DUIs are no joke. If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, chances are you will have a million thoughts racing through your head and it can be hard to know exactly what to say or do in the moment. Many people do not know that they have a choice about whether to submit to a breathalyzer or urine test. However, saying no is not simply a get-out-of-jail-free card. It comes with its own penalties. In some cases, though, it may still be worth considering.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Georgia
When you drive on Georgia’s roads or highways you are impliedly consenting to follow all of the state’s laws and traffic regulations. You are also impliedly consenting to take breathalyzer tests at the request of law enforcement. For this reason, there are consequences for refusing. If you do not consent to a breathalyzer when you are pulled over, you will likely be given an implied consent violation. An implied consent violation results in an automatic suspension of your license for one year. However, it is important to note that your license is suspended via an administrative process as opposed to a criminal one, so whereas if you went to court for a DUI charge it would show up on your criminal record, a license suspension for refusing a breathalyzer test will not.
It should also be noted that even if you refuse a breathalyzer test in the field, you can still be brought back to the police station and given a test there, which they will have a warrant for. Some people may prefer this because the delay may allow their blood alcohol level to drop below the legal limit. It should also be noted that police may still be able to charge you with a DUI without the breathalyzer evidence. Police can charge you with DUI based on their interactions with you, if you appear to be intoxicated, and if they have observed you acting or driving apparently under the influence. Police may also still ask you to perform field sobriety tests. However, these tests are highly inaccurate and can generally be challenged fairly easily at trial. It is hard to balance all of these considerations in the moment, especially with your adrenaline pumping, so it is good to have an understanding of your options ahead of time in case you should ever find yourself in that situation.
Challenging a DUI
If you are charged with a DUI, it is important to have an attorney to fight to get the case against you dropped or the charges reduced. There are many ways to challenge a DUI, from the accuracy of the breathalyzer and field sobriety tests to the handling of evidence and procedural issues. The best way to keep a DUI off of your record is by not being convicted of one, and your best chance at avoiding a conviction is by hiring an attorney.