Alaska DUI Laws & Penalties

Do not drink and drive in Alaska because if you get caught, it is impossible to avoid jail time, fines, driving license suspension and other heavy penalties. To understand better what your risk if you do so, keep reading.

What is an Alaska DUI Offense

You commit an Alaska DUI offense if you operate a vehicle, aircraft or watercraft while intoxicated with alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impair driving abilities.

Alaska has incorporated the “per se” doctrine in the DUI legislation, which means that you’ll get charges as long as your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) meets certain legally set thresholds.

These thresholds in Alaska are:

  • 0.08% for all adult drivers
  • 0.04% for commercial drivers
  • 0.00% for drivers under 21 years of age

Aside from having traces of alcohol or drugs in your organism, you can get charged if you refuse to submit to a chemical test as well. Every driver in Alaska is considered to have agreed to do a test upon a request of a police officer, therefore refusing it won’t save you from penalties. Instead, it can only make things worse for you, since the driving license suspension is longer compared to penalties upon submitting to a test.

It is also important to note that Alaska doesn’t have a traditional open container law, which means that having an open container filled with alcohol won’t lead to charges. However, the driver is not allowed to drink and drive at the same.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Alaska

The penalties for driving while intoxicated in Alaska are as harsh as everywhere else in the United States, with one difference – there are no upper limits for the penalties, but only minimum ones. If you get charged and convicted, the court cannot choose a punishment for you under the legally set limit. Instead, it must respect the prescribed minimum.

When it comes to the maximum penalty, the court is free to take into account all the circumstances of the case and give you as much as it finds necessary. It doesn’t mean, however, that the Alaska courts give outrageously high penalties. They are reasonable.

The punishment you’ll get depends on how many DUI offense you have committed before. The court will examine how many previous DUIs you have in your lifetime and how many of them have been committed in the last 10 years.

Unlike most of the other US states, Alaska may count your DUI offenses in other US states as well. Then, when the court sums it all up, you’ll be punished as follows:

First Alaska DUI Offense

A first Alaska DUI offense is a misdemeanor and leads to the following penalties:

  • Minimum 72 hours in jail.
  • Minimum $1,500 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 90 days with a possibility for a limited driving license after serving 30 days of the suspension.
  • 12 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol  drug evaluation and an approved Alaska DUI education class.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

Second Alaska DUI Offense

Your second Alaska DUI offense is a misdemeanor as well. It is punishable by:

  • Minimum 20 days in jail.
  • Minimum $3,000 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 1 year with a possibility for a limited driving license after serving 90 days of the suspension.
  • 24 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance in alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

Third Alaska DUI Offense

The Alaska courts will punish your third DUI offense in the state with:

  • Minimum 60 days in jail.
  •  Minimum $4,000 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 3 years.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Attendance in an Alaska alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

If this was your third Alaska DUI in the last 10 years, then your offense is a felony and the penalties are harsher, as follows:

  • Minimum 120 days in jail.
  • Minimum $10,000 in fines.
  • Permanent driving license suspension with a possibility to re-apply for license restoration after 10 years if certain requirements are met.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back, if ever.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.
  • Vehicle forfeiture.

Fourth Alaska DUI Offense

A fourth lifetime DUI offense in Alaska will cause the following punishments:

  • Minimum 120 days in jail.
  • Minimum $5,000 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 5 years.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

If this was your fourth Alaska DUI in the last 10 years, the authorities will impose more severe penalties as follows:

  • Minimum 240 days in jail.
  • Minimum $10,000 in fines.
  • Permanent driving license suspension with a possibility to re-apply for license restoration after 10 years if certain requirements are met.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back, if ever.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.
  • Vehicle forfeiture.

Fifth Alaska DUI Offense

Your fifth Alaska DUI offense within 15 years of the previous convictions brings:

  • Minimum 240 days in jail.
  • Minimum $6,000 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 5 years.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

However, if this was your fifth Alaska DUI offense within a 10-year period in which you have two previous offenses, you’ll be punished as follows:

  • Minimum 360 days in jail.
  • Minimum $10,000 in fines.
  • Permanent driving license suspension with a possibility to re-apply for license restoration after 10 years if certain requirements are met.
  • 60 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back, if ever.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.
  • Vehicle forfeiture.

Sixth Alaska DUI Offense

Your sixth Alaska DUI offense within 15 years of the previous convictions brings:

  • Minimum 360 days in jail.
  • Minimum $7,000 in fines.
  • Driving license suspension of 5 years.
  • 36 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.

However, if this was your sixth Alaska DUI offense within a 10-year period in which you have two previous offenses, you’ll be punished as follows:

  • Minimum 360 days in jail.
  • Minimum $10,000 in fines.
  • Permanent driving license suspension with a possibility to re-apply for license restoration after 10 years if certain requirements are met.
  • 60 months of driving with an ignition interlock device upon getting the driving license back, if ever.
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation.
  • Possible attendance of alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Possibility to be prohibited to buy alcohol in a period set by the court.
  • Vehicle forfeiture.

Alaska DUI Penalties For Drivers Under 21 Years of Age

Alaska punishes young drivers under 21 years of age for any detected alcohol or drug traces in their organisms while driving. If they get caught, the court may impose them the following penalties, depending on how many subsequent offenses they have committed in the past:

First Alaska Underage DUI Offense

  • Fine of $500
  • Community work of up to 40 hours
  • Driving license suspension of 30 days

Second Alaska Underage DUI Offense

  • Fine of $1000
  • Community work of up to 60 hours
  • Driving license suspension of 60 days

Third Alaska Underage DUI Offense

  • Fine of $1500
  • Community work of up to 80 hours
  • Driving license suspension of 90 days

Alaska DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers make a living by driving a vehicle, therefore they have to be very careful with drinking and driving in order to avoid the penalties. They commit a DUI offense just by having 0.04% BAC, which is only the half of what all other drivers are allowed.

Aside from all other penalties applicable to the other drivers, commercial drivers will have their commercial driving license suspended for a full year right from the first offense. If they were driving hazardous materials, the suspension is 3 years.

The second offense leads to a permanent suspension of the commercial driving license, which means that the driver has to seek another job.

 Alaska DUI Penalties for Test Refusal

The test refusal penalties in Alaska differ from those in most of the US states by the possibility to end up in jail. Refusing a test is most states will save you from jail but will serve you a longer driving license suspension. In Alaska, there is no way to escape the bars. If you have refused a test, expect the following penalties:

Refusal as a first offense:

  • At least 72 hours in jail
  • Up to $1500 in fines
  • Driving license revocation of 90 days
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device use for 12 months

Refusal as a second offense:

  • At least 20 days in jail
  • Up to $3000 in fines
  •  Driving license revocation of 1 year
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device use for 24 months

Refusal as a third offense:

  • At least 60 days in jail
  • Up to $4000 in fines
  • Driving license revocation of 3 years
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device use for 36 months

Refusal as a third offense within the last 10 years:

  • At least 120 days in jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Permanent driving license revocation

Refusal as a fourth offense in a lifetime:

  • At least 120 days in jail
  • Up to $5000 in fines
  • Driving license revocation of 5 years
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device use for the whole period of probation

Refusal as a fourth offense within the last 10 years:

  • At least 240 days in jail
  • $10000 or more in fines
  • Permanent driving license revocation

How to Reinstate Your Alaska Driving License

To reinstate your Alaska driving license, head to your local DMV and:

  • Pay the reinstatement fees
  • Pass the written, vision, and road test, if required
  • Present proof of having SR22 insurance or another financial responsibility instrument
  • Present proof of using an ignition interlock device and that you have passed an alcohol and drug treatment program if required
Additional Alaska resources you may need: