If you are stopped by an officer and suspected of impaired driving, you are likely to be asked to submit to a state administered chemical test. These chemical tests will be looking for alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The officer may request tests of your breath, blood, urine, or other substances. If the officer suspects impaired driving due to alcohol, a breath test will likely be requested. If the officer suspects impaired driving due to drug use, a blood test will likely be requested. A driver may refuse to submit to the chemical test but the consequences may be harsh. Often times, I am asked "should I take the test"?. That is never an easy question to answer and depends on the circumstances. Considerations may include: the number of previous DUI convictions, the need for a license, and your level of impairment. For many people, multiple DUI convictions are less desirable than an extended license suspension.
Breath Test Machines Can and Do Malfunction
If you do submit to the state administered test, Georgia law gives you the right to have an independent chemical test performed by a provider of your choosing. Exercise this vital right! Breath test machines are "machines" and as such are subject to the same failures and faults as all machines. If your state test is performed on one of these faulty machines and you have your own independent result, your choice to obtain an independent test could be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
Possible Implications of Refusing the State Administered Test
If a Georgia driver refuses the state administered chemical test, the case can go in one of several directions. If the officer files a DDS Form 1205 with the Department of Driver Services, which he is required to do by law, the driver is facing a one year suspension of driving privileges without a permit to drive to work, church, or medical appointments. This is known as a "hard suspension" and no driving is allowed for one year. The driver can prevent this "hard suspension" if an administrative hearing is requested within 10 business days and the driver is successful at this hearing. The suspension will also be set aside if the driver is found not guilty at trial, pleads guilty to reckless driving, or convinces the officer to withdraw the 1205 prior to trial. If the officer fails to file the Form 1205, the suspension will not be imposed. Your best option is to retain an experienced DUI attorney to assist you in obtaining a positive outcome.
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