they think you are guilty, but with a DWI attorney at your side, you can win your case.
I’m simply going to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?
Alaska DUI attorneys may be able to help mitigate your problems by minimizing your legal problems and maximizing your defenses. A DWI conviction can reflect on credit ratings, job opportunities, insurance premiums and in other ways you might not be aware of. A DWI defense attorney will level the playing field between you and the prosecution in an effort to provide and preserve your constitutional rights.
What are statutory assessments?
Additional court costs will be added to any fines issued by the court or judge. Much is dependant on the penal or vehicle code violated.
Can I plea bargain?
Many cases are resolved prior to trial. Effective DUI lawyers often times will be able to negotiate a plea to a lesser charge. While the plea bargain is extremely advantageous to anyone accused of DWI — remember that if the original charge was DWI a conviction to any of the following lesser crimes will still count as a prior for calculating the mandatory minimums should that driver re-offend.
What if I am convicted?
Penalties, fines, etc., can vary due to DWI enhancements, juvenile cases and changes in law. It’s best to get an educated opinion on your specific case circumstances via a referral to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
Minimum penalties for DUI or refusal to submit to a chemical test
• The court must revoke your privilege to drive for at least the minimum period required by law. The court may revoke your privilege to drive for longer than the minimum period.
- Referral to Alcohol Treatment and Rehabilitation.
- 90 license revocation days for a first offense.
- 1 year if you have one prior conviction of DUI or refusal.
- 3 years if you have two prior convictions of DUI or refusal.
- 5 years if you have three or more prior convictions of DUI or refusal.
• For commercial motor vehicle operators, the court must disqualify your privilege to drive a commercial vehicle for the minimum period required by law.
- The disqualification period can be for 1 year to life depending on the severity of the offense.
- The court's revocation may be concurrent with or consecutive to an Administrative revocation.
Breath alcohol concentration results of .08 or more or refusal to submit to chemical testing
- You are presumed to be driving under the influence if your chemical test is .08% BAC or more.
• If, after being arrested you refuse to take a chemical test of your breath, or your breath test result is .08%.
• or more, your driver’s license, privilege to drive or your privilege to obtain a license will be revoked by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
• This revocation will occur even if the criminal charge of DWI or refusal is dismissed, or you are found not guilty in court.
- 90 days revocation for a first offense
- 1 year if you have been previously convicted of DWI or refusal.
- 3 years if you have two prior convictions of DWI or refusal.
- 5 years if you have three or more prior convictions of DWI or refusal.
• Prior convictions of DWI or refusal occurring in Alaska or another state within the last 15 years can be used to determine or enhance the revocation period.
What is DWI enhancement?
- One or more convictions for the same or a similar offense.
- A child was in the car at the time.
- 20 miles or more over the speed limit at the time.
- The BAC was over.20%.
- Refusing a chemical test.
- Property damage of over $500.
- Any personal injury may elevate the offense to a felony.
• If there was 0.16% BAC but less than 0.24% the court shall require the person to use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months after the person regains the privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
• If there was 0.24% BAC or more court shall require the person to use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year after the person regains the privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
What if I am an out of state driver?
Be advised that 45 states and the District of Columbia have an out of state Driver’s License Compact Agreement, meaning that DWI convictions will be reported to your home state which will generally take action to suspend your license. Offenses for out of state drivers can also create other complications. Consequently, it’s imperative that you contact a local attorney to walk you through the procedures and insure that you don’t face complications with bail, jail, and your driving privileges.
What administrative actions will the DMV take?
- No prior convictions for DWI or refusal, the revocation period is 90 days.
• Limited license for work purposes only during the last 60 days if the revocation is for a breath test result of .08 or greater with no test refusal.
• A driver with 1 prior DWI conviction will lose their license for 1 year, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
• A driver with 2 prior convictions will lose their license for 3 years, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
• A driver with a 3rd conviction will lose their license for 5 years, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
• Drivers whose licenses are revoked by the DMV will be required to pay a $200 license reinstatement fee.
• Proof of insurance is required for a period of 3 years after the revocation period ends. This usually involves increased insurance premiums.
• Every driver arrested for DWI in Alaska is given a "Notice And Order Of Revocation" that is effective on the date of arrest.
• The DMV revocation may be either concurrent with (at the same time as) or consecutive to (in addition to) the court revocation.
• The original license will not be returned. Before a new license will be issued, the driver must meet all new DMV requirements.
- Proof of completion of an approved treatment program from an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).
Limited license privileges
- There are no limited driving privileges for a person who refuses to submit to chemical testing.
• At the court's discretion, you may be allowed a limited occupational license following a 30-day minimum revocation, provided that you are participating in an education or treatment program (which you must complete).
• Limited license privileges may be granted to allow a DWI defendant to drive in order to earn a livelihood, if the court deems the driver does not pose a risk to the public.
• The availability and terms of a limited license will vary depending on criminal, driving and substance abuse treatment history.
- A non-refundable $100 fee and a completed an application from DMV offices is required.
• Certification of employment and a certification of good standing with an alcohol counseling agency is required.
• Provide proof of financial responsibility with an SR -- 22 Certificate of Insurance or a $125,000 surety bond is required
• If the DMV grants a limited license, the driver may submit the same limited license application to the court.
What if I’m under 21?
• If you are under 21 and you operate a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft after consuming alcohol in any amount, you can be arrested or cited for a DWI.
- Upon conviction, the court will order community service and/or a fine up to $1,000.
• Revocation of license will occur even if the criminal citation is dismissed, or found not guilty in court.
Penalties for juvenile DWI or refusal to submit to chemical testing
- It is illegal in Alaska for a person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.
- 30 days for a first offense.
- 60 days if you have been previously revoked for this offense.
- 90 days if you have two previous revocations for this offense.
- 1 year if you have three or more previous revocations for this offense.
- Upon conviction, the court must order community service and/or a fine up to $1,000.
– Disclaimer –
Only educated and licensed professionals should provide you with bonified legal advice. Consequently, the aforementioned information on this web site should not be construed as legal advice, rather suggestions and a range of helpful information and should not be substituted for speaking with an accredited attorney. There is no warrantee, expressed or implied herein. These issues are complicated, laws change and litigation takes experience. Please let us refer you to a seasoned professional.
– Citations –
For more information and citations go to: Alaska Court System (WWW.ak.us/courts/forms.htm/) scroll down to Forms, Instructions & Publications By Number and scroll to
Publication 11 (About DWI (Driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, inhalant, or controlled substance).
– DMV Citations –
Alaska Administrative Code (http://www.legis.state.ak.us)
Title 2 Administration, sections 64/90/93/96 and others.
by Joshua Dale
Unverified Other Research from other sites
What Happens To First Time Offenders in Alaska?
Alaska First Offender
You are DUI in Alaska if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher.
DUI First Offender Penalties
Not less than 72 consecutive hours nor more than one year in jail. The average is three days, for which you are charged $270 in costs.
Community Service is mandatory for 1st offenders (24 hours).
Not less than $250 nor more than $5,000 fine. $1500 is average.
The Real Cost
The State of Alaska estimates the real total costs of an average first offense to be about $22,740.
Mandatory revocation of driving privileges for not less than 90 days. License Reinstatement Fee: $200.
The statutes require that defendants whose licenses are revoked by the court face additional administrative license revocation by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The court revocation may be concurrent with (at the same time as) or consecutive to (in addition to) the DMV revocation. If a driver fails a chemical test (has a test result of 0.08% or greater) or refuses to take a chemical test, the law enforcement officer will seize the driver’s license and give the driver a “Notice and Order of Revocation.”
That notice informs the driver that the driver’s license or privilege to drive will be revoked by DMV on the eighth day following the arrest.
The notice serves as a temporary license for seven days and describes how to request an administrative review of the revocation.
A request for an administrative review must be made in writing within seven days after the driver receives the notice.
The driver may write a letter or use a form obtainable from DMV. The request for a hearing should be mailed or delivered to DMV at Department of Administration, Anchorage Driver’s Licensing, 1300 W. Benson Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99503-3689.
When a request is received, DMV will issue a temporary license, which is valid until the date of the administrative hearing. If the driver is dissatisfied with the result of the DMV hearing, the driver may file an appeal with the court.
Limited License Privileges
The court may grant limited license privileges to allow a DUI defendant to drive in order to earn a livelihood if the court determines that the driver may drive without excessive risk to the public.
The availability and terms of a limited license will vary depending on the driver’s criminal, driving and treatment history. If the defendant’s license was also suspended by DMV, the defendant must also obtain a limited license from DMV.
A request for a limited license from DMV may be made by paying a nonrefundable $100 fee and completing an application form available at DMV offices.
The form requires a certification of employment and, in many cases, a certification of good standing with an alcohol counseling agency.
The applicant will also be required to provide proof of future financial responsibility (either a Certificate of Insurance or a $125,000 suretybond).
If DMV grants a limited license, the driver may submit the same limited license application form to the court. REINSTATEMENT OF A DRIVER’S LICENSE At the end of any period of revocation, a driver must apply for a new license at DMV.
The original license that was surrendered will not be returned. Before a new license will be issued, the driver must meet DMV requirements.
Conditional Licensing in Alaska
At the court’s discretion, you may be allowed a limited occupational license in Alaska following a 30-day minimum revocation provided that you are participating in an education or treatment program (which you must complete).
Test Refusal in Alaska
If you refuse to take a chemical test of your breath after being arrested for DWI, your driver’s license, privilege to drive or your privilege to obtain a license will be revoked by the Division of Motor Vehicles. This revocation will occur even when the criminal charge of DWI or Refusal is dismissed, or you are found not guilty in court. The revocation for Refusal is for 90 days if you have not previously been convicted of DWI or Refusal to take the breath test.
All offenders are required to attend education or treatment as recommended by an alcohol assessment. First offenders must attend 8 to 15 hours of classroom instruction at a cost of $20 to $150. An alcohol assessment will determine the extent of treatment, if any. In Alaska offenders failing to comply with the terms of their program are not eligible for license reinstatement and shall be subject to revocation of probation and incarceration.
Under 21 you are subject to the same laws and penalties as adults (see above).
Your insurance rates will probably climb considerably, and your insurance carrier may drop you. The rates for family members and sometimes your employer can increase as well. Required SR22 Insurance alone comes to $2,000 per year for 5 years.
More Serious Charges
You may be charged with felony DWI (possibly leading to much greater penalties) if you are involved in a crash involving serious injury or death.
You should know that according to Alaska DUI laws, your arrest will trigger two separate cases – a criminal case, and the fight for your driver’s license. Your criminal case could result in serious punishments like going to jail and paying huge fines. You may also be required to attend alcohol education classes, and to install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle. An Alaska DUI attorney will be able to fight your criminal charges, and could get you a much better outcome in your case. This is why it is so important after an Alaska DUI arrest, to reach out to one of our knowledgeable drunk driving lawyers right away.
Your criminal case can be prosecuted on one of two theories: either violation of Alaska’s "per se" law by driving with a blood or breath alcohol content of .08% or higher, or by driving while impaired. Impairment, for purposes of Alaska DUI laws, can be proved by driving patterns, field sobriety test performance, and chemical test results. A skilled DUI defense lawyer will know how to deal with each type of evidence in an Alaska drunk driving case. Thankfully, someone accused of drunk driving in Alaska has the right to a trial to defend him or herself in a court of law. If you need help with your DUI charges, contact a skilled attorney right away.
You are also facing a case against the DMV after your Alaska DUI arrest. YOU ONLY HAVE 7 DAYS TO REQUEST A HEARING WITH THE DMV AFTER YOUR ARREST TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T LOSE YOUR LICENSE! If you are unsure how to make this request, you must contact a skilled Alaska DUI attorney. Our lawyers can help you fight to save your license after your drunk driving arrest. Whether you submitted to a breath test or not, you could lose your license. If your BAC was above .08% or you refused to take the breath test, you are at risk of losing your license. The only way to possibly avoid this administrative revocation is to contest the revocation by requesting an Administrative Review/Hearing within seven (7) days of your arrest. Talk to one of our attorneys right away to get help.
Alaska DMV Actions
Even if you win your criminal case, according to Alaska DUI laws, you can still lose your license after your Alaska DUI arrest. However, it’s important to note that you can get a limited license for work purposes if you have a skilled Alaska DUI attorney on your side.
The period of the revocation varies depending on whether the driver has any DUI convictions in Alaska, or any other state. If the driver has no prior convictions for DUI or refusal, the revocation period is 90 days. You can get a limited license only during the last 60 days of this 90 day period if the revocation is for a breath test result of .08 or greater, but not for refusal. Talk to an attorney who can help you try and get a limited license.
Will you lose your license and for how long?
If the driver has 1 prior DUI or refusal conviction, the revocation period is 1 year, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
If the driver has 2 prior convictions, the period of the revocation is for 3 years, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
If the driver has 3 or more DUI convictions, the revocation period is 5 years, with no opportunity for a limited work permit.
If your license is revoked by the DMV, you will need to pay a fee to the DMV, and take any additional testing they require in order to get your driving privileges reinstated. You will also be required to show proof of insurance for a period of 3 years after the revocation period ends. This usually involves increased insurance premiums.
How to "Contest" the Revocation?(Requesting an administrative review/hearing)
The revocation is initiated on the date of the arrest by the officer serving a copy of a "Notice And Order Of Revocation" on the driver who is arrested for suspicion of violating Alaska DUI laws. From the time that this documents is served on the driver, the driver has 7 days to request an Administrative Review/Hearing of the revocation. A person who contests the revocation by filing a request for a hearing within 7 days after the Notice And Order Of Revocation is given to the driver, may be successful in preventing the DMV from revoking his license. If the driver does not request a hearing within 7 days, the license revocation will go into effect the following day, by default, and the driver will not have an opportunity to contest the revocation period.
The Importance of the Administrative Hearings
Administrative Hearings can be critical to your Alaska DUI case. Even if you beat your criminal case, you can still lose your driver’s license. There may be grounds for defeating the revocation at the Administrative Review/Hearing, depending on the facts of your case.
Second, the Administrative Review/Hearing offers your Alaska DUI attorney the opportunity to cross-examine the officers involved in your arrest and investigation, so that important issues can be reviewed before the criminal DUI case is resolved. The sworn testimony of the officers is recorded, and can be very important in helping to resolve or win the criminal DUI case. This also provides an important way to impeach the officer if he attempts to testify in a different fashion later on at trial in the criminal case. Further, this will give you and your attorney the opportunity to hear the officer's testimony under oath, and obtain a better understanding of their observations and the extent of the evidence that they have against you.
Finally, if you request an Administrative Review/Hearing within 7 days, you will be granted temporary driving privileges by the DMV at least until the date of your Administrative Review/Hearing. Usually, the Administrative Hearing is scheduled within approximately 1 month after you request the hearing, although the hearing may be continued for a longer time after your attorney enters his/her appearance on your behalf.
Alaska DUI Penalties
First DUI Conviction
Minimum 90-day suspended license
Minimum 72-hour jail sentence
Minimum $1,500 fine
Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
Completion of alcohol/drug treatment
Second DUI Conviction
Minimum 1-year suspended license
Minimum 20-day jail sentence
Minimum $3,000 fine
Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
Completion of alcohol/drug treatment
Third DUI Conviction
Minimum 3-year suspended license
Minimum 60-day jail sentence
Minimum $4,000 fine
Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
Completion of alcohol/drug treatment
Fourth DUI Conviction
Minimum 5-year suspended license
Minimum 120-day jail sentence
Minimum $5,000 fine
Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
Penalties for Breath Test Refusal
No prior convictions: 90-day suspended license
1 prior conviction: 1-year suspended license
2 prior convictions: 3-year suspended license
More than 2 prior convictions: 5-year suspended license