Being pulled over and seeing those red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror can naturally be intimidating. If police believe that you have been driving under the influence, however, this can be an even more frightening scenario.
In Alabama, like in every other state, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime. Fortunately, though, even if you are arrested for DUI, you are presumed innocent until and unless you are proved guilty in a court of law.
If a police officer has reason to believe that you have been driving while under the influence, he or she may choose to conduct a sobriety test on you. A field sobriety test typically involves an officer asking you to perform several tasks, used to see if one’s cognitive or physical ability is impaired.
Some examples of these types of tests are having you walk heel to toe in a straight line or having you recite the alphabet backward. The officer may also choose to conduct the penlight and eye test, formally known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
In addition to performing a field sobriety test, the police officer might ask for your consent to perform a chemical test, or a Breathalyzer test, used to determine intoxication. This test measures your blood alcohol level during your traffic stop.
If the officer offers you a Breathalyzer test, you do have the option of refusing it. However, Alabama has the law of implied consent. This means that, if you are operating a motor vehicle on public streets, the implication exists that you will complete a Breathalyzer test if probable cause exists to suspect that you are driving under the influence. If you decide not to take this test, you will receive particular automatic sentences, such as the suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days.
After the traffic stop
If an officer arrests you for driving under the influence, you have the right to fight your DUI charge. Gathering the required documents and evidence as soon as possible is necessary following your arrest. You may be able to appeal your automatic sentences in a civil court in Alabama, have your driver’s license suspension lifted or even get a reduced sentence.