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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > What Happens If I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test In Atlanta?

What Happens If I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test In Atlanta?


If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Atlanta, you will be asked to perform a chemical test. Depending on the preference of the officer, they may ask you to complete a blood, breath, or urine test. In most cases, however, they will request that you perform a breathalyzer test. They are only likely to request a blood or urine test if they have reason to believe a drug or non-alcohol substance that would now show up in your breath is responsible for your impaired driving. In any case, the officer who pulls you over has the right to determine the test administered. The officer must also, however, inform you of your right not to consent to this test. In the heat of the moment, that option may seem to be too good to be true. Can you actually refuse to consent to a breathalyzer test? And if you do, what will happen?

Refusing Consent for a Breathalyzer Test in Georgia

When you drive on any Georgia roads you impliedly consent to being tested for DUI if police officers or state troopers have reason to believe that you are driving impaired. However, this does not mean that you can be compelled to take a breathalyzer test on the side of the highway. In fact, the police must even tell you that you do not have to consent. If you refuse to consent to a breathalyzer test, the police will immediately take your license away and you face a possible penalty of having your license suspended for up to one year. However, you will be given a 30-day permit during which time you can file a request to appeal the suspension. If you do not file an appeal during that 30-day time frame, your license will be suspended for a year on the 45th day from the date of your arrest.

It’s important to note though that this suspension is an administrative penalty as opposed to a criminal one, so it will not show up on your criminal record. It will, however, show up on your driving history.  Of course, if that was the only possible outcome, everyone would do it. Refusing to consent to a breathalyzer does not mean that the police cannot test you at all, but it does delay the process. Police do not require breathalyzer test results to place someone under arrest for DUI. They are allowed to act on their observations, witness statements, manner of driving, and anything else that gives them reasonable belief that you were driving while impaired. Once you are under arrest, they may obtain a warrant for a blood or urine to be tested. However, that will likely result in a slight delay in the testing, perhaps up to several hours, which may make a difference in the ultimate test results with regard to blood alcohol level. Police can also use your refusal to consent to a blood test to indicate guilt at trial, which can be considered against you. There are many factors to weight, and the best decision will depend on the unique factors and circumstances of your specific case.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers

Serving all of Georgia, including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs, Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers are ready to fight to get your DUI charges dropped. Contact our Georgia criminal lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.



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