Alcohol Testing in Alabama DUI Cases
If a law enforcement agent in Alabama suspects that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance, they may pull the vehicle over and ask the driver to submit a DUI chemical test to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which determines how intoxicated the person may be.
While in the moment it may feel scary or frustrating to be accused of driving under the influence, drivers in Alabama must submit a DUI chemical test if a law enforcement officer requests it. A chemical test may be a breathalyzer test on the spot, or a urine or blood sample at a police station. An experienced Alabama DUI attorney can assist you in understanding the legal processes associated with your arrest.
Alabama DUI Laws
In the event that a driver is stopped and asked to submit a DUI chemical test, it is in order to determine whether or not BAC is within legal limits according to the Alabama Legislature Code of Law Section 32-5A-191. The legal limits in Alabama that determine a DUI offense are:
- Under 0.08% BAC for a driver of legal drinking age
- Under 0.04% BAC for a driver of a commercial vehicle of legal drinking age
- Under 0.02% BAC for a driver of a public transportation vehicle of legal drinking age
- Under 0.02% BAC for a driver who is not of legal drinking age
A DUI chemical test will measure a driver’s BAC to determine whether or not it is within legal limits. If it is over these listed limits, the driver may be penalized as a misdemeanor or felony in Alabama depending on the circumstances. These chemical tests will also determine whether or not a driver tests positively for any controlled substances in their system, which is illegal if present in the driver’s system.
Refusing Chemical Testing
It is highly recommended any driver submit a DUI chemical test to law enforcement during a DUI arrest. Alabama implied consent laws state that any driver on public roads automatically consents to submitting a chemical test to law enforcement should an officer suspect that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or other substances. The test may be a breathalyzer upon arrest or a urine or blood test at the police station. When a driver refuses chemical testing, he or she is breaking this law and as a result, will face penalties.
If it is a first-time refusal for a DUI arrest, the individual will have their license suspended for 90 days, and if it is the second time during a stop the driver refuses a test, the suspension will be for a full year. When a license is suspended, the driver is not allowed to operate any vehicles during the period of suspension. The driver also forfeits rights to a hearing to plead the case sentencing if chemical testing is refused.
When a driver submits a DUI chemical test and is charged with a DUI, for a first offense he or she will have the option of a restricted license instead of suspension. A restricted license will allow a driver to operate the vehicle with an ignition interlock installed that will only turn the engine on if the driver has submitted and passed a built-in breathalyzer test with a 0.02 percent BAC level or less. However, when a driver refuses chemical testing, this option is no longer available.
Consulting with an Attorney
A DUI arrest can be a nerve-wracking and confusing experience, especially if it is the first time. Maybe the fear and accompanying adrenaline influences a driver to refuse a chemical test or to act in a way that negatively impacts his or her case. DUI convictions come with many unfavorable penalties like hefty fines, jail time and license suspension or revocation. Even a repeat offender will likely experience that sensation of fear about the future when encountering law enforcement on the road.
For these reasons and many others, it is important to seek legal representation to help in a case of a DUI arrest. A DUI attorney can navigate the complex legal system in Alabama in order to defend the rights of the people of Alabama who are accused of driving under the influence. If you find yourself in a situation with DUI charges laid against you, contact an Alabama DUI lawyer who can help you achieve the most positive outcome possible for your case.