One common question drivers ask is whether they should agree to take a breathalyzer in the event they are pulled over by an Alabama officer. An officer may not reveal at the time of the stop that a driver does, in fact, have the right to refuse a test, but is it the right thing to do? Will you face harsher consequences if you refuse a test? Could a refusal cause additional legal problems down the road?
Breath, blood, and urine tests are intended to be used as scientific proof that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was above the legal limit at the time you were pulled over. Our Birmingham drunk driving defense lawyers are experienced in the investigation of DUI allegations and can protect your rights. We are knowledgeable about the law and the practical application of evidence in every case. Knowing your rights and the law can give you leverage when fighting back against a DUI allegation.
If an officer has “scientific evidence” that your BAC was over the limit, this could make a defense in your case more challenging. Under Section 32-5-192 of the Alabama penal code, getting behind the wheel is providing “implied consent” to provide chemical tests, including blood, breath or urine. This law essentially states that in exchange for using Alabama roads, drivers have given an automatic consent to submitting a breath test related to a DUI arrest.
Penalties can be immediate for drivers who refuse a test. Under the law, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days if you refuse the test. While it may seem that there is no way out or that drivers do not have a choice, remember that you do have rights an options. When you work with an experienced DUI defense attorney, your advocate can immediately file for stay of the suspension while your DUI is pending. Remember that the caseload for prosecutors is heavy so many will be willing to work out a plea bargain or other arrangement to minimize your suspension.
Refusing a blood-alcohol test could reduce the evidence presented against you in court; however, it could also result in the suspension of your license. You also have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, blood and urine tests. Either way, you should consult with an experienced advocate who can help you explore your defense options. In most cases, your license will be suspended for 90 days if you refuse a breathalyzer, but an advocate may be able to stay the suspension through the trial.
DUI penalties can be severe, so your defense will be critical. Alabama has recently passed a law that increases the punishment for convicted drunk drivers. In these cases, if you refuse the breathalyzer, you could face double the minimum punishment of suspension and be forced to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. In addition to license suspension and an interlock device, convicted DUI offenders may also face excessive fines and jail time. An experienced advocate can explore your defense options and work towards an optimal outcome in your case.
More Blog Entries:
Factors Affecting Birmingham DUI Field Sobriety Tests, October 4, 2010, Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyer Blog
Pennies Under the Tongue, and other DUI Myths, Sept. 21, 2013, Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyer Blog