At the end of a tough day at work it can be nice to indulge in a drink or two. But what happens if you are pulled over by police after drinking? This can be intimidating experience, especially if you felt you were safe to drive. Before you know it, the police are asking you to perform a breath test to see if you are driving under the influence. Can you say no?
Implied consent laws
Under Alabama law, as part of the privilege of driving, motorists implicitly agree to perform a breath test if lawfully asked to by police to determine the motorist’s blood alcohol concentration. However, you can refuse to submit to a breath test. If you do, there are consequences. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, even before you are convicted of DUI. If it is your second or subsequent refusal your driver’s license will be suspended for a year or more. This could significantly impact your career and social life.
Drug tests and implied consent
Driving under the influence does not just mean being intoxicated by alcohol. It also means being intoxicated by drugs. For many years, police have had to rely on observation and field sobriety tests to determine if a motorist should be arrested for DUI due to drug use. However, Alabama has approved three roadside saliva tests to determine probable cause for arresting a motorist for driving under the influence of drugs. Implied consent applies to these roadside drug tests in the same way it applies to alcohol use.
Should you say no?
Ultimately, you have the discretion to refuse to submit to a breath test for DUI or a saliva test for DUI for drugs. You will have to weigh the consequences of refusal with the benefit you believe you will have by refusing to be tested to determine what actions to take.