Refusing to Take a BAC Test
You Have the Right to Refuse Chemical Tests
In Georgia, you have the right to refuse to take a breath, urine, or blood test during a DUI arrest. These chemical tests are often administered in order to obtain a measurement of a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC). If any one of these BAC tests result in a measurement exceeding the legal BAC limit, a police officer is allowed to arrest someone on suspicion of DUI.
However, these tests are not always accurate. Unfortunately, an improper procedure or faulty BAC measurement can still result in a DUI charge. Because of this, it is important to know your legal options and rights when you submit to a test or refuse to take it.
Refused to take a BAC test? Contact the Atlanta lawyer at The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. and find out how a BAC test may affect your DUI case.
Understanding Georgia Implied Consent Law
Georgia law requires individuals to submit to a chemical test if law enforcement officials have probable cause to suspect that a person is driving under the influence. This is known as the law of implied consent, and all drivers in the state are automatically bound to this law. Under implied consent, you still have the right to refuse to take a BAC test—however, refusing to take a test comes with its own consequences.
Refusing to take a BAC test under implied consent can result in the following:
- 1st Offense: 1-year license suspension
- 2nd Offense: 3-year license suspension
- 3rd Offense: 5-year license suspension
Should I refuse to take a BAC test?
When you refuse to take a BAC test under implied consent, the arresting officer is legally permitted to take your license away and issue you a temporary driving permit. However, this does not mean your license will be suspended—if you file a hearing request with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), you may be able to appeal the license suspension and protect your driving privileges. Before you choose to go through an appeal hearing alone, speak with a skilled DUI attorney in Atlanta to help ensure your appeal is successful.
The state of Georgia allows for a chemical test be administered to any driver who is suspected to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Typically, the chemical test will be administered by the law enforcement officer who made the initial stop, and it will be used to assess whether or not the driver was, in fact, driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or even a combination of the two.
A driver's breath, blood, and urine can all be examined in a chemical test; however, the method that is used can vary depending on the situation at hand. For example, if the law enforcement officer suspects impairment from alcohol, then he or she will likely administer a breath test to determine intoxication. If the law enforcement officer suspects impairment from drugs, then he or she may be more likely to administer a blood test for assessment of intoxicated driving.
At the time that a driver is asked to submit to any type of chemical test for the purpose of determining his or level of intoxication there is always the opportunity to refuse such an assessment. Doing so, however, can result in serious consequences for the driver. Any DUI suspect who refuses to submit to a state-administered chemical test could be issued a "hard suspension of driver's license," which is a one-year driver's license suspension without permitted allowances for driving to and from work, school, church, doctor's appointments, etc.
Only an administrative hearing that is scheduled within ten business days from the time that the driver was pulled over can potentially prevent against hard suspension of a driver's license. If the driver's situation is viewed favorably at the hearing, then a driver's license suspension of this nature can be avoided. The same is true of drivers who are not ultimately found guilty at trial, as well as those who plead guilty to reckless driving and those who are able to convince the driver to withdraw the Form 1205 from the Department of Driver Services.
Knowing the implications of refusing a chemical test in the state of Georgia can certainly make the decision to reject such a test a more difficult one. Depending on the circumstances at hand, it can be hard to know whether a refusal would further jeopardize a defendant's case or not. In general, the situation can vary greatly depending on the unique aspects of the case. Therefore, it's wise to approach a situation of this nature knowing everything there is to know about the repercussions and implications of any potential actions that might be taken.
Breath Test Machines Can Malfunction!
Anyone who submits to a chemical test such as the breath test should be aware of the fact that the machines used to conduct these assessments can – and do – malfunction. As such, Georgia state law allows for all persons who submit to this type of state-administered test to also be tested by an independent provider of their choice.
Rather than refusing a test of this nature, it is sometimes beneficial to submit to the test and then challenge the results in court if need be. No matter what decision you make, however, you can always enlist the supportive legal defense at The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub. Under the guidance of an attorney at our firm, a strong defense can be built for the purpose of challenging the DUI allegations that you are currently facing.
Learn more about how to appeal your driver's license suspension.
You May Still Face Criminal Charges
Even if you refuse a BAC test, and even if you successfully appeal a license suspension, this does not protect you from the criminal charge of DUI. The DUI charge and license suspension are two separate cases, and each one can have an effect on your rights and your driving privileges. Our Atlanta DUI lawyers have more than 55 years of combined experience handling DUI charges and criminal defense cases of all kinds. Do not hesitate to contact our firm and get informed about your legal options.
Schedule a case evaluation with The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. today and obtain the legal defense you may need to ensure your rights are protected!