In Georgia, drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) are often asked to take a breath test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). However, drivers do have the right to refuse this test. While this may seem like a good option for drivers who want to avoid incriminating themselves, refusing a breath test in Georgia can have serious consequences and penalties.
Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test in Georgia
When a driver refuses a breath test in Georgia, their license will be immediately suspended for a year. This suspension is mandatory and cannot be waived, regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted of DUI. Additionally, the driver will not be eligible for a limited driving permit during the suspension period.
It is important to note that if a driver has previously refused a breath test within the past five years, their license will be suspended for three years if they refuse again. Similarly, if the driver has a prior DUI conviction within the past ten years, their license will be suspended for three years if they refuse the test.
Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test in Georgia
In addition to the immediate license suspension, there are other penalties that can come with refusing a breath test in Georgia. These penalties can include:
Increased Insurance Rates: When a driver refuses a breath test, their insurance rates are likely to increase significantly. This is because insurance companies view this as an admission of guilt, and as a result, they may raise the driver’s rates or even cancel their policy altogether.
Criminal Charges: Refusing a breath test in Georgia can also result in criminal charges, which can carry heavy fines and potential jail time. In addition, a criminal conviction can have long-lasting consequences, such as difficulty finding employment or housing.
License Revocation: If a driver is convicted of DUI and also refused a breath test, their license may be revoked for a longer period of time than if they had submitted to the test. In some cases, a license revocation can last up to five years.
Additionally, it is important to note that even if a driver refuses a breath test, they can still be arrested and charged with DUI based on other evidence, such as their driving behavior or performance on field sobriety tests. In fact, the prosecution may use the fact that the driver refused the test as evidence of guilt in court.
In some cases, a driver may have a valid reason for refusing a breath test, such as a medical condition that makes it difficult to blow into the machine. However, it is important to note that in Georgia, there is no legal requirement for police officers to accommodate these types of situations.
If a driver does refuse a breath test, they should be aware that they still have the right to request an administrative hearing to contest their license suspension. This hearing must be requested within 30 days of the license suspension, and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to help you prepare for this hearing and advocate on your behalf.
While refusing a breath test in Georgia may seem like a way to avoid incriminating oneself, it can have serious consequences and penalties. Drivers should be aware of their rights and the potential outcomes of refusing a breath test, and they should consult with an experienced attorney if they find themselves facing DUI charges.
Willis Law Firm can assist individuals who are facing consequences and penalties for refusing a breath test in Georgia. Our experienced attorneys can provide the following services:
Legal Representation: Our attorneys can represent clients in administrative license suspension hearings, criminal court proceedings, and appeals. We will work to protect our client’s rights and minimize the impact of the charges they are facing.
Case Evaluation: We can review the circumstances of our client’s cases and help them understand their legal options. We can also provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the case and advise clients on the potential outcomes of different strategies.
Negotiation: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain or reduced charges. Our attorneys have experience negotiating with prosecutors and can work to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.
Preparation: We can help our clients prepare for administrative hearings and criminal court proceedings by gathering evidence, preparing witnesses, and developing effective legal strategies.
Support: Facing criminal charges can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Our attorneys can provide emotional support and guidance throughout the legal process.
At Willis Law Firm, we understand the serious consequences and penalties that come with refusing a breath test in Georgia. We are committed to providing our clients with skilled legal representation and personalized attention to help them achieve the best possible outcome in their case.