Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
Seek Assistance from a Top-Tier DUI Lawyer in Cumming
When you have been pulled over under the suspicion of DUI, the decision of whether to comply with a breath or blood test or not can be a difficult one. In a DUI case, the results of a breath test are often the strongest evidence the prosecution has against you.
However, refusing to be tested comes with its own penalties. If you refuse to submit to a blood test, the state of Georgia can start the Administrative License Suspension Process (or ALS Process) and suspend your license for one year without any permit to drive. Facing twelve months completely unable to drive leads many drivers to plead guilty to the DUI. It seems like they have no other option, but you always have the right to defend yourself, and no one is automatically guilty. At The Epps Law Group, our Cumming DUI lawyer is committed to helping clients in situations like these.
The Legal Driving Limit
A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or above is considered over the limit for drivers over the age of 21, and a BAC of .02 is legally intoxicated for those under 21 and not of legal drinking age.
If a law enforcement officer administers a chemical test that determines you have met or exceeded those limits, you have committed a DUI per se offense; that is, the act of driving at that level is inherently illegal, regardless of whether or not there is any evidence that your driving was impacted. This is a very strong case for the prosecution, so it is understandable that some drivers think refusing the test is their best option. However, as mentioned above, refusing to submit to a chemical test is far from a simple solution to the problem.
10 Day Letter for DUI in Georgia
If you have been accused of a DUI and have refused a chemical test, the most important thing to start with is a 10 Day Letter. This request for an ALS hearing must be filed within ten days of your arrest in order to appeal the suspension of your license. A 10 Day Letter is recommended in all DUI cases, but if you have refused to submit to a breath test, you must file this request in order to defend yourself.
Once the request is filed, your attorney can investigate your case and identify potential defense strategies. It is important that the arresting officer followed the correct procedures when you were arrested; if they did not, your refusal might be thrown out entirely.
Suspended License after DUI
In the case that you fail to submit a 10 Day Letter in the required timeframe, the Georgia Department of Drivers Services will suspend your license. Georgia state law is very strict in cases of refusal to submit to a blood or breath test. This kind of suspension does not allow any limited license options, so it has a significant impact on your day to day life.
You may struggle to get to school or work without being able to drive. The threat of losing driving privileges for twelve months is something the state of Georgia will use as leverage to pressure drivers into pleading guilty to DUI. It seems like the easiest way out, but you never have to plead guilty. A Georgia attorney who specializes in DUI will be able to advise you on what options you have in your case.
Refusing the Breath Test
Georgia law requires you to submit to a state-administered test of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substances. As mentioned above, refusing to comply with this testing results in suspension of your license. However, the arresting officer is required to inform you of the Georgia Implied Consent Law when asking you to submit to a test.
If the officer gives you advice or answers questions that contradict the Implied Consent Law, the state cannot hold the results of a chemical test or the refusal to submit to one against you. An investigation by a skilled attorney will determine if the arresting officer violated Georgia’s Implied Consent Law.
Bring in a Dedicated DUI Attorney in Cumming for Assistance
It may seem like there are no good options when faced with the choice of taking or refusing a blood or breath test. With license suspensions, fines, community service and even jail time on the line, it is crucial to reach out to legal counsel as soon as possible. Georgia DUI laws are complicated, and consequences can come very quickly.
You always have options for your defense, and the sooner you reach out to a dedicated lawyer, the better your options are likely to be. Call us today at (678) 257-4507 to get started with a free consultation!
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