When you see those red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and hear the whoop of the police siren as the cop car pulls you over, it can be a stressful moment — especially if the scent of alcohol is still on your breath. It’s been a while since you had your last drink earlier in the night, but still, you worry that you’ll fail the Breathalyzer test the cop is likely to ask you to take.
You know that if you’re convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), it can jeopardize your employment, professional licenses and personal reputation. That said, can you just refuse to comply with the request for a Breathalyzer test?
Yes, you can decline to take the breath test in Georgia. However, there are some serious (and automatic) consequences if you do.
When you are arrested for suspicion of DUI or involved in a car wreck causing serious injury, the police officer will read you a mandatory notice and ask you to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of one year.
Like most states, Georgia has so-called “implied consent” laws. These laws follow the idea that driving is a privilege, so when you refuse to take a test to determine if you’ve been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you forfeit that privilege.
Thankfully, your refusal to take the test can’t be used against you as evidence in a criminal trial. However, losing your driver’s license for a year is a steep penalty that should make you think twice before refusing the test.
Help with your legal defense
Still not sure what you should do? If you are facing charges of suspected DUI, don’t let it ruin your life. Talk to an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney who can make sure you get the fairest treatment possible under the law.