Laws often change and evolve as lawmakers seek to find what works best to deter certain crimes. Drunk driving has long been an issue that Alabama lawmakers wish to stop by enacting harsh laws and penalties. However, the problem persists. Recent changes to the DUI laws, according to WHNT, seek to increase the punishment for repeat offenders.

There are two distinct changes in the laws. The first is a change to the use of interlock devices. If you are in a diversion program, you must have one of these devices installed on your vehicle and you have to pay for it. Costs include installation, maintenance, monthly court fees and a monthly fee for the device. Previously, if you went into a diversion program, you may not have had to have the device, and if you did, you did not have to pay for it.

The second big change is how the court uses your past criminal history. The court always has looked at your record to see if you had previous DUI charges. It typically went back five years. Now, the court will look back ten years.

This part of the law also institutes a new element that when looking at a past record, if you have a previous felony conviction regardless of when it happened, including past the ten years, your DUI becomes a felony. Both segments of this change to the law increase the possibility of harsher penalties. This information is for education, and it is not legal advice.