Refusal of Breath Testing in Atlanta
Refusing a breath test in an Atlanta DUI will depend on which breath test the police are using at what time. Atlanta police or Georgia State Patrol may use two kinds of breath testing devices. The first is a field breath test, also known as a breathalyzer. This is the handheld device officers use when they pull over your car. The breathalyzer is used by police to generally gauge the amount of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, these results are only used for the police investigation, and to help them determine whether there is probable cause to arrest you.
You have the right to refuse a portable field breath test. The field breathalyzer results are not used as evidence in court that you were intoxicated, and their results can be inaccurate. Even if you refuse to submit to a breath test on the side of the road, the police may still arrest you for a DUI if they believe they have probable cause that you are driving while intoxicated. Even without breathalyzer results, the police will try and determine whether you might be driving drunk based on the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, red eyes, or even admitting to drinking.
After you get arrested for driving under the influence, you will be required to submit to a breath test. This is not the same as the field breath test, and is usually done at the police station. The police may ask you to submit to a blood, breath or urine test. It is up to the police which test they want to perform, not up to the driver. If you refuse whichever test is offered, your refusal will result in a suspended license. This is because of Georgia's implied consent laws. Additionally, the prosecutor may try and use your refusal against you in court.
Georgia Implied Consent Laws
Having a Georgia driver's license effectively means that you have consented to chemical testing. If you refuse a police request for chemical testing after a DUI arrest, then the Georgia Department of Driver Services will take your license away. This is a separate process from the criminal proceeding, and does not even depend on a guilty verdict. Even if you were completely sober, refusing a breath test will mean you lose your license for a year.
There are two ways to fight your license suspension: request an administrative license suspension hearing from DDS or to install an ignition interlock device. You only have 30 days to submit the hearing request or install the device, or you will lose your chance to challenge your suspension. An Atlanta DUI lawyer will be able to file the 30-day letter and submit the appropriate filing fee to secure your hearing. They will then be able to challenge the suspension in an administrative hearing, so that you can keep your license.
Whether or not you submitted to a breath test in the field, or the police station, or refused any chemical testing, you still have options. Contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer who will investigate your case, and try and determine whether the police made any mistakes in advising you of your implied consent option. They can then use this information in your favor to have evidence thrown out. In addition, because chemical tests are not always accurate, unreliable samples should not be used against you. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer can fight to keep that evidence out of court, to ensure you get fair treatment.
Breath Test DUI Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been arrested for driving under the influence in the Atlanta area, your license will be suspended if you refused to submit to a breath test. However, there may be reasons why your refusal to take a breath test was justified, and that should not be used against you in court. Call me today, so we can discuss just what happened in your case, what the police did and said, and I will fight for you to keep your license to drive, and your record clear.