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Pending DUI testing law will impact accused Alabama drivers

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2021 | Criminal Law

When an Alabama driver is accused of driving under the influence, there will be inevitable fear as to what the future might hold. A conviction can be problematic in various ways with the possibility of fines, jail time, a driver license suspension and the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on the driver’s vehicle. There are other challenges that may arise after a conviction as it could hinder a person’s ability to get certain jobs and will result in higher auto insurance costs. Often, these cases hinge on evidence and a recently passed law will add to the testing procedures officers can use during an investigation.

Starting in August, saliva tests required during DUI investigations

A law requiring people suspected of DUI to submit to a saliva test will go into effect in August. Under the current law, a warrant is needed for a law enforcement officer to compel the driver to have a blood test to determine the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). In August, officers can do the test at the time of the arrest. If a driver refuses to submit to the saliva test, the driver license will be suspended immediately. There are concerns as to how this new law will impact people who have prescription medications in their system. If they have a valid prescription, this could muddy the water for determining whether the person was impaired or used drugs illegally.

From the perspective of prosecutors, this gives them another weapon to secure convictions. Law enforcement agencies are in the process of training their officers in how to conduct these tests and what the regulations will be. The Alabama District Attorney’s Association defends the new protocol by pointing out that drug use is becoming more prevalent with drivers and is nearly as big a problem as alcohol in causing auto collisions.

All laws need to be understood when crafting a defense

The new testing procedure that will begin in August adds another layer to the litany of concerns a driver will be confronted with if there are DUI allegations. The circumstances of the case itself will play a significant role in the type of criminal defense to use. Officers might use questionable justifications to make the traffic stop and this can taint the entire investigation. The results of the breathalyzer, whether the evidence was accrued according to the law and other issues are keys in how the case will proceed. The saliva test must be understood as part of combating the charges. Those who are arrested for DUI should be aware of their rights and take the necessary steps to seek a positive outcome.