Under Alaska law, driving under the influence can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. As with most criminal offenses, the penalties will depend upon how many previous convictions you have. But in either case, being charged with a DUI is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. While the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can change the course of your life and livelihood, a felony conviction can result in many more restrictions when it comes to your civil liberties. Under a misdemeanor vs felony problematic state, the penalties vary as stated above.

If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony DUI, it’s essential to have a skillful criminal defense attorney by your side to fight the charges against you. The Trial Guy, Attorney Eric Derleth, understands how stressful a DUI can be and the toll it can take on you and your family. Applying 25 years of experience and vast knowledge of the law, he is prepared to develop a solid defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

When is a DUI a Misdemeanor vs. Felony in Alaska?

An individual can be charged with a DUI in Alaska if they are found operating a motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. Drivers who are under 21 can be charged with a DUI if there is any amount of alcohol in their blood or breath. Whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony is based on the number of prior DUIs. While a DUI is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Alaska, two previous DUIs in the last ten years can mean the third offense will be charged as a Class C felony.

What are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor vs Felony DUI?

A person can be charged with a DUI in Alaska for driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence. In addition, under Alaska’s implied consent laws, a driver who refuses a breath or blood test can face the same penalties as a driver whose blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit. Specifically, the legal penalties for a DUI in Alaska are as follows:

  • First DUI offense — A first DUI offense in Alaska is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties include a minimum fine of $1,500, a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours, and license revocation for 90 days. An ignition interlock device is required to be installed in your vehicle for six months.
  • Second DUI offense — A second DUI offense in Alaska is also charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Punishment can include at least 20 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. Your license may be revoked for one year and an ignition interlock device must be installed in your vehicle for 12 months.
  • Third DUI offense (misdemeanor) — A third DUI offense can be charged as a misdemeanor if one of the two prior offenses occurred more than ten years ago. In these cases, you may face a 60-day jail sentence, a $4,000 fine, and license revocation for three years.
  • Third DUI offense (felony) — A Class C felony sentence can be imposed for a third or subsequent DUI if the last of the prior offenses occurred within ten years. In such cases, there is a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 120 days and a $10,000 fine may be imposed. Your license may be revoked for a minimum for your “lifetime” but with a lawyer’s help you may be able to reduce that to 18 months.

First-time offenders are able to complete their jail sentence in a residential treatment facility or under house arrest. House arrest may be an option for a second offense DUI, but you need to talk to your lawyer about that because it is complicated. All individuals who are found guilty of a DUI in Alaska are required to complete a substance abuse evaluation — depending upon the results, a court may order attendance at a treatment program.

The penalties can be enhanced for a BAC of .15% or more. If an impaired driver injures or causes fatality to another, this is not considered a “felony DUI.” Rather, a driver would be charged with negligent homicide, manslaughter, or murder.

Penalties for an Underage DUI

If you are under the age of 21 and were driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system you can be charged with “minor operating after consuming alcohol.” You may also be charged with DUI just like an adult. In cases involving underage drivers, a first offense can result in a $500 fine, a 30-day license suspension, and up to 40 hours of community service. A second offense can come with a $1,000 fine, 60 hours of community service, and a 60-day license revocation. If you are convicted a third time, you may incur a $1,500 fine, 60-80 hours of community service, and a 90-day license suspension. A judge may also order you to attend an alcohol education class or treatment program before your license can be reinstated.

Contact an Experienced Alaska DUI Attorney

Misdemeanor vs felony is the battle that will be played out in your case, if you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s essential to have a criminal defense attorney by your side to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome. Known as The Trial Guy, Eric Derleth has over 25 years of experience handling criminal defense matters and DUI cases in Alaska. With offices in Anchorage and Soldotna, Eric represents clients in Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Palmer, Wasilla, and throughout the state. Whether it be misdemeanor vs felony DUI charges in Alaska, please contact attorney Eric at 907-262-9164 or online to learn how he can help.