How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive in Alabama in 2023?

Drink and drive laws in Alabama

In Alabama, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% gram or 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Depending on one’s age, gender, weight, and other characteristics, this limit can equate to one to two alcoholic drinks.

Even though driving under the influence of alcohol is not entirely illegal in Alabama, you must adhere to the state’s legal BAC level before driving. Consider taking a cab or getting a designated driver if you must travel after drinking.

Before getting into the specifics of impaired driving in Alabama, remember that the purpose of this article is strictly informational. This post should not be construed as an endorsement of drinking and driving in any state or region.

Under the influence is defined by Alabama law as an impairment to the point where the person is incapable of safely operating a vehicle.

In 2019, Alabama had 277 fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving. Such accidents still occur despite the impaired driving laws enforced by the Alabama state government.

Regularly visiting Alabama’s official state website is ideal for staying up to date on the state’s impaired driving rules and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Alabama

Drivers having BACs of 0.08% or higher face penalties in Alabama. DUI punishments in Alabama vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances.

The amount of alcohol a person must consume to meet the legal BAC limit is determined by several factors, including gender, body type, and the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Because of these factors, alcohol can have a variety of effects on people. Some individuals can become disoriented and drunk even if they only consume a small amount of alcohol.

A BAC chart or BAC calculator can be used to estimate your BAC level. However, remember that these tools may or may not be correct for all persons because people react differently to alcohol.

The most accurate method to assess your BAC is still to use a good alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Alabama

While it is not entirely illegal to drive after the consumption of alcohol, you should monitor your BAc and ensure that you are within the state’s legal BAC limit before driving. Every state has its own impaired driving laws.

The judge can impose jail time, fines, or both, but the range of permissible penalties is heavily influenced by how many prior convictions the offender has had in the last ten years.

An overview of Alabama’s impaired driving regulations is provided below to guide you and help you understand and follow the law.

First Offense

  • Jail Time: Up to one-year imprisonment in the county or municipal jail
  • Fines: A fine between $600 and $2,100
  • License Suspension: Up to 90-days license suspension
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Installation of IID for six (6) months

Second Offense

  • Jail Time: Up to one-year imprisonment in the county or municipal jail
  • Fines: A fine of at least $1,100 but no more than $5,100
  • License Suspension: A one-year license revocation
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): IID installation for two (2) years

Third Offense

  • Jail Time: Up to one-year imprisonment in the county or municipal jail, which may include hard labor
  • Fines: A fine of at least $2,100 but not less than $10,100
  • License Suspension: Revocation of license for three (3) years
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Utilization of IID on the assigned motor vehicle for three (3) years

Fourth and Subsequent Offense

A fourth-time and subsequent offender shall be guilty of a Class C felony. The following punishment is applicable:

  • Jail Time: Imprisonment for not less than one year and one day and not more than ten years
  • Fines: A fine between $4,100 to $10,100
  • License Suspension: Revocation of license for five (5) years
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): IID installation for five (5) years

The minimum penalty can be doubled under the following circumstances:

  • When a motorist is discovered to have at least 0.15% BAC or more while driving or being in control of a vehicle;
  • If there was a minor under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the offense;
  • Refusal to take a BAC test.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Alabama?

As previously said, everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. Men and women have distinct BAC levels. Women have a higher BAC compared to men.

The reason for men’s faster metabolism of alcohol is the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme levels in their stomachs and livers are known to be high. These enzymes primarily help with alcohol absorption. Therefore, men can process alcohol faster than women.

You can use the following information as a guide to determine the quantity of alcohol you can drink and drive in Alabama.

However, please keep in mind that while the information below is based on studies, it may not apply to everyone because people react differently to alcohol.

How Many Beers Can You Have and Drive in Alabama?

Drink beer and drive in Alabama

According to this BAC chart, a man weighing around 63 kg (140 lbs) can have a BAC level of 0.02% after consuming one 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

A woman who drinks the same quantity of beer and has the same weight can have a BAC level of 0.03%.

Following the BAC chart, you can find that the lower a person’s weight, the greater his BAC after drinking alcohol.

One to two bottles of beer are usually enough to stay within Alabama’s legal BAC limit.

How Much Wine Can You Drink and Drive in Alabama?

Given the same example above, consuming two glasses of wine is sufficient to stay within the permitted BAC threshold in Alabama. One standard glass of wine (142 ml/5oz) can contain up to 12% alcohol.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Alabama?

One shot of spirits is equivalent to 44 ml (1.5 oz).

Consuming one shot of spirits can bring a 63 kg (140 lbs) man’s blood alcohol content to 0.03%.

On the other hand, a woman with the same weight can have a BAC level of 0.03% after drinking the same quantity.

If you have to drive after drinking, one to two shots of spirits is more than enough.

Sticking to Impaired Driving Laws in Alabama

Safe driving is vital. Everyone must remember that drunk driving is dangerous for all motorists on the road.

There are other alternative methods to travel if you are intoxicated. You may consider hailing a cab, booking an Uber, or call a friend and ask to drive you to your destination.

If you can’t avoid driving after drinking, ensure your BAC level is below the state’s legal limit. You must also know you are still alert and capable of driving.

After drinking, the best and safest option is to avoid driving. You can never be sure of your BAC, even if you only had a few drinks and feel confident in your driving abilities. Because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, only a breathalyzer can accurately assess your BAC level.

Awareness of impaired driving rules and regulations is also vital. We recommend visiting Alabama’s official website to stay updated.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.