By: William C. Head, DUI Lawyer Atlanta
A Misunderstood Georgia DUI Law, But Highly Important in a GA DUI Arrest
The Georgia implied consent law is an essential part of virtually every DUI arrest in Georgia. Yet, no one in any high school or college has ever been told the implied consent definition. It is an obscure law that has been in use for over 70 years in some states, and about 60 years in Georgia.
An implied consent law means that you are being told your legal “obligation” (“Georgia law requires you to submit…”) to INCRIMINATORY testing. The State officer (who already arrested you) wants to collect evidence that is to be used to possibly suspend your right to drive. Unstated in the implied consent notice is the fact that the results can also be used to convict you in a criminal court case.
The GA implied consent law is supposed to be read to an arrested person as soon as possible after custody occurs. Other states, like North Carolina wait until you are at jail, so that you can read the implied consent law wording, and not just hear it being read.
In a nutshell, the Georgia implied consent law states that (under Georgia DUI laws relating to driver’s license suspension) you are being asked (at the risk of losing all driving privileges if you REFUSE implied consent testing) to submit to forensic testing of your breath, blood, or urine, to see what your BAC level reveals.
Because this implied consent law advisement is given to you after your arrest for DUI “less safe,” many people facing a first DUI offense are inclined to say NO. This comes from a combination of issues, centered around the “unknown.”
Thoughts go from fear of the unknown, concern about being cuffed, worried about going to jail, fear of needles, not understanding the poorly-worded advisement, wondering why arrest took place when the person THOUGHT he or she had cooperated, and done what was asked.
Some people arrested for DUI immediately ask to talk to a Georgia DUI attorney, but are told “no” by the arresting officer.
While a person is arrested for DUI-DWI in other states (e.g., NC) he or she will be told when and where a drunk driving attorney can be contacted, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that NO CONTACT can be had with legal counsel in GA, before the person has incriminated himself or herself, either by submitting to the test or refusing the implied consent test. This DUI refusal can be used to suspend your driver’s license, and can be used as harmful evidence in a DUI criminal case.
The Georgia implied consent notice in Ga is part of a statute, OCGA 40-5-67.1. Law enforcement officers are authorized to read this “warning” to the arrested drunk driver, and the notice notifies you that a refusal to participate in the post-arrest testing will suspend your driver’s license for a full year.
This harsh loss of driving privileges, under the GA implied consent law, is among the toughest and in America. Effective July 1, 2017, a new implied consent ignition interlock device (IID) alternative has softened the GA DUI law, but the consequences of refusal to test are severe.
A new Georgia implied consent driver’s license law that was passed by the Georgia General Assembly went into effect July 1, 2017, wherein a driver facing this inflexible, total loss of driving privileges, now can opt for a one-year ignition interlock device being installed, and then drive on that interlock restricted permit.
The risks and pitfalls of accepting this alternative are severe, but trying to find a way to drive (especially with an Atlanta DUI) is essential to most working people.
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All three partners are Super Lawyers, and recognized as experts on Georgia DUI laws. All three DUI defense lawyers know multiple ways to combat a DUI refusal. William “Bubba” Head is widely recognized as the best DUI lawyer in Atlanta, by thousands of other Atlanta attorneys, and by Best Lawyers in America. No DUI lawyer in history has won more Georgia implied consent appeals than William Head.