Driving is a privilege, not a right, and violations can negatively affect your life. You may experience increased insurance costs and loss of your license, which can limit your ability to make an income.
Rules Of The Road
Alabama's vehicle code includes all the state's laws in reference to driving. Traffic violations are criminal acts that violate the code:
- Reckless driving, such as speeding
- Erratic lane changes
- Following too closely
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Children riding without a child safety seats
- Suspended or expired license
- No insurance
- Driving under the influence, or DUI
There no bans on handheld cell phone use in Alabama, except for young drivers who are 16 or 17 years old and who hold intermediate licenses for less than six months.
Being Stopped by Police
If the police pull you over, you must do so safely and quickly. The officer may give you a ticket or a warning. Should the officer notice any illegal items in your vehicle, they will be confiscated. You and your vehicle also may be searched if probable cause exists.
Most citations are for minor infractions and appearing in court is not required. However, these offenses may carry a fine. You can simply pay the fine, but this is an admission of guilt. Serious violations may require jail time.
You can contest your traffic ticket by going to court and pleading not guilty. You may be able to come to an agreement with the prosecutor to avoid trial. If you do go to trial, you must present your evidence to the judge, including the testimony of witnesses and supporting documentation. Trials may be held in front of a judge or a jury. If you are found guilty, you may appeal the conviction.
You must be at least 15 years old to get a learner's permit in Alabama. You must practice driving for at least six months before you can take the test to get your regular license. You must be at least 16 years old to get a regular driver's license. You must carry liability insurance, and have valid registration. Your license must not be suspended for any reason.
Driving while intoxicated is very dangerous and carries severe penalties. Should you refuse testing, your license will be suspended right away. The implied consent condition of receiving a license from the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles states that refusing a test voids your driver license. Depending on the nature of your violation, you may be arrested and arraigned. You are under the influence when your blood alcohol level reaches 0.08 percent or higher.
A point system tracks your infractions. If points add up, your license may be suspended or even revoked. Points range from two to six depending on the infraction:
- Speeding one to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit adds two points.
- Speeding 26 or more miles per hour over the speed limit adds five points.
- Reckless driving adds six points.
Taking driving courses may reduce points. If your license is suspended, you may not drive at all.
When your license suspension is over, you may apply for reinstatement. You must pay all associated fees and fill out the reinstatement form. Reinstatement is only available at certain Alabama DMV locations. Call ahead to verify. You will be notified of a time and place for a hearing, interview or investigation to determine when and if you are eligible for reinstatement.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Traffic laws are always updating and changing. Consult with an attorney, especially if you are fighting a ticket for a serious offense.