Having a drink or two may seem like no big deal until you are driving home and see red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. Before you know it, police are asking you to exit your vehicle and perform a breath test. What happens now?
What is implied consent?
Georgia law recognizes that drunk driving is a “direct and immediate threat” to other motorists and the public as a whole. Therefore, motorists in Georgia have, for the privilege of driving in the state, implicitly agreed to submit to a blood, breath or urine test for the purposes of determining intoxication. This is known as “implied consent” and it can be a major factor should you be pulled over on allegations of drunk driving.
If an officer believes you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, they can pull you over and ask you to perform a breath test. Before doing so, the officer must inform you of your obligations under “implied consent” laws. The officer also must inform you that if you refuse to submit to a breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. The officer then must ask you if you will submit to chemical testing. You do have the right to say no, but remember, it could result in a 12-month driver’s license suspension.
It’s your choice
Submitting to a breath test can be intimidating. Is the officer trained in using the breath test instrument? Is the breath test instrument calibrated properly? What if I believe I am not intoxicated? What if I’m wrongfully charged with DUI? It is important to remember that you have a choice to submit to a breath test if pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Ultimately, by understanding the law you can make informed decisions that are in your best interests.