DUI Refusal In Morgan County, Georgia

What is a DUI Refusal?

Georgia, like most states, offers drivers the privilege of using its roads and highways in exchange for your implied consent to submit to a breath, blood or urine test if pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. When a driver refuses to take certain breath, blood, or urine tests, it is considered a DUI refusal. 

Not all refusals count as a DUI refusal with legal consequences. However, know that any refusal to take a test roadside will most likely result in your arrest.

A refusal to submit to a variety of field sobriety tests does not constitute a DUI refusal.  A field sobriety evaluation is voluntary. There are several types of field sobriety evaluations: 

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
  • Walk and Turn
  • One-Leg Stand test

In addition, officers might ask you to recite the alphabet, stand with your feet close together while tipping your head skyward, count the number of fingers the officer has raised, close your eyes and touch a finger to your nose, or count backwards. These tests are quite subjective. Different officers interpret a driver’s performance differently. 

This subjectivity undermines the accuracy of the test. Any number of factors can contribute to failing a field sobriety evaluation: an uneven pavement, the time of day, weather conditions, your health, poor vision or hearing, and poor balance. There are no legal consequences attaching to a refusal to perform field sobriety evaluations. However, the results of any field sobriety tests will be noted in the police report and can be used to justify arrest.

You can also refuse to take a roadside breath test using a handheld device, such as an Alco-sensor. The device only determines whether there is alcohol on your breath or not, not the extent of intoxication or impairment, if any. You may refuse to take this Alco-sensor test without legal penalty.

Lastly, you can refuse a roadside breathalyzer test, too. A breathalyzer attempts to measure the blood alcohol content in an individual’s system. It calculates the absorption rate of a beam of light that passes through the suspect’s breath which might contain alcohol molecules. The roadside breathalyzer is a very inaccurate way to measure blood alcohol content, as variations in the readings can result from deeper and longer exhalations. 

Once at the Police Station, You Are Obligated to Submit to Testing

Once arrested and at the station, however, you cannot refuse to submit to an Intoxilyzer 9000 test, blood or urine tests without significant legal consequences. Upon this DUI refusal your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. 

To contest this administrative suspension, you must file a request for an ALS Hearing within 30 days of arrest, along with paying a $150 fee for the right to appeal. Note that a urine test or blood test is usually ordered if the arresting police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol. 

A warrant may be obtained for a blood or urine test if the driver refuses to give consent. 

A refusal to submit to a blood or urine test can also result in that refusal being admitted into evidence against you during any subsequent trial on DUI charges.

In the heat of the traffic stop, when police might be aggressive and you might not be thinking straight, it might seem appropriate to refuse to voluntarily provide the State with evidence of intoxication by submitting to any tests. 

How should you proceed? 

The sooner you hire a skilled and experienced DUI refusal attorney, the sooner you will be able to preserve your rights and defenses to these DUI refusal charges. At Michael Fulcher Law, you hire a former prosecutor who knows the police, prosecutors, and judges in Morgan County and the surrounding counties, an essential qualification to fair and effective representation in defending you.

Did You Refuse to Take a Georgia Intoxilyzer, Blood Test, or Urine Test?

When asked to submit to an Intoxilyzer 9000, blood, or urine test at the police station or hospital, drivers need to make quick decisions under pressure. Submitting to any of these tests might mean providing the prosecution with the strongest evidence of DUI. In Georgia, a 0.08 blood alcohol reading for drivers over the age of 21 and 0.02 blood alcohol reading for drivers under 21 is a per se DUI offense. Without this direct evidence, the prosecution has a weaker case against you.

However, refusing to take some of these tests also has immediate consequences: 12- month driver’s license suspension. To contest this administrative suspension, you must file a request for an ALS Hearing within 30 days of arrest, along with paying a $150 fee for the right to appeal.

When pulled over, the police are obligated to explain the consequences of your refusal to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine sobriety. They must read these instructions to the offending driver, with variations based on age of the driver and whether the driver was operating under a commercial driver’s license.

  1. Implied consent notice for suspects under age 21: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state-administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”
  2. Implied consent notice for suspects age 21 or over: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state-administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license, or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”
  3. Implied consent notice for commercial vehicle driver suspects: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state-administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate the presence of any alcohol, you will be issued an out-of-service order and will be prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for 24 hours. If the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”

If any such notice is used by a law enforcement officer to advise a person of his or her rights regarding the administration of chemical testing, such person shall be deemed to have been properly advised of his or her rights under this Code section and under Code Section 40-6-392 and the results of any chemical test, or the refusal to submit to a test of such person’s blood or urine, shall be admitted into evidence against such person. Such notice shall be read in its entirety but need not be read exactly so long as the substance of the notice remains unchanged.

CALL US NOW
FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

When you need a lawyer after being charged with a DUI or criminal offense or as you explore your options for filing a personal injury claim, look no further than Michael Fulcher Law’s impressive background, and ultra-attentive client service. To learn more about how we can help you achieve the best legal solution possible for your circumstances, call our criminal defense law firm at (706) 438-1555 or contact us online, and schedule your free consultation today.

CALL NOW (706) 438-1555

Know Your Rights: Protect Yourself With a DUI Refusal Attorney in Morgan County, Georgia

When pulled over while driving, a police officer can ask to see your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance. You must comply. A police officer may ask for your name, address, and date of birth, as well. You can refuse politely. You are under no legal obligation to answer further questions. 

  • You have the right to remain silent. Beyond providing a copy of your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance, you are under no obligation to answer any questions, especially any questions as to where you were coming from, whether you had anything to drink, whether you took any medication or drugs, and even where you are going. You have the right to remain silent, as provided by the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Answering any questions provides an opportunity for the officer to determine whether you are impaired.
  • You do not have to consent to any search of the car, trunk, or even your person, although these searches can proceed if the officers have a warrant or claim there is a reasonable suspicion to search. 
  • You can refuse to take a field sobriety test without legal consequences.
  • You can refuse to take a roadside breath test using a handheld device, an Alco-sensor. The device only determines whether there is alcohol on your breath, not the extent of intoxication, if any. You may refuse to take this Alco-sensor test without legal penalty.
  • You can refuse to take a roadside breathalyzer test without legal penalty, because of the inherent unreliability of these handheld testers in the field.

However, once arrested, your refusals have consequences. A refusal to take an Intoxilyzer 9000 breath test can result in a 12-month license suspension although your refusal cannot be introduced as evidence of guilt in any subsequent trial, after the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in Elliot v. State in 2019. A refusal to submit to a blood or urine test at the station can be used against you in a future prosecution and can result in a 12-month suspension of your driver’s license. Because of this, requests for blood tests by law enforcement have increased dramatically over Intoxilyzer test requests.

If you take the test and the result is over 0.08, if you are over 21 years of age, and over 0.02 if you are under 21 years of age, your driver’s license will be administratively suspended for 12 months. 

A refusal to take any of these tests, once arrested, does not result in criminal penalties for refusal. A refusal to take some of these tests will only result in suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months, or if refusing a blood or urine test, the refusal can be used as evidence of your guilt at trial. 

By hiring a skilled and experienced attorney, you can preserve your right to drive by demanding an Administrative License Suspension Hearing (ALS) within 30 days of your arrest. This hearing is your chance to appeal the suspension of your driver’s license or elect to install an ignition interlock device on your car. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Yes, you can refuse to take a roadside breathalyzer test without legal consequences, although once you refuse you might be arrested immediately.

You can also refuse to take the Intoxilyzer 9000 test once brought to the police station. However, such a refusal results in an administrative suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months., and the police must inform you that your license will be suspended if you refuse. Your DUI lawyer must appeal this suspension by requesting an ALS Hearing within 30 days of arrest in order to challenge its imposition.

Your driver’s license will be administratively suspended for 12 months, and the prosecution will go forward with charging you with DUI based on police observations. A refusal to submit to a blood or urine test can be introduced at trial as evidence of guilt. A refusal to submit to a breath test cannot be used against you at trial.

  • Depending on the backlog, it might take 1-4 months to get a court date to begin a prosecution for DUI. There are no strict rules on how long these cases require to resolve. The factors to consider include:
  • What plea is entered—guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre
  • The nature of the evidence in the case
  • The backlog of cases in the county
  • How the prosecution, and defense attorneys gather evidence, and present their cases

As a general rule, a not guilty plea will take longer to resolve than a plea of guilty.

Georgia law does not have a first offender act on DUI convictions. A first offense cannot be handled by diversion or withholding judgment.

  • 12-month license suspension
  • 24 hours or up to 12 months in county jail
  • $300-$1,000 fines, plus court costs, and fees
  • 12 months supervised probation with a fee that varies by county at around $40/month
  • Alcohol assessment
  • DUI Risk Reduction class, usually costing $350
  • 40 hours of approved community service

For a second DUI in Georgia, within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, the penalties are compounded:

  • 18-month license suspension
  • Maximum penalty is up to 12 months in a county jail, although usually a person is sentenced to a minimum of 72 hours in jail
  • 12 months supervised probation with a fee that varies by county at around $40/month
  • $600-$1,000 fines, plus court costs, and fees
  • Alcohol assessment, clinical evaluation
  • DUI Risk Reduction class, usually costing $350
  • 240 hours of community service
  • Maintain an ignition Interlock device on your vehicle for a period of time
  • $25 fee for publishing your photo in the local newspaper where the DUI occurred

Contact a skilled Georgia DUI Refusal attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI in the middle Georgia area, including Morgan County, contact Michael Fulcher Law for a free consultation and case assessment. With over 17 years of experience as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal defense attorney, Michael knows criminal law and all of the players in Morgan County and the surrounding areas. If you wait until your court date, you may have already forfeited some of your important rights and driving privileges in the State of Georgia. Don’t wait, call (706) 438-1555 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.

AMAZING WORK

“Mr. Fulcher has been tremendously helpful with my case. Since hiring him he has consistently returned my calls as quickly as he can. We discussed an ideal outcome, and I set about doing exactly as he said. Following his advice we were able to get a very favorable outcome. He is always quick to answer any questions, and has stayed very engaged with me throughout this ordeal. Michael provides excellent counsel, and I would recommend him to anyone!”

— TOM

READ MORE REVIEWS