The refusal of a breath test in Atlanta may be wise or necessary sometimes, but it can also have significant consequences. Before making a decision, consult with an skilled DUI attorney experienced with breathalyzer testing to determine the best course of action in your particular case and in your particular circumstances.

Role of Implied Consent

Implied consent is a contract between the individual and the state of Georgia. What it means essentially is that, by getting a driver’s license, the person has agreed to submit to a state-administered chemical test for or blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purposes of determining if they are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, despite the implied consent, a person is allowed to refuse the testing subject to certain penalties.

Valid Search

The Georgia Supreme Court and the Williams Case indicate that just because the person consents for the purposes of implied consent does not mean that the person has consented for the purposes of a valid search. In Mcneely v. Missouri, the United States determined that a blood, breath, or urine test cannot be compelled from an individual without a warrant or consent.

As a result, in Georgia, all blood, breath, and urine tests are searches that a person either has to expressly consent to, and that consent has to be voluntarily made. Just because a person says “yes” on implied consent, a suggestion or a question by the officer does not mean that it is full valid consent.

Refusal to Take the Test

There are three kinds of samples used in Atlanta alcohol and drug tests:

  • An Intoxilyzer 9000
  • A breath machine
  • A gas chromatograph blood testing mechanism to test blood

If someone refuses to take the breath test, blood test, or urine test, their license can be suspended for 12 months without a permit. The second or third time a person refuses  one of these test, the consequences are exactly the same.

DUI Alcohol Education Course

An individual would have to enroll in a DUI alcohol education course regardless of whether they refused or submitted to the test. If the person gets convicted of driving under the influence, the result is a mandatory 20-hour enrollment in DUI school. This approach is called “risk reduction.” It is a mandatory course that a person must take in order to get their license back.

Reasons to Refuse a Breath Test

If a person thinks they are under the influence of alcohol and they are going to fail it, they may refuse to take the test. Another reason given may be that they do not trust blood, breath, or urine tests. There is usually no reason given other than the fact that the person simply does not want to submit.

A justifiable reason can be that the person believes that the test is going to be wrong, but most people do not have any education or understanding as to why the test would be wrong.

There is no legal justification to refuse other than the fact that the person simply chooses to refuse, which the person has the legal right to do.

How An Attorney Can Help

While there is no requirement to submit to the test, there are penalties for refusing. Therefore, the best case scenario is to have an experienced attorney guide and advise you through the process so as to determine the best course of action at each step.

A good lawyer will fight to have the charges dismissed if possible, and if not, to mitigate the damages and work for the best possible outcome in the case.