Implied Consent Notice in Atlanta
In Georgia, police have the right to stop a driver observed breaking a traffic infraction like speeding. They also have the right to conduct a driving under the influence, or DUI, investigation if a driver is allegedly intoxicated during that traffic stop. After arresting the police must read the driver the Georgia Implied Consent Notice.
As part of the DUI investigation, the police may ask the driver to submit to a breath, urine or blood test. This test is often required to help determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Although the police may “ask” a driver to undergo one or more of these test, it is a request the driver can decline.
How Georgia Implied Consent Law Works
The reason why an Atlanta driver can decline the request to undergo DUI testing is because of the Georgia Implied Consent Law. The law requires every driver operating a motor vehicle in the state to submit to chemical testing of their urine, blood or breath to determine if drugs and/or alcohol is present.
Any refusal of chemical testing may result in a license suspension for 30 days after an arrest for DUI is made. A license suspension is automatic after a DUI arrest. It is a separate punishment that has nothing to do with the criminal charge. Instead, it is an administrative suspension that occurs long before the criminal DUI case is resolved.
The Implied Consent Notice in Georgia Depends on Driver Class and Age
The state has separate notices to inform a driver about their implied consent. The category notices include:
- Drivers over 21 years old
- Drivers under 21 years old
- Commercial drivers
The reason for the difference is Georgia has separate blood alcohol concentrations, or BAC levels, for each class of drivers. This is called a “per se” level of impairment.
Commercial drivers are considered per se drivers because their BAC level cannot be at or higher than 0.04 percent. Any driver under the age of 21 cannot have a BAC level at or higher than 0.02 percent. It also has license suspensions applied to the separate classes of drivers.
Drivers over the age of 21 years old who are not commercial drivers cannot have a BAC level at or above 0.08 percent.
Georgia Implied Consent Notice for Drivers 21 Years Old or Older
Drivers over 21 years old are required to undergo chemical testing of their urine, blood, breath or other bodily fluids for the purpose of determining their BAC. If the driver refuses, their license will be suspended for a minimum of 12 months. In addition, the refusal to submit to chemical testing will be treated as evidence against the driver.
If the driver does agree and their BAC level is over the legal limit, their license suspension is for at least 12 months.
A driver is allowed to have an independent chemical test conducted after their initial chemical test. They are required to pay for independent testing.
The Georgia Implied Consent Notice and Under 21-Year-Old Drivers
Georgia requires any driver under 21 years old to undergo chemical testing. If they refuse, it is a 12-month license suspension. The refusal will be used against the driver at trial. They do have a right to submit to chemical testing and obtain an independent test to use at trial.
The Georgia Implied Consent Notice and the Commercial Driver
The law also requires commercial drivers to submit to chemical testing for the purpose of a DUI investigation. If the commercial driver refuses the chemical testing, their commercial license is suspended for a minimum of 12 months. This license suspension does not include their personal driver’s license. The refusal will also be used as evidence at trial.
Getting out of Trouble after Refusing to Consent to Chemical Testing in Georgia and Violating the Georgia Implied Consent Notice: Yeargan & Kert, LLC
If a police officer asks a driver to submit to chemical testing and they refuse, a penalty may result. The driver may have their driving privileges suspended for 12 months. The driver will not be granted a limited driving permit. A limited driving permit allows a driver to travel:
- To and from work
- To and from school
- To and from medical appointments
A limited driving permit is not always given to the driver.
An Atlanta DUI lawyer would have to fight to get the refusal withdrawn. This is the first step restoring their client’s driving privileges via one of two types of withdrawals. The first option is a unilateral refusal withdrawal. The arresting officer will remove the refusal and restore the driving privileges. The driver will not have to plead guilty to the DUI charge with a unilateral withdrawal.
The second withdrawal option requires a driver to plead guilty to the DUI in exchange for having their license restored. They can then qualify for a limited driving permit or restricted license. This only applies to a first-time DUI or a first DUI in five years. The guilty plea will be added to a driver’s criminal record.
A refusal can be justified if the police officer misleads the driver or provided inaccurate information about the implied consent. The driver can change their mind and consent to chemical testing. This may invalidate the initial refusal.
Fighting Your Georgia Implied Consent Notice Violation with the Help of a Yeargan & Kert, LLC Expert DUI Attorney
One myth about refusing a chemical test during a DUI investigation is the driver is not giving police evidence to use against them. That is not true. The police have stronger evidence of DUI when a driver refuses to consent to chemical testing.
If you have refused chemical testing, contact Atlanta DUI lawyers at Yeargan & Kert, LLC. We will fight to clear up the refusal and help you avoid the harsh consequences associated with refusing to submit to DUI chemical testing.
The implied consent law is complicated, confusing and can cause additional legal trouble. Do not be a victim of the implied consent law. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC immediately.