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Cobb County Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / DUI / Refusing A Breathalyzer In Georgia

Refusing A Breathalyzer In Georgia


Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being pulled over by the police in Georgia, and they suspect you of driving under the influence, you will be faced with a decision about whether or not to refuse a breathalyzer test.

In 2019 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that drivers who are pulled over have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test. This differs significantly from Georgia’s previous implied consent laws. It also means that if you refuse to take a field breathalyzer test, it can’t be used against you in court and can’t be the basis of your arrest.

However, refusing a breathalyzer test in Georgia may still have consequences and other essential factors to consider. We want you to understand your rights, and this article will discuss implied consent laws, the right to refuse a breathalyzer test in Georgia, and other essential factors to consider. Hiring a Georgia DUI attorney to defend you today is crucial.

What is a Breathalyzer Test?

If you come upon a DUI checkpoint, you may be asked to submit a breathalyzer test which is used to determine your blood alcohol concentration or BAC. If the officer suspects you have been drinking and driving under the influence, they are required to give you an implied consent advisement and ask you if you are willing to submit to the test given by the officer. Should the officer fail to provide you with the suggested consent notice, it will generally make the results inadmissible in court.

Concerns about the validity of breathalyzer testing include how accurate they are, as several factors can affect the reading, including:

  • The presence of other substances
  • The temperature in your mouth
  • The type of breathalyzer used
  • If it is incorrectly calibrated, it could give a false negative or false positive result. Breathalyzers have to be calibrated regularly to stay correctly calibrated.
  • If the breathalyzer isn’t correctly maintained, including being properly cleaned and maintained, it could give inaccurate readings.
  • If the breathalyzer test is administered improperly, the results may be inaccurate.
  • If the breathalyzer technology is older, the results may not be as reliable.
  • Failure to properly transport or store the breathalyzer, as it can be sensitive to environmental factors, including temperature, may lead to inaccurate readings.

Despite all these concerns, Georgia law enforcement still utilizes breathalyzer tests to determine if someone is under the influence of alcohol. Suppose you are being arrested or prosecuted solely on the results of a breathalyzer; you need to seek counsel with an experienced DUI attorney in Georgia who understands the breathalyzer testing process to help you challenge the results and protect your rights.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Georgia?

Yes, you can! Your refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test can’t be used against you in criminal court; however, it can carry administrative penalties. Therefore, you must request an Administrative License Suspension Hearing Request through the Department of Driver Services within ten days. Failing to take this step will result in your driver’s license being suspended on the 31st day after your arrest, and you will lose your license for a year even if you are found not guilty of driving under the influence. These requirements can be confusing and overwhelming, and you will benefit significantly by hiring an experienced DUI attorney.

You Will Not Necessarily Avoid Prosecution if You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Cobb County, Georgia

You can refuse the breathalyzer test in Georgia; however, there are also other field sobriety testing you will be asked to take, such as:

  • Lifting one foot six inches above the ground
  • Walking toe-to-toe in a straight line
  • Other non-chemical methods

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration creates these tests, which are unreliable and intended to intimidate and confuse drivers. You may politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests.

The officer will also note other indicating factors like the smell of alcohol, speech slurring, the driver’s demeanor, reckless driving, and other evidence that an officer can use to get a warrant to take a blood test. The officer can make an assessment and arrest based on their evaluation and keep you from leaving the scene. Once arrested for a DUI in Georgia, you will be legally required to take an evidentiary chemical test at the station upon arrival. Hiring a qualified DUI lawyer is critical, so know what questions you should ask to ensure you get excellent legal representation.

Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz is Here to Defend Your Rights

Should you find yourself or a loved one facing DUI charges in Marietta, Georgia, hire Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz.

As an attorney dedicated to protecting the rights and freedom of people accused of misdemeanor crimes or severe felony offenses, including DUIs, burglary, drug possession, and more, Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz will ensure your case is handled professionally and that you understand the process, and your best options the entire time.

Contact Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz today for a consultation.

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