Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are a terrifying reality for a person who has been stopped after he or she has been drinking. However, what many people in Georgia do not realize is that they may face even more severe penalties if they refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. Georgia has an implied consent law, which means that if a person satisfies the following criteria, he must submit to the test:
- The person was arrested for driving under the influence; and
- The officer had probable cause for making the stop.
The chemical test is administered to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the individual and the testing must occur quickly after the time of arrest. The individual being arrested for DUI does not have a say in the form of the test that is given – that is determined by the arresting officer and it does not matter if the person being tested has a fear of needles or some other issue. The officer must advise the person being arrested for DUI about the provisions of the implied consent notice, which includes the warning that if a person were to refuse the chemical test, he could lose his license for a period of one year or more. In addition, the notice provides that a person who consents to the chemical test administered by the officer or a person working under his direction has the right to pay for an additional test performed by the person or business of his choosing. This basically provides an opportunity to collect evidence that the test performed by the police was flawed.
If a person has previously refused to consent to a chemical test after a DUI arrest, then the second refusal may lead to a license suspension of up to three years while a third refusal can result in a five-year license suspension.
The refusal to consent to the test leads to an immediate revocation of the license at the time of the arrest. In its place, the officer can issue a 30-day permit, which provides the person with time to contest the confiscation of his license at an administrative hearing. It is important to remember that the hearing request must be made to the Department of Driver Services within 10 days. If the person fails to request a hearing or the determination that the suspension was appropriate is made, then the time for the suspension is retroactive back to the refusal to consent.
One of the things that people erroneously believe is that even with a one-year suspension, there still is the possibility of getting an exemption to drive to school or work or a hardship permit that allows a person to drive to medical appointments or treatments, but this is not the case. In the event of a suspension based on a test refusal, the loss of driving privileges is complete. If a person does consent to the test and faces DUI charges, it may be possible to get a limited use permit while the person undergoes a Risk Reduction course.
The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Fights for its Clients
Driving under the influence charges always are serious, so it is critical to get a skilled attorney defending your rights quickly, making the call as soon as the police allow it. The right attorney can guide you through the process in order to minimize the negative consequences to you or your loved one. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. understands how DUI arrests work in Atlanta and throughout Georgia and we are ready to challenge the procedures, including the testing, in order to get the charges reduced or dismissed completely. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations and are ready to come to you in jail.