Under current Alaska drunk driving laws, a drunk driving offense (dwi or refusal) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Felony convictions are much more serious. A convicted felon has restrictions on his or her civil liberties.
The DUI or refusal will be charged as a felony if the person has two or more convictions for drunk driving or refusal in Alaska or any other state within 10 years prior to the date of the current arrest.
Punishment For Felony DUI
If convicted, the punishment for a felony drunk driving offense will depend on the person's prior criminal history record. The punishments for felonies are substantially more severe than for misdemeanors. There are mandatory minimum penalties for felony convictions, but the maximum sentence is not limited to 1 year of jail, as is the case with misdemeanors.
DWI - OWI - DUI - DWI Charges
DUI is an acronym for driving while under the influence or driving while impaired. It is also sometimes referred to as DWI (driving while intoxicated) or OUI (operating under the influence). All of these mean the same thing in Alaska -- being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, or with an illegal alcohol level.
Drunk Driving Offense
A drunk driving offense occurs when a person drives, or is in actual physical control of, a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other chemical substances, or with a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or greater.
Refusal to submit to a chemical test is a crime in Alaska, and carries the same penalties as DUI. "Refusal" refers to the suspected drunk driver declining a breath alcohol test at the station after arrest.. While the refusal should be explicit with statements to the effect of "I refuse to take the test" or similar language, the unfortunate reality is that police may charge a person with refusing in other situations, such as when the suspect cannot blow hard enough to make the machine work, or the machine is faulty and will not record results properly.
If a person is convicted of refusal to submit to a chemical test (breath alcohol test) after arrest, it will be crime, just like DUI.
Talk To An Attorney Today
Felony drunk driving charges are very serious. To speak with an attorney today, please call Attorney Fred Slone at (907) 272-4471.