Can I refuse to take a roadside DUI breath test in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | DUI |

You cannot know for sure when a sheriff’s deputy or state trooper will pull you over on a Savannah highway. And you cannot control whether the officer will arrest you on suspicion of DUI. But you do have control over what you say and a lot of what you do during a traffic stop.

For example, no matter what the officer says (or implies), you are not legally required to blow into the roadside DUI breath test device. These devices are not meant to prove in court that you are over the legal limit for alcohol. But they help the officer make a case that they had probable cause to arrest you. Depending on the circumstances, you might have little to gain and everything to lose by agreeing to take the test.

What ‘implied consent’ means

Like every other state, Georgia has an implied consent statute. This law states that by driving on a road in Georgia, you agree to undergo a roadside breath test upon request. However, declining is not a crime that can send you to jail. Instead, it means that your driver’s license will be suspended for one year for a first offense. Keep in mind that you can request a hearing to get your license reinstated. Declining the breathalyzer test can also be used as evidence if you are charged with DUI.

There are consequences to declining the test. You should weigh these considerations as much as possible before deciding whether you will take the roadside test. However, if the officer arrests you and takes you to the police station or hospital for a breath or blood test, you must undergo that test.