Drivers pulled over for suspected drunk driving in Georgia should understand their rights and obligations regarding chemical tests that measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via breath, blood or urine.
Do you have to submit to these tests? No, but refusing to do so will result in harsh legal consequences.
Understanding Georgia’s implied consent laws
Georgia law considers driving a privilege and not a right. Under implied consent laws, if you drive on Georgia roads, you have consented to undergoing chemical tests to measure your BAC in the event you are stopped for suspected DUI.
In 2019, the state made some changes to its implied consents laws. Under the revised statute, arresting officers can no longer tell drivers that refusing to take a breathalyzer test can be used against them in court. Officers are still allowed to mandate blood and urine tests.
What if I consent?
If you consent to the chemical test and the results show you have a BAC of .08 or over, you face a potential driver’s license suspension of up to one year. You do retain the right to pursue an administrative appeal to protect your license from suspension. You may also seek early reinstatement of your driving privileges as well as a provisional license that allows you to drive for necessary functions such as work, school and medical appointments.
What if I don’t consent?
If you refuse to consent to the test, the state will suspend your driver’s license for 12 months with no option for early reinstatement. Also, you will not be eligible to obtain a limited license for work, school or medical reasons.
Whether you consent or not, you will also face criminal charges that run alongside the administrative proceedings concerning your driver’s license.
Know your defense options
Whether you consent to the chemical test or not, taking proactive legal action can dramatically reduce the long-term consequences this legal matter will have on your life. No matter how seemingly strong the evidence against you is, effective defense strategies may help you get your driver’s license back sooner than you might think.