Whether or not you have been caught drinking and driving or whether you just want to know the facts about the laws in Georgia, the importance of knowing your rights in any situation is always important. Laws regarding DUI have become increasingly strict over the last two decades and they are continuing to evolve as time goes by.
Below is a list of some of the most important information regarding your rights in the state of Georgia, but before reading, know that I in no way encourage or promote driving under the influence and that I provide this information as a service to the many upstanding members of communities throughout the state that may find themselves in an unfortunate situation.
- A breathalyzer is a mechanized system for determining the blood alcohol content in an individual’s system. The results are based on the absorption rate of a beam of light that passes through the suspect’s breath which contains alcohol molecules. However, this is a very inaccurate method to measure blood alcohol content, as variations in the readings can result from deeper and longer exhalations.
- Remember that breathalyzers, especially roadside breathalyzers, are inaccurate. With that in mind, you should never take a roadside breathalyzer unless you are absolutely sure that your blood alcohol content is zero. Even if you have only had one or two drinks, a roadside breathalyzer can and often does, register a reading over the legal limit in the state of Georgia.
- You have the right to refuse a roadside breathalyzer test under Georgia law. It will probably result in a trip to the local police station if an officer feels that you are over the legal limit, but it is better to take that trip down to the station than risk a roadside breathalyzer.
- At a police station, you do not have the right to refuse the in-station breathalyzer. Everyone who drives on Georgia roads or has a Georgia driver’s license has given what’s called implied consent. Refusing an in-station breathalyzer test will result in an automatic implied consent violation.
- Implied consent violations carry a penalty of a one year suspension of your driver’s license. Unfortunately, there are no hardship licenses, licenses to drive to and from work or school, given to those who have been convicted of an implied consent violation. However, if convicted of a first offense DUI, the one year suspension can be alleviated with the acquisition of a hardship license when there is no other means of transportation available.
- Whether you should take the in-station breathalyzer is up to the individual and based on his or her circumstances. Because no one has access to a lawyer at the exact moment of a DUI arrest, it is best to know your rights and the circumstances of the event so that you can make the best decision possible.
Know that you have the right to refuse a roadside breathalyzer and should refuse if you are concerned about your potential reading. Also, remember that you have the right to refuse an in-station breathalyzer as well, but will most likely lose your license for one year due to an implied consent violation.
If faced with a difficult problem and legal situation, consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your individual case and circumstances.