Criminal defense and consent: What’s one to do with the other?

Whether on a dark Alabama road at night or in broad daylight in a crowded parking lot, it is rather unnerving to be pulled over by police. The right to a criminal defense is inherent so anyone who has been detained (and, if a police officer has pulled someone over, that person has indeed been detained) may request legal representation. If police start asking questions or request a driver to step out of a vehicle or perform field sobriety tests, etc., the issue of consent has arisen and may be a key factor in the situation should charges later be filed.

There are basically two different types of consent. Express consent means that a person has signed something to grant consent or has issued verbal permission. This is also sometimes referred to as “implicit” consent.

Implied consent is an entirely different matter. In fact, in many states (Alabama included) as soon as a person receives a valid driver’s license, he or she has given implied consent to certain things. This means by obtaining a valid driver’s license, a driver automatically (not implicitly) agrees to submit to any breath, blood or urine tests lawfully requested by a law enforcement agent if suspected of DUI or similar offenses.

Although absent of explicit written and/or verbal permission, implied consent means it has been assumed that a person has consented to something. Because of implied consent, a motorist who refuses to take a Breathalyzer or other chemical test when asked to do so by police may incur an automatic license suspension or other penalty (because he or she has agreed to take the test by obtaining a driver’s license). An Alabama attorney can clarify the various definitions of consent and provide criminal defense guidance to anyone facing charges as to how best to proceed to achieve a positive outcome.

Source:, “What is implied consent?“, Margaret Rouse, Accessed on Feb. 1, 2017