If you get stopped by the Atlanta Police and the officer thinks you had any alcohol at all, they may arrest you for a DUI even if you aren't intoxicated. Then after you get arrested, the police will try and get a blood, breath or urine test sample. Even before you've had a chance to talk to your lawyer, or see a judge, the police can ask you for a blood sample. It is a very uncomfortable feeling having someone take a blood sample, when you aren't sure of their training or if you are in unfamiliar surroundings. Unfortunately, the law of Georgia does not consider it a voluntary test, and if you have been arrested for a DUI, then you have already “consented” to providing a chemical sample. This is the “implied consent” law in Georgia.
The law considers driving to be a privilege and not a right. One of the consequences of refusing to provide a blood sample to the police is that you will lose your license to drive, whether or not you are intoxicated. Your Georgia driver's license will be suspended for a year, and you won't even be able to get a hardship license to drive to work, school, or to take your kids to doctors appointments. All of this can happen without even having a conviction for a DUI, but just by refusing to let someone take a blood sample.
Refusing a Georgia Blood Test
An Atlanta DUI arrest will result in both a criminal proceeding and an administrative process. In the criminal proceeding, you will have the opportunity to have your day in court, to plead guilty or not guilty, and make the prosecutor prove their case against you. If you are found not guilty, then there will be no jail time, no community service, no fines, and most importantly, no criminal record.
Unfortunately, the same due process is not available in the administrative process. First of all, if you don't ask for a hearing, then your license will get suspended automatically. You have to request a hearing before you can even get a chance to fight the suspension. This is known as an administrative license suspension or ALS hearing. You only have 10 days from the date of arrest to request an ALS hearing. An Atlanta DUI defense lawyer will be able to send in a 10-day letter to make sure you get your hearing, and will be able to defend you so that you can keep your license to drive.
The decision of whether or not to submit to a blood test is up to you. If you give a sample, and it shows a blood alcohol test (BAC) of 0.08 % or higher, then the prosecutor will use this as evidence against you in court. However, if you don't give a blood sample then the police can still give evidence of your intoxication from their observations, such as claiming slurred speech, red eyes, or the smell of alcohol. On top of that, your license will get suspended for a year.
It is important for you to know that whether or not you submitted to a blood test or other chemical test, you still have defenses available. An experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer will investigate your case, gather all available evidence, and look for where the police made mistakes in your arrest, advising you of your rights, and how they administered drug and sobriety tests. These and other defenses can be used to protect your rights, and get the charges against you dismissed or reduced. Before you decide to plead guilty, speak to a DUI lawyer so that you know what options are available.
DUI Defense in Atlanta
Carefully consider calling an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer represent you during your administrative hearing and criminal proceeding. A skilled Georgia DUI lawyer on your side will defend your license, and fight the criminal charges against you. If you or a loved one have been arrested for driving under the influence in Atlanta, call me anytime day or night, and I will make sure that you get treated fairly and can keep your license to drive.