Understanding Georgia Implied Consent Law: File the 30-Day DDS GA Letter
By: DUI Defense Attorney William C. Head, Atlanta GA
CAUTION: Don’t miss filing your 30-day DDS GA letter, which is the means (under GA DUI law) of appealing a proposed one year driver’s license suspension in GA. Send this by certified mail, because this stamped RECEIPT constitutes delivery to DDS GA. This mailing costs nearly $10 and requires $150 filing fee, but you MUST be able to prove delivery to GA DDS in Conyers, GA. Effective July 1, 2017, Georgia DUI law allows for the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle as an alternate to filing a 30-day DDS GA letter. Restrictions apply – call our Atlanta DUI office today to see if you qualify for an IID.
After you are pulled over, don’t talk to police, and don’t participate in any field sobriety tests of ANY kind, or a preliminary breath test at the roadside, which are all 100% optional. Only your NAME and ADDRESS is required from you, so SHUT UP. Law enforcement is only entitled to know your name and address. All other conversation WILL incriminate you, and make winning your DUI case more difficult.
However, if you are a licensed GA driver, and ARE arrested and cuffed, and the Georgia implied consent law notice is read to you, then you SHOULD take the official Intoxilyzer 9000 test, in order to not put your ability to drive at risk. This assumes that you have not injured or killed anyone in a DUI-related accident. If this potential DUI felony has happened, insist on talking to a DUI attorney before saying, doing or submitting to anything.
After a GA DUI arrest, a DUI refusal to be tested is a path to an administrative license suspension, which (under the Georgia implied consent law) will trigger a total DUI suspension of a person’s right to drive for a YEAR, for those who lose at the ALS hearing.
What Happens if I Refuse to Blow?
We just covered the potential one-year loss of all driving privileges in Georgia, if you lose the “refusal” hearing during the administrative license suspension phase of your case. This legal proceeding is in ADDITION to the pending criminal charges, and the same DUI attorney needs to handle BOTH the criminal and the administrative aspects of a Georgia DUI laws.
The first thing to consider is that you CAN refuse to be breath-tested, but GA DUI laws allow the officer to contact a Magistrate Judge and get a search warrant to have your blood drawn – by force if necessary. If an accused drunk driver refuses to take the official GA implied consent law breath test for alcohol or a blood test for drugs (after being arrested), the detained DUI suspect also risks having his or her Georgia driver’s license taken away for a year.
So, since it is usually easier to win a pretrial suppression motion under Georgia implied consent law, a top-rated DUI lawyer in GA will usually prefer to fight the Georgia implied consent law notice (and its legal sufficiency and accuracy) than to try to get a Judge to rule that the search warrant for blood was flawed or defective.
After the Birchfield Case, Can a Cop Demand an Implied Consent Blood Test?
If drugs are suspected by the officer, he or she may be able to justify obtaining a blood drugs test, but your DUI attorney may use a pre-trial motion to suppress this blood test, if the factual basis for the blood collection is flawed.
In the recent Birchfield v. North Dakota case from June 2016, the U. S. Supreme Court limited when an invasive blood collection can be requested by a police officer making a DUI-DWI arrest, by use of implied consent. Plus, Mr. Head has a current constitutional challenge pending about DUI drugs cases, under the current Georgia implied consent law “language” in the pre-printed card. This appeal may cause your blood test results to be completely excluded.
After your arrest for DUI, if asked (under the Georgia implied consent law) to submit to breath alcohol testing, you should submit due to the one-year DUI license suspension that can follow a DUI test refusal. Beyond the “search warrant” issue just covered above, there are several reasons for Mr. Head’s general suggestion to submit to implied consent testing.
First, no restricted license or work permit is allowed, for a DUI refusal, and over 90% of our clients tell us that they cannot be suspended for a full year. They all need a work permit, which is unavailable, after a refusal to submit is upheld at the administrative license suspension hearing.
Second, after the Birchfield case, because many more police departments in Georgia are now seeking and getting judicial warrants for blood extraction, things other than alcohol may be detected in the blood.
In the last few years, many of these blood tests by search warrant have been tested at the GBI for both blood alcohol content (BAC), and for traces of marijuana from a blood drug test. Georgia is a ZERO TOLERANCE state, for purposes of DUI marijuana. That means that if ANY trace is detected, even from use two weeks ago, you will face an additional DUI-marijuana per se case.
Blood tests can lead to police charging multiple types of DUI against you. By taking a breathalyzer test on the Intoxilyzer 9000 after arrest, you get to demand and get an independent blood test at a hospital of your own choosing. this avoids a possibly having a more harmful blood test for drugs requested by the GBI, which will also reveal your BAC levels.
Jurors do not usually acquit in cases where the alcohol-consuming driver also has marijuana in his or her system.
Can I Get Independent Testing After I Take the Intoxilyzer 9000 Test?
If you SUBMIT, be sure to demand your own independent test of your blood – after you have submitted. You need to designate the hospital where you want to get that blood drawn, and ask for a vial of the blood that was drawn, so that you can get independent lab testing.
Those who refuse the official, Intoxilyzer breath alcohol test are not entitled to an independent test. Plus, a search warrant for a forcible blood draw may be obtained by the officer, who can get a Judge to authorize it by electronic (telephonic) warrant.
Call today for a FREE Lawyer consultation. 404-567-5515. Call 24-7, because we want to help you.