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DUI Test Refusal

A drunk or drugged driving stop in Alabama can be a confusing experience – especially if you are unfamiliar with the law. Law enforcement officers are encouraged to crack down on drunk driving cases, and even a simple traffic stop for something as mundane as a malfunctioning blinker or speeding can quickly turn into a drunk driving investigation.

The officers are highly trained in several signs of drunkenness and drug usage, as well as procedures that will help provide evidence of drunk driving. The important thing to remember is that, even though Alabama is an implied consent state, you still have the right to refuse any test – although there may be consequences for doing so.

Huntsville DUI Test Refusal Lawyer

If you have exercised your Fifth Amendment rights and refused to submit to a DUI chemical test  in Madison County, Morgan County, Marshall County, Limestone County, or Jackson County, call the Huntsville DUI defense attorneys at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal.

With almost 40 years of experience on both sides of the courtroom, they will construct a solid defense that takes in to account all sides of your arrest while fighting to protect your rights throughout the legal process. This includes fighting for your driving privileges after an administrative suspension for refusal. Your first consultation is free, so call us at (256) 533-4529 today to schedule yours.

Information on DUI Test Refusal in Alabama

Driving in Alabama is a Privilege

What many drivers in the state of Alabama don't realize is that driving is a privilege and not a right under law. Alabama Code Section 32-5-190, also known as the Alabama Chemical Test for Intoxication Act, states that driving is a privilege not just for Alabamians with their driver's license, but also for:

  • Unlicensed residents
  • Licensed nonresident drivers
  • Unlicensed nonresident drivers

The purpose of this is so that all people on the roads in Alabama, licensed or unlicensed, resident or nonresident, are subject to the same requirements and penalties of the state's drunk driving law. Therefore, all drivers on Alabama roads are giving their implied consent to chemical testing if stopped and/or arrested for DUI.

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Implied Consent Laws for Drivers

According to section 32-5-192 of the Alabama Chemical Test for Intoxication Act, every person who operates a motor vehicle on Alabama roads automatically has given his or her consent to a chemical test of his or her blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining alcoholic content. This is defined legally as implied consent. After you have been stopped and a law enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe drunk driving has been committed, the officer may then designate which of these tests to administer. If you refuse the blood test, the officer can then designate either a urine or a breath test instead.

Note that the implied consent law does not apply to field sobriety tests. You are not under any circumstances required to complete these tests – and there are no legal consequences for refusing to do so. However, if you refuse to submit to any chemical test at all, the Director of Public Safety will be notified and there will be administrative consequences. This does not, however, mean you should submit to a chemical test. An experienced Huntsville drunk driving defense lawyer can help you fight the administrative consequences as well as the drunk driving charge.

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Consequences for DUI Chemical Test Refusal

Once you have been arrested for drunk driving in Alabama and given your final refusal to submit, you will be subject to a 90-day administrative license suspension that takes effect 45 days post-arrest. For a second or subsequent refusal of chemical DUI testing within five years, the license suspension period will increase to one year. This is in addition to any criminal penalties imposed if you are convicted of drunk driving.

However, refusing a blood, breath, or urine test for DUI does not have to ultimately end in a suspension of your driver's license. For instance, if you are ultimately acquitted of the drunk driving offense, the Director of Public Safety may reduce or eliminate the period of suspension. Additionally, each person subjected to an administrative suspension by the Director of Public Safety may request a hearing to review the following:

  • If the law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to conduct a DUI investigation
  • If the alleged offender was actually put under arrest and if so, correctly
  • If the individual actually refused to submit to the test upon request of the officer

Unlike other states, Alabama does not consider whether the person was informed of the automatic revocation of his or her license upon refusal an issue during the administrative license hearing. After the hearing, the Director of Public Safety will either sustain the suspension or revoke it.

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you have a right to request an appeal. Nonresidents should note that the directors' decision will be forwarded on to the appropriate entity in his or her home state. For all of these proceedings, an experienced Alabama DUI defense lawyer will be able to represent you and fight for more favorable outcomes.

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Proven Defense Strategies for DUI Test Refusal in Madison County

Refusing a DUI test is within your rights, but the legal concept of implied consent means it can come with the inconvenient circumstance of having your license suspended.

If you are facing the administrative consequences after refusing to submit to a DUI chemical test in the Huntsville area including Decatur, Madison, Athens, Albertville, and Scottsboro, contact the experienced drunk driving defense attorneys at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal today. We will fight to overturn the suspension as well as assist in the rest of your drunk driving proceedings. Call (256) 533-4529 to set up your free consultation.