During your drive home late at night in Valdosta, you find yourself pulled over by the cops. They inform you that they suspect you of driving under the influence (DUI). After a bit, they will likely ask you to take a breathalyzer test to confirm your blood alcohol content (BAC), which determines if you are driving above the legal limit.
If the test determines your BAC to be too high, you could be facing numerous consequences in your personal and professional life. Once the prosecution gets those numbers, they have ammo for their argument from something that may not be completely accurate. You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test in Georgia to potentially avoid penalties that damage your career, but you should know the extent of your ability to avoid the test and what can happen as a result.
The prosecution lacks more strength now
In most states, refusing the breathalyzer test can still be usable to the prosecution in court. They present this evidence to imply that you did not take the test because you were sure that you would be above the limit if you did.
However, a trial last year made some updates to Georgia’s DUI laws. After the court believed that taking the test was equivalent to making self-incriminating statements, they made a new ruling that allows their refusal before or after the arrest not to be held against them. The only way the police can get you to submit to a breathalyzer test is to get your consent or if they have a warrant for your arrest.
There are still consequences
While refusing the breathalyzer might deal a large blow to the prosecution’s argument in proving your DUI guilt, you are not completely off the hook yet. The court still holds the law that those who refuse the test could have their license suspended for a year. If this happens again within 5 years, then the suspension period will be even longer.
Even if refusing the test might prevent some DUI charges, not having a license for a year can still be damaging. You now need someone to drive you somewhere unless you want to receive more penalties for driving with a suspended license.
But there is still hope. You have 30 days to appeal to prevent your license suspension, and you will likely need the assistance of a skilled DUI defense attorney to minimize the chances of losing your driving privileges.