The Nelson Law Firm

The Nelson Law Firm Business Law Firm

"Old School" courthouse in Bibb Co.......reminds me of Williamsburg, VA
11/06/2014

"Old School" courthouse in Bibb Co.......reminds me of Williamsburg, VA

Birmingham DUI Attorneys
07/16/2014
Birmingham DUI Attorneys

Birmingham DUI Attorneys

According to Alabama DUI Law , any individual caught driving with a blood alcohol content above .08% will have his/her driver's license suspended and may be subject to fines. Hiring an experienced...

07/01/2014

In Alabama, a person may commit the crime of public intoxication in a number of ways. Although a conviction for public intoxication can result in only a short jail sentence, a conviction should not be taken lightly because it can result in the loss of a employment or difficulty in getting a job. Depending on the circumstances, a defendant may avoid a guilty verdict by raising one or more defenses available under the law.

Public Intoxication

Alabama defines the offense of public intoxication as appearing in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But merely appearing to be under the influence is not itself a crime; people charged with this crime must
be
â¢acting in a way that endangers themselves, another individual, or property,
or
â¢annoying another person by behaving in a boisterous or offensive
manner.
Alabama classifies public intoxication as a âviolation.â Violations carry a
maximum jail sentence of 30 days and fine of no more than $200.
(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-7, 13A-5-12, 13A-11-10)

Public Place

In the context of the crime of public intoxication, Alabama defines âpublic placeâ as a place to which the public or a substantial group of people has access. The following places are examples of public places:â¢highways
â¢transportation facilities
â¢schools
â¢amusement places
â¢parks
â¢playgrounds, and
â¢common areas of apartment buildings, such as hallways, lobbies, and other areas not designed for residence.

This list of public places is not exhaustive. For example, the stateâs courts have interpreted âpublic placeâ to include a car parked near a public thoroughfare that was open to public view.
(Atchley v. State, 393 So. 2d 1034 (Ala. Crim. App. 1981); § 1:23. Public intoxication, Alabama DUI Handbook § 1:23)

In addition to the examples of public places, the statute states that no private dwelling, and no place used for a private gathering, is considered a public place with respect to a person who has been invited to such place. For example, people attending a private party held in a room reserved at a restaurant that is otherwise open to the public would not be guilty of public intoxication even if they are drunk and acting boisterously, because the room is being used for a private gathering open only to invitees. However, a drunk person who leaves the party and mistakenly enters a nearby home, cursing at the homeâs occupants, may be charged with other crimes such as trespass.
(Ala. Code § 13A-11-1)

Defenses
Merely being drunk or under the influence of drugs while in a public place does not violate Alabamaâs public intoxication law. Common defenses include the following:

No endangerment. In order to be guilty of public intoxication, an intoxicated person in a public place must be putting his or her welfare or the welfare of another person or property in danger. For example, the âquiet drunkâ who simply falls asleep on his stool may not be chargeable under this statute.

No boisterous, annoying behavior. To be guilty of this offense, the jury must conclude that the defendant bothered others to the degree described by the statute. For example, a defendant may admit to having been drunk at a baseball game, but challenge the prosecutorâs claim of public intoxication by introducing witnesses who sat near the defendant throughout the game but did not observe any boisterous or obnoxious behavior.

No intent to break the law. People who voluntarily become drunk, and those who take drugs in order to become high, are the people targeted by public intoxication laws. Those who involuntarily consume too much liquor (whose drinks have been spiked, for example), or who act as they do as the result of the legal consumption of a prescription drug, have not violated the law. For example, a defendant may concede to stumbling into a busy street and nearly causing a traffic accident, but contest the public intoxication charge by presenting evidence that this dangerous behavior was due to the effects of a prescribed drug as opposed to intoxication.

Not a public place. Similarly, if a prosecutor fails to prove that a defendant who was behaving in a dangerous, boisterous, or offensive manner was drunk in a public place, then the defendant is entitled to a not guilty verdict. For example, a drunk person acting offensively at a friendâs dinner party would not be guilty of public intoxication because the person is in a private home by invitation.

For example, a defendant may concede to stumbling into a busy street and nearly causing a traffic accident but contest the public intoxication charge by presenting evidence that this dangerous behavior was due to a medical condition as opposed to intoxication

Or, a defendant may admit to having been drunk at a baseball game but challenge the prosecutorâs claim of public intoxication by introducing witnesses who sat near the defendant throughout the game but did not observe any
boisterous or obnoxious behavior.

Consult An Attorney
If you are charged with public intoxication in Alabama, please call The Nelson Law Firm at 205-994-3183. Although public intoxication is a relatively minor offense compared to misdemeanors and felonies, a conviction can result in being sentenced to jail. An experienced lawyer will review your case and advise you of your options for resolving it. An attorney will protect your rights as well as present evidence in your defense should you choose to go to trial.

Probation Revocation Hearings
06/29/2014
Probation Revocation Hearings

Probation Revocation Hearings

Defendants caught (either by police or probation officers) violating a condition of probation are subject to having their probation revoked (taken away) and all or part of the original suspended jail...

The Nelson Law Firm - Criminal Law Professional
06/26/2014

The Nelson Law Firm - Criminal Law Professional

06/14/2014

Shoplifting is punished as theft in Alabama. A person commits theft by obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over another person’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Criminal penalties for theft become progressively more stringent as the value of the stolen goods increases.

Merchants and police officers can detain individuals they have a reasonable
suspicion to suspect are shoplifting. They can detain the suspects in a
reasonable manner, for a reasonable period of time, in order to recover any
stolen goods. Criminal and civil penalties for shoplifting are described below.

Third Degree Theft: Theft of property valued at up to $500 is a Class A misdemeanor under 13A-8-5 and punishable up to one year of jail time and/or a fine up to $6,000.

Second Degree Theft: Theft of goods valued between $500 and $2,500; the
theft of a firearm or certain other types of item, or theft of property valued
from $250 to $2,500 with prior convictions is a Class C felony under 13A-8-4 and is punishable from one year and one day of jail time up to 10 years of jail time and/or a fine up to $15,000 or double the gain to the defendant or loss to the victim as a result of the theft.

First Degree Theft: Theft of goods exceeding $2,500 in value is a Class B felony under 13A-8-3 and punishable between two and 20 years of jail time and/or a fine up to $30,000.

There are many caveats to these laws which is why you need an experienced attorney who can help defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. If you have been accused of shoplifting, call The Nelson Law Firm immediately for a FREE initial consultation at (205) 994-3183 or contact us though our website at www.dgnlaw.com.

Alabama shoplifting laws in alabama
06/14/2014
Alabama shoplifting laws in alabama

Alabama shoplifting laws in alabama

Shoplifting is punished as theft in Alabama. A person commits theft by obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over another person’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of the...

06/13/2014

DUI in Alabama

If you are arrested for a first DUI in Alabama you will be subject to both administrative (license suspension) and criminal (jail, fines, etc.) penalties. The assessment of penalties is case-specific -- that is, various circumstances such as the amount of damage, injury, speed or other factors will influence the penalties. Unlike many states, Alabama does not explicitly mandate enhanced penalties in light of elevated BAC (blood alcohol content) at time of arrest. At The Nelson Law Firm, we can help mitigate, if not eliminate, the long term consequences.

FIRST DUI CONVICTION
Administrative Penalties
Arrest carries mandatory license suspension of 90 days. Hearing concerning impending license suspension must be requested within ten (10) days following arrest with Alabama Department of Public Safety
Refusal to submit, if applicable to a given DUI case, carries a mandatory
license suspension of 90 days for first offense.
Courts can mandate alcohol or substance abuse assessment, treatment,or
screening.
Vehicle confiscation and ignition interlock devices do not occur in first
offense convictions.

Criminal Penalties

First offense is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one (1) year of incarceration, with no minimum period mandated. Most cases are resolved without further incarceration, after the initial arrest and booking.
Fines applicable in first offense range from $600 to $1200, plus fines and
fees incurred in completing any alternative sentence arrangement.
Convictions remain on a person's record for five (5) years and may be used to influence sentencing for subsequent DUI convictions.
SECOND DUI CONVICTION
A second DUI in Alabama (within five years of a previous DUI conviction) will result in serious administrative and criminal penalties, including a minimum of 48 hours of consecutive jail time (or community service of not less than 20 days).

Criminal Penalties
A second DUI in Alabama is classified as a misdemeanor and will result
in:
Imprisonment - 48 consecutive hours, up to 1 year, or not less than 20 days community service

Fine - $1,000 - $5,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired
Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)

Administrative Consequences
Your license will be revoked for one year after your second offense in this
state within five years. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a limited
license to go to work during this time, so plan on using public transportation
for a year. Once you get your license back, you will need to show proof of an
SR22 insurance policy for this state since most insurance providers will not
give you a typical policy once you have had a DUI.

In addition, all second time offenders in Alabama must take a substance abuse treatment course, followed by an evaluation to ensure that you do not have a serious problem with alcohol addiction.

THIRD DUI CONVICTION

A third DUI in Alabama (within five years) is considered a misdemeanor and it
results in serious penalties including mandatory jail time of 60 days and a
license revocation of three years.

Criminal Penalties
Jail time of 60 days is mandatory after a third DUI in Alabama, though you
may be forced to serve time for up to one year. Unlike with a second offense,
this jail time cannot be probated or suspended -- in other words you won't be
able to convert it to community service.

Fines are also par for the course with a third DUI in Alabama. The minimum
you can expect to pay is $2,000, though some people are forced to pay up to
$10,000. In addition, you need to make a $100 payment to the Impaired Drivers
Trust Fund, along with any court costs involved in your case.

Administrative Consequences for Third DUI in Alabama
One of the most cumbersome penalties is the revocation of your license for
three years. Do not expect to be able to get a limited license to drive to work
or school, as this is only available to first time offenders. Once the three
years is up, you will have to show proof of an SR22 insurance policy for Alabama, which is more expensive coverage.

The court will order you to complete either a substance abuse program, or a
DUI course. Be prepared to pay for these required penalties, as well. You will
also be subject to an alcohol evaluation after a third DUI in Alabama.

Consider Your Legal Options
If you have evidence that the police officers involved did not use the
correct procedures during the arrest, you can plead not guilty and go to court
to prove your case. If, however, there is plenty of evidence to convict you, it
may be best to plead guilty, and plea bargain in order to receive less severe
consequences. Note that while pleading guilty in order to get deferred
prosecution may be an option in this state, each DUI offense makes you less
likely to qualify. Talk to a lawyer today at The Nelson Law Firm to best help evaluate your options.

06/07/2014

DUI Sobriety Test Refusal
In Alabama, Refusal to take a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest can result in serious consequences to your drivers license at the DMV and increased penalties if convicted of a DUI in Court. However, an allegation of a "Refusal" by the arresting officer does not always mean that the person was a "Legal Refusal" in accordance with the law. In order to be deemed a legal refusal, the
accused must have (1) been lawfully
arrested (2) there must have been a reasonable belief that the person was driving while under the influence and (3) the person must have been properly admonished of their obligations to take a test and the consequences of a failure to do so.

There is a variety of reasons why a person arrested for DUI fails to complete
a breath or blood test. In almost every case there is a police officer that
fails to properly advise the person of his or her legal requirements and sometimes confuses them with conflicting information. Nowadays, it is commonplace for the police officer to ask the arrestee to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening test or portable test (PAS) in the field, this test is optional and it must be explained to the person taking the test, it usually is not and the failure
of the policeman to do so can cause confusion when the person is asked again to take a second breath or blood test.

Another recurring problem regarding DUI refusals is when the person agrees to
a breath test, attempts to complete the test but is unable to do so. Very often,
the arresting officer will mark the person down as a refusal when in fact they
did not refuse anything. An experienced DUI Lawyer who has fought and won
refusal hearings is necessary if your drivers license is important to you. If
you are found to be a refusal at the DMV, they will suspend your license for one
to three years with no ability to get a restricted license for work.

Examples of successful defenses to refusal cases include: illegal arrest,
insufficient information by the officer, medical issues particularly after car
accidents, police misconduct, just to name a few.

The Nelson Law Firm has been successful in obtaining set asides for refusal allegations at the DMV. A number of legal defenses exist to fight refusal accusations and they know them all and have used them successfully at
the DMV and in Court. The consequences of losing your DMV hearing are severe. The Nelson Law Firm will vigorously fight to protect your rights.

If you or someone you care about is facing a DUI charge, contact The Nelson Law Firm at (205) 994-3183

Alabama Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws
05/05/2014
Alabama Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

Alabama Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

All states regulate and control the sale of controlled dangerous  substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for their sale. Alabama considers not only...

DUI Sobriety Test refusal
03/29/2014
DUI Sobriety Test refusal

DUI Sobriety Test refusal

DUI Sobriety Test Refusal In Alabama, Refusal to take a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest can result in serious consequences to your drivers license at the DMV and increased penalties if...

dui in alabama
03/29/2014
dui in alabama

dui in alabama

If you are arrested for a first DUI in Alabama you will be subject to both administrative (license suspension) and criminal (jail, fines, etc.) penalties. The assessment of penalties is case-specific...

Refusing a "breath test"
03/29/2014
Refusing a "breath test"

Refusing a "breath test"

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Alabama? This is probably the most frequently asked question I get while walking down the street. Alabama has an implied consent law. That means that if...

Possession of a controlled substance (upocs)
03/29/2014
Possession of a controlled substance (upocs)

Possession of a controlled substance (upocs)

All states regulate and control the possession for personal use of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact  definition of CDS and the penalties for possession...

Buying/Selling an existing business (part 2)
03/29/2014
Buying/Selling an existing business (part 2)

Buying/Selling an existing business (part 2)

In the article we will explore into a little more detail the process of the business sale transaction. For some entrepreneurs, buying an existing business represents less of a risk than starting a...

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1401 Doug Baker Blvd
Birmingham, AL
35242

Telephone

(205) 994-3183

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