Alabama has some of the strictest alcohol-related laws in the entire country, so if you live in Alabama or are just passing through, you better do your homework and know what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to alcohol sales, purchases and consumption.
Many Alabama counties (26 to be exact) are “dry,” which means alcohol is not produced, sold or served in any type of establishment. And in the counties that are not dry in Alabama, some rules still apply. You cannot buy alcohol anywhere on Sunday in Alabama, and alcohol sales stop at 2:00 a.m. six days a week (which is actually quite common in many states). Beer and wine can be sold in supermarkets but spirits (hard liquor) cannot.
Open Container Laws
Alabama’s open container laws are very similar to other states in that it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a car whether you are driving or are a passenger. A previously opened bottle of alcohol (for instance, you went to a party and are returning home with a bottle of vodka that is still quite full) must be in the car’s trunk.
Legal Drinking Age
The legal age for serving alcohol can be a bit confusing in Alabama. While the legal drinking age is 21, a 19-year-old can serve alcohol in a restaurant as a waiter, waitress or bartender. In grocery and convenience stores, kids age 16 or over may sell unopened packages of beer or wine, but a supervisor over the age of 19 must be physically present.
Drinking and Driving
Just like in most states, when it comes to drinking and driving, you are considered driving drunk when your BAC (blood alcohol content or concentration) is 0.08 or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, there’s a “zero tolerance” law, which means if your BAC is .02 while driving, you can be convicted of a DUI and suffer the penalties associated with a DUI conviction even with such a low BAC.
In Alabama, your first DUI conviction will result in a 90-day suspension of your license; your second offense results in a one-year suspension of your license; and your third DUI conviction results in a three-year suspension of your license. If you are convicted of driving under the influence four times in the state of Alabama, you will be considered a convicted felon.
Know the Laws
The best way to protect yourself from the serious penalties associated with alcohol-related crimes is to know what the laws are in Alabama and act accordingly. If you find yourself in trouble with the law, please contact an Alabama criminal defense lawyer with experience in alcohol-related crimes.