If you’re accused of DUI in Alabama (whether alcohol or drug related) – you could have to put your entire life on hold to deal with the ramifications. Know your rights – contact a trusted DUI attorney. There are ways to help avoid a DUI arrest and the consequences associated. This short post covers some quick tips on how to avoid DUI in Alabama and what steps you should take if you’re caught driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs).
Don’t drink and drive
This is the best way to avoid getting charged with DUI. If you’re planning to consume alcohol: leave your vehicle, have a designated driver present, call a taxi, use public transportation, sleep over, or walk. No matter what you choose to do, driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol should not be one of the options.
Know your limit, stay within it
North Alabama does not have a “zero tolerance” law on driving and alcohol – meaning it’s not illegal to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. There is however a prescribed legal blood-alcohol level (0.08%) that the driver must remain under in order to legally operate a vehicle. If your blood alcohol level (or BAC) is above the legal limit – you are risking a DUI charge. You’re deemed to be “incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.”
Sleeping in your vehicle
Sleeping off intoxication in your vehicle is a legal act – but make sure you follow these guidelines so that you do not get into trouble. Never be in physical control of your vehicle while intoxicated and sleeping. You do not need to be witnessed driving to receive a DUI in Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, or surrounding areas in North Alabama. If you are going to sleep in your vehicle – take the keys out of the ignition, turn off all the lights and move into the passenger or rear seat. This way no reasonable person would deem you to be in control of the vehicle and you will be fine to drive again once you have sobered up.
Minimize your chances of being pulled over
Be mindful of rules for any road you drive on as any minor infraction can result in you being legally stopped for a roadside check – potentially subjecting you to investigation. Also make sure your vehicle is in good repair: turn signals and brake lights work and your windows, if tinted, are within the legal limit. As you drive, signal all your turns, don’t use your high beams and don’t weave, change speeds or make improper lane changes. You can be pulled over for a routine traffic stop and end up being arrested for DUI if the officer suspects you’re under the influence.
Be prepared to show your license and registration
Have all your paperwork in a readily accessible place in case you get stopped so that you will draw as little attention to yourself as possible. If you get stopped and you are unorganized or appear to be in a bewildered state, an officer’s suspicion may be triggered, which could result in a sobriety test to ensure you are not driving under the influence.
Always be courteous to police officers
Mouthing off to an officer is a quick way to get yourself into a pile of trouble. If an officer stops you – remain calm and be polite. Answer questions and be cooperative as you’ll have a better chance of coming out of the situation without issue.
Field sobriety testing/ roadside breath test
In the state of Alabama, field sobriety tests are voluntary, meaning that you may refuse to participate. It is up to the individual as to whether to take the test or not. It is a good idea to fully understand what the test involves, how they are judged, and why they are given in order to make an informed decision regarding DUI testing. As a motorist you are entitled to decline a test and excuses such as road surface, weather conditions or a physical impairment can be used as plausible reasons for denial. Be prepared to have the officer view your decision as admission of guilt and proceed accordingly. This matter can then be sorted out in court where legal council can properly represent you.
Blood Alcohol Testing (BAC): Know your rights
If you’re arrested for DUI in North Alabama – you may be subjected to a blood alcohol test to determine a level of intoxication. There are three BAC testing methods: breath, blood, and urine. The most common roadside test is the breath test, also known as a ‘breathalyzer’. Before a BAC test is administered, the roadside officer giving the test will inform the driver that his or her license will be suspended for 90 days (automatically) for refusing the test. What they won’t tell you is that your license will be suspended for the same 90 days anyways if your results are over the legal BAC limit. You will also have simultaneously provided incriminating evidence against you. What the motorist should do is ask for an independent BAC test to be administered. An independent test must be provided after the police commissioned test has been performed. If you are not allowed to seek an independent BAC test then your DUI lawyer may be able to suppress the police ordered BAC test.
Do NOT plead guilty
If you’re arrested for DUI – plead NOT guilty. Instead, hire a trusted DUI defense attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to interpret the circumstances around your case and what options you have.
If you or a loved one have been accused of DUI/DWI in Huntsville or North Alabama – contact a DUI lawyer from our team to schedule a free consultation. We have decades of combined experience defending thousands of DUI related cases (including alcohol and drug related). Schedule your free consultation today by calling (256) 539-4464 or completing a case evaluation form online. Office locations in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama.
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