What Happens If I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test?

Once they sign for their driver's license, Georgia drivers have agreed to follow the state's implied consent law. Implied consent means that any driver that is stopped by law enforcement under suspicion of driving under the influence is agreeing to have a breath, blood, or urine test performed to determine their blood alcohol content. When a driver refuses to submit to these tests, they face immediate administrative actions by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), whether or not they were found guilty of DUI.

Can refusing a BAC test help my case?

There are a few tests an officer may ask a driver to take if they are suspected of DUI. Field sobriety tests and breath tests performed before an arrest are not legally required, and drivers should politely refuse to take these tests. However, if an arrest has been made, an officer is required to inform a driver that a mandatory test will be administered to determine their BAC.

Should a driver refuse to take the test:

  • First refusal: One year license suspension
  • Second refusal: Three year license suspension
  • Third refusal: Five year license suspension

Aside from the automatic suspension, further refusal can be used against the driver in criminal and civil court as an indicator of their guilt for driving under the influence.

The officer will immediately take away the driver's license and issue a driving permit. This permit gives the driver 30 days to challenge the suspension with the DMV. This suspension is different than the one given for those convicted of DUI, and will be administered whether or not the driver is found guilty.

A DUI defense attorney knows a number of methods that can be used to discredit the legitimacy of a breath test, so refusing the test is not usually recommended. While it prevents the prosecution from having solid evidence against the driver, refusal is usually taken as an automatic admission of guilt.

If you are wondering how a mandatory breath test applies in your DUI case, the Willis Law Firm can help. Time is of the essence, so call our firm right away for your free case consultation.