Alabama Alcohol Laws
Alabama has strict laws regarding the use of alcohol. Many counties are even ‘dry,’ meaning alcohol is not produced, sold, or served in restaurants.
Where to Buy Alcohol
In counties where alcohol is legal, it can be purchased any day but Sunday. Spirits and wine with an alcohol content of 14 percent or higher are sold in ABC stores, also called package or state stores. Table wine (less than 14 percent alcohol) and beer with less than 6 percent alcohol content is available in groceries and convenience markets. Alcohol is not served after 2 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
The legal drinking age is 21, with a minimum age of 19 to work as a server of alcohol in a restaurant or bartender. In grocery and convenience stores, those age 16 or over may sell unopened packages of beer or wine if a supervisor over age 19 is present.
Open Container Laws
As in most states, in Alabama it is illegal for anyone in a vehicle to have an open bottle of alcohol. Open container laws mean that any previously opened bottles of alcohol must be in the car’s trunk where it cannot be accessed by the driver or passengers.
The maximum blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent for this state. ‘Zero tolerance laws’ subject drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of operating a vehicle with a .02 percent blood-alcohol level or above to DUI penalties. If a driver tests positive for alcohol consumption over this limit, the driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and no other proof is needed for conviction of driving under the influence (DUI).
Implied consent laws mean that drivers suspected of driving under the influence must cooperate with breath, blood, or urine testing. Refusing to cooperate with testing can incur a minimum mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to a year.
For the first DUI offense the mandatory suspension of the driver’s license is 90 days; for the second offense, one year; for the third offense, three years. DUI in Alabama is a misdemeanor crime, elevated to a felony on the fourth offense.
In some states vehicle confiscation, ignition interlock installation, and enhanced penalty laws for those convicted of DUI with particularly high BAC at the time of arrest are possible penalties, but not in Alabama. Mandatory alcohol education and assessment or treatment can be required.