Alabama’s Implied Consent Law
[Effective August 1, 2021]
Alabama’s DUI statutes create an additional sanction and penalty for anyone that refuses to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or oral fluids following a lawful arrest for DUI. This law is known as the “Implied Consent Law” and requires all motorists who operate a motor vehicle on a public highway to submit to a chemical test when directed by a law enforcement officer. This statutory requirement exists whether the motorist is licensed in the state of Alabama or another state, or is an unlicensed driver. See, Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5-171.
Refusal to submit to an evidentiary test when properly directed by a law enforcement officer will result in a 90-day driver’s license suspension, with no chance at obtaining a restricted license during that time.1 The 90 day suspension of driver license for test refusal is in addition to any suspension or revocation action that may result from conviction for DUI.
By law, the prosecutor is authorized to use a refusal to submit to a breath test as evidence in the criminal court case, arguing under Alabama DUI law that the refusal is an implied admission of guilt. A skilled DUI defense attorney will be needed to file a challenge to the alleged test refusal in order to keep the motorist’s license from being suspended, as well at trial to rebut the argument of “implied guilt” because there may be valid reasons why an innocent driver might refuse to submit to or complete a chemical test.
1 If the refusal is the second or subsequent refusal in the past ten years, the driver license or privilege will be suspended for one year.
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