Driving under the influence is a danger to everyone on the road. In Alabama, the court takes this charge seriously, mandating heavy penalties for a first offense. In certain situations, a driver has the right to refuse DUI testing, but this choice can have implications as the court case proceeds.
What constitutes driving under the influence?
While a police officer may pull you over for erratic driving, a formal DUI charge involves your blood alcohol content. If a breathalyzer or blood test shows your BAC is 0.08% or more by weight, the court presumes that you were operating under the influence.
For drivers with levels between 0.05% and 0.08%, a DUI is not automatic. Instead, a prosecutor will use your BAC as a contributing factor along with visual reports from the arresting officer.
At less than 0.05%, the court assumes you were not driving while intoxicated. However, drivers who are under 21 or are responsible for children can be cited if their BAC is higher than 0.02%.
The penalties for a DUI increase with each offense. Your first two offenses are misdemeanors. However, Alabama law considers anything above a second offense as a felony.
Some of the penalties for DUIs include:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Monetary fines
- Jail time
- Mandatory counseling
The admissibility of refusing a test
Alabama has an implied consent law regarding BAC testing. You agreed to DUI testing when you applied for your license. However, you may refuse the test if the police stop you for an offense other than a DUI.
Refusal may keep a DUI off your record. However, in a DUI court case, prosecutors can also submit your refusal as evidence of possible intoxication. Refusing BAC testing will also result in a temporary license suspension.
The best way to avoid a DUI is to avoid drinking and driving. Using a designated driver or a taxi service after drinking will keep the roads safer for everyone.