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What happens if I refuse a breathalyzer under Alabama law?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2021 | DUI/DWI Defense |

If you get pulled over, and the police officer has cause to believe that you might have been drinking, they could ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. Whether you have actually been drinking or not, you might feel tempted to refuse. But what could happen to you if you do?

Alabama DUI laws

Alabama law takes driving under the influence very seriously. If you drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more, you can face severe consequences. These consequences include huge fines, getting your license suspended and even jail time.

If an officer pulls you over, and thinks that you might have been drinking, they have the authority to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer is a machine that does a chemical test of your breath in order to determine whether you are above the legal limit for blood alcohol content.

When you got your drivers’ license, you consented to submitting to a breathalyzer test whenever a police officer requests one of you. If you refuse, your refusal can be used against you in the court, and it carries other consequences as well.

The first time you refuse a breathalyzer test, you can have your license suspended for 90 days. That suspension occurs whether or not the police arrest you for having a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit. This is because refusing the breathalyzer test is a separate offense from driving under the influence.

If you refuse a breathalyzer test for a second time, your license will be suspended for one year. This suspension comes from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and is totally separate from any additional penalties you could face from a court if the police arrest you.

If the police ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test, it could be in your best interest to take it. Your attorney might be able to challenge the results of the test in court in some circumstances. That way, you might be able to avoid getting your license suspended.