Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer in Alabama?
Being pulled over by a police officer who requests that you submit to a breathalyzer test can be a nerve-racking experience, especially if you have indeed been drinking. If you are pulled over and asked to submit to a breathalyzer, you may be wondering what your legal rights are, whether or not you have an obligation to submit to a breath (or blood) alcohol test, and what the penalties are if you refuse. The following explores Alabama’s implied consent laws, and what your options are if you refuse a breathalyzer test.
Alabama Implied Consent – What’s That?
All states in the country have implied consent laws. These laws stipulate that at the time a driver’s license is received, the individual receiving the license gives their “implied consent” to either a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test, or both if requested by a law enforcement officer. To be sure, Alabama Code Section 32-5-192 reads that, “Any person who operates a motor vehicle…shall be deemed to have given his consent…to a chemical test or tests of his blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood…”
In other words, if you have a valid driver’s license in the state of Alabama, then you have a legal obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test.
What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer?
Despite the fact that implied consent laws oblige you to submit to a breathalyzer test if pulled over while driving and suspected of driving under the influence (DUI), you have the right to refuse said test. However, the refusal of a breathalyzer does carry penalties. The same section of Alabama law cited above reads that if a person refuses a breathalyzer test, none shall be given, but upon refusal, the person’s license shall be suspended for a period of 90 days.
If a person refuses a breathalyzer a second time within a five-year period, license suspension increases to one year.
Can I Be Convicted of a DUI without Proof of Intoxication?
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher in Alabama, assuming you are over the age of 21 and are not operating a commercial vehicle or school bus (standards are stricter for drivers in these categories). However, even if the prosecution does not have absolute proof that you had a BAC of .08 percent or greater at the time of arrest, you may still be convicted of a DUI if there is other convincing evidence against you. While refusing a breathalyzer test in some cases may be advantageous, it may also be injurious in some situations.
Contact an Alabama DUI Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Alabama – whether you refused a breathalyzer or not – you need to contact an experienced Alabama DUI attorney immediately. Your attorney will work with you to explore your legal options, and fight hard on your behalf to have charges against you dropped or sentencing reduced. Contact the Law Office of Ginger Poynter, LLC at (251) 445-8313, or by using our online contact form, today to schedule your free case consultation.