Should you or shouldn’t you take a breathalyzer test? That’s a question you likely will have to consider if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. It is an important question, and your decision, either way, will likely have significant consequences.
Anyone pulled over in Alabama has a legal right to refuse the breath test. If you decline to take the test, however, the state may suspend your license for at least 90 days. The police officer may arrest you under the state’s implied consent law – even if you didn’t touch a drop of alcohol before driving.
An article in Verywell Mind suggests drivers should never refuse the breathalyzer test. While you have certain rights as a citizen, driving isn't one of them. Driving is a privilege granted to people who have applied for a license and met certain conditions, such as passing a written exam or road test.
Implied consent law explained
Under “implied consent,” all licensed drivers agree to take certain actions if stopped by a police officer. You might think you never made any such agreement, but you did when you applied for your license and signed your name on it. As Verywell Mind reminds readers, implied consent is in the fine print.
Generally, implied consent laws in most states mean that drivers have agreed to the following:
- Carry a driver’s license and proof of insurance
- Show these documents to a police officer if asked
- Agree to DUI tests if the officer asks (including a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content)
- Perform field sobriety tests if asked
Courts can convict even if you refuse the test
If you refuse to take the test – which you can do – you may lose your license for a time. Some drivers suspected of DUI might think it is a risk worth taking. A court can still convict a driver of DUI even if he or she refused to take the breath test.
The prosecutor can tell a jury that the person accused of drunk driving refused to take a blood alcohol content test. The jury then can use that information as evidence that the accused was trying to hide the fact that he or she was over the limit.
What’s more, police officers can testify they detected an odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath or that they noticed the driver was slurring or unsteady on his or her feet.
Verywell Mind concludes by stating that refusing to take a breathalyzer test will likely lead to larger fines, a lengthier license suspension and the possibility of a longer jail term.
How a DUI attorney can help
Getting pulled over on suspicion of DUI is frightening. It is difficult knowing what you need to do to protect your rights.
If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, it’s critical to contact an experienced attorney in Alabama. Talk to us at Barclay Law, LLC.
Put an experienced lawyer in your corner. DUI Attorney John Michael Barclay has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of the accused.