Of all the legal things that people get ‘advice’ about from non-lawyers, DUI has got to be the most frequent. It seems that almost everyone who comes into my office to deal with the aftermath of a DUI has based certain decisions on what friends and family have told him.
You do not have a right to drive. Driving is a privilege that can be revoked. In Georgia (and, as far as I know, everywhere) there is something called “implied consent.” Implied consent means that if you have a driver’s license, it is implied that you consent to an officer giving you a breathalyzer or other substance abuse test to see if you are impaired if the officer has ‘probable cause’ to believe that you are under the influence.
Let us assume that an officer sees you weaving in your lane and pulls you over. He will read you the rules about implied consent, and ask you to blow into an instrument that measures the alcohol on your breath, or ask you to submit to a blood test to see if there are drugs in your system. Despite implied consent, you do have the right to refuse, and the ‘word on the street’ is that you should refuse. I even know some lawyers that think you should refuse.
I, however, advise you strongly to submit to whatever testing the officer wants you to submit to. For one, if you refuse a test, because of implied consent, which is a condition of your licensing, your license will be revoked. You will have to go to an administrative hearing to try to get it back if you want it back quickly. Your license may be revoked with a DUI charge as well, but it will be revoked if you don’t submit to testing.
Furthermore, if you don’t submit to the test, the only evidence the Court will have is the officer stating all the reasons why he thought you were under the influence, and your denials. Rightly or wrongly, for the most part, the fact finders tend to believe officers when it comes to a contest of credibility – and this is for good reason. You have a major motive for telling the court you were stone cold sober, and so your statement is suspect. Generally speaking, the office has no motivation to lie.
All DUI tests – the breathalyzer and the blood tests, have extremely specific procedures that have to be followed in order for the results to be admissible in Court. Because of the number and technical nature of these procedures, it is easy for something to be overlooked or a mistake to be made. Therefore, if you take the test, you give me something to work with as your defense attorney. If you don’t take the test, all I’ve got to go on is trying to make it look like the officer is lying, which is not at all a good bet.
Not everyone agrees with me, and you should judge every decision you make on the particular circumstances going on at the time. But my advice? When the officer asks you to blow – go ahead and do it.
This article was written by a lawyer, but should not be considered legal advice in any way, shape, or form. It is written for general (and generally vague) informational purposes only. In order to properly evaluate your case, a lawyer must examine all the facts and circumstances that are particular and personal to your situation. I have not done that here. It was first published in 2014.