Refusing a Chemical Test: What You Should Know
After a law enforcement officer has determined that you may have been drinking and driving, they are going to put you in handcuffs and bring you back to the station. If this isn’t worrying you enough as it is, one of the first things they are going to do when you arrive is ask you to take a chemical test. It might sound like something out of a mad scientist’s lair, and it isn’t too far off in reality.
There are three forms of chemical tests used by law enforcement in Georgia: the blood test, the breath test, and the urine test. As the names suggest, each one works by taking a small sample of one of the three sources from you and testing it for alcohol concentration. Using whatever results they find in comparing it to your body size, weight, and type, they extrapolate and determine if you are under the influence or not. If worse comes to worse, you are found to be unlawfully intoxicated and you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
But don’t you have the right to refuse a chemical test? It is fairly intrusive, after all, and it is technically collecting evidence against you through a search and seizure, albeit from your own body. And, it is true, you can refuse to take a chemical test. But, basically any DUI attorney will tell you, refusing a chemical test is not a good idea except in limited circumstances.
Implied Consent & Immediate Penalties
Stopping the police from getting evidence to use against you sounds like a good idea on the surface. When it comes to preventing a chemical test, though, it can spell your own undoing. Due to Georgia’s implied consent law, which states you agree to chemical testing so long as you are driving a motor vehicle, refusing to take a test can trigger an automatic 1-year suspension of your driver’s license. Do it again, and the suspension could be 3 or 5 years long. Intoxicated or not, refusing to take a chemical test could cause this suspension.
On the other hand, if you take a chemical test and the result is 0.08% BAC or above, don’t panic and lose hope just yet. An experienced DUI attorney can challenge any chemical test. Problems with the machine, how the test was conducted, and how the samples were extracted and stored can all make the results inaccurate and unusable.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia and need legal help, call 912-764-2623 to connect with W. Keith Barber, P.C. You can also request an initial consultation to get a rundown of your legal options.