Can I Refuse a Breath Test in Georgia?

If you are arrested for DUI, the law in Georgia requires that you take a breath, blood, or urine test. Georgia has an "implied consent" law that requires this test if you are arrested by law enforcement but only if they have probable cause for the arrest. If there is probable cause that your driving is impaired, then the law states that you must perform one of the tests in order to see what your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is. In Georgia, the law enforcement officer is able to choose which chemical test you will take.

The law enforcement officer who arrested you has to read a notice of implied consent that explains the consequences of not complying. The notice says that if you do refuse to perform the tests, your license will be suspended for at least 1 year. On top of that, the officer has to explain that if you take a chemical test, you then have the option to take another one. If you want to take another test you have the ability to choose who gives you the test but this may come with an expense to you. Lastly, the arresting officer has to ask you if you are going to perform a test willingly under the Georgia implied consent law.

If you refuse to willingly perform the chemical test, the arresting officer will immediately take your license. You will be provided with a permit that is good for 30 days and in that time you are able to request a hearing where you can contest the suspension of your license. If you do not challenge the suspension and this is your first refusal, your license will be suspended for 1 year. There are ways to get your license back if it is suspended. After 1 month, you can complete a risk reduction program and pay $210.00 to get your license reinstated.

Once you refuse a second time, if it is within 5 years of the first refusal, your driver's license can be taken for 3 years. In this case, you cannot apply to have it reinstated until after 18 months of suspension. At that point, you can pay the fee and complete the risk reduction program to get your license back. The length of the suspension will continue to increase with each subsequent refusal. Whether it is your first or fifth refusal, the state might ask for you to take a driving test before you can get your license back.

It is not usually helpful to refuse a chemical test once you are arrested for a DUI. While the penalties for refusing the test are not as harsh as the penalties for a DUI conviction, you may still be convicted. Conviction for a DUI entails paying large fines, spending time in jail, completing a risk reduction program, and performing community service. Even if you do not perform the chemical test, the law enforcement officer can still arrest you if they believe your ability to drive is impaired.

The refusal can harm your case later one because oftentimes officers use your refusal as a signal that you were aware you were driving under the influence and that was the reason you would not perform a test. If you have been arrested for a DUI you should immediately seek assistance from an Atlanta DUI attorney who has experience handling all types of DUI cases. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation!

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