Implied Consent And BAC Testing
Decision To Arrest
All the field sobriety evaluations involve your ability to follow instructions, demonstrate mental comprehension and simultaneously test your physical coordination. Passing one of the three evaluations does not mean the officer will let you leave. The officer will always circle back to the totality of the circumstances when making the decision about whether to arrest you. If you are uncoordinated, exhausted or just too drunk or high to complete them, it is always best to refuse them. Your refusal to perform field sobriety will likely still result in your arrest, but at least they will not be able to use your poor performance on the field sobriety evaluations against you at trial.
If the officer decides to arrest you, do not resist or start blurting out admissions. I have never seen an officer reverse course after telling someone they are under arrest. So, once you are told you are under arrest, comply with the demands but do not offer any additional evidence against yourself. Staying quiet is your best bet at this point.
Post Arrest Procedures
Once the officer decides to arrest you, they will proceed to place you in handcuffs and read you the Georgia Implied Consent Notice as follows:
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)?
*This implied consent notice is for suspects aged 21 or over. Different versions are read if under 21 or driving a commercial vehicle.
The officer designates which test is being requested, and you can either take the test or refuse it. You do not get to pick which test you want to take. However, if you take the state’s test, then you can get your own independent test.
If you refuse the state’s chemical test, then the officer may still seek a search warrant for your blood from a magistrate judge based on the probable cause for your arrest. So, the officer will essentially fill out an affidavit attesting to why they arrested you for DUI and stating they believe additional evidence of this crime is located in your body. Therefore, the officer is seeking a search warrant (a court order) to allow them to take your blood. Once issued, the officer can get your blood with or without your compliance. As shocking as it may seem, they can strap you down to a bed and take your blood forcefully so no need to fight with them. Really, there is no need to fight with the police at any stage of the investigation. Comply without giving additional evidence against yourself, and then hire an attorney to fight the case. That will always be your best bet because resistance is dangerous and can result in additional charges against you.
For suspected drug impairment, some more advanced officers known as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) may conduct an additional battery of tests after your arrest. Since you are under arrest, you must be advised that you have an absolute right to refuse the testing and questioning. If you waive that right, then the officer can proceed with the additional tests to try and determine if you are impaired by some type of drug and what that drug may be. In the end, a blood test will be performed to confirm the observations of the officer. So, the blood test remains the most important tool in determining drug impairment.
For more information on DUI Implied Consent and BAC Testing in Georgia, call or text (470) 728-1725 to speak with attorney Carl Chapman.