DUI Breath Tests in Georgia
Georgia law states that when you drive a vehicle within the state, you have given “implied consent” to have your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) tested. If an officer observes any signs of intoxication, you can be pulled over and asked to submit to a breath test or field sobriety tests. Some of the signs of intoxication are reckless driving, speeding, failure to maintain lane, swerving, and wide turns.
If pulled over for DUI in Georgia, there are a couple of ways an officer can test your blood alcohol concentration. The fastest way is by using a field breath test. It is also known as a breathalyzer. The standard test used in Georgia is the Intoxilyzer 5000. The Intoxilyzer 5000 is a device that dates back to the 1970s. Other states have upgraded newer models, but Georgia continues to use this outdated technology. Officers are able to use this device at the scene and do not have to wait until they get back to the police station. Even though it is the most common, that does not mean that it is the most accurate. There are a lot of factors that can affect the readings of the device. This result is used by police to gauge the amount of your BAC. However, the result is only used for the police investigation to determine if there is probable cause to arrest you.
There is a lot of confusion as to which test is voluntary and which one is state mandated. The requirement to submit to a chemical test when arrested for a DUI is not the same as requiring a chemical breath test in the field. Field breath tests or breathalyzer tests are not required, and can offer inaccurate measures of your blood alcohol levels. However, after you are arrested for a DUI, the police officer will request that you submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. If you refuse, then your license will be administratively suspended for one year, and you will not be allowed to get a limited driving permit.
There are two types of DUI charges: DUI per se and DUI less safe. DUI per se occurs when a person tests positive for being over the limit. For drivers 21 years or over, the limit is .08, for commercial drivers the limit is .04, and the limit for drivers under 21 is .02.
30 Day Warning
If you tested over the limit for DUI and were arrested in Georgia, you only have 30 days to save your driver's license. A failure to file an appeal will result in your license being suspended. If you refused the breath test, then the suspension is automatic and can be up to a year. No matter if you took the test or not, you need a Georgia DUI Attorney to help. We will file the 30-day letter for you and advise you on whether the administrative license hearing or installing an ignition interlock device is the best choice for you.
What Happens if I Took the Breath Test but Blew Over the Limit?
Many people make the mistake of assuming there is nothing to be done if they blew over the limit! This is not true! Multiple defenses that question the accuracy of the test results. Some of the most common methods we use to challenge the findings include:
- Failure of the officer to read implied consent law or they misread it: Officers must read the statutory implied consent notice to the citizen arrested for DUI. A failure to read the consent law correctly is grounds for the breath test evidence to be suppressed.
- The breathalyzer was not appropriately maintained: A breathalyzer is a machine that must be regularly maintained. Periodic inspections have to be done on the devices. If they are not kept up to standard, then their results may be inaccurate. Therefore, they would be inadmissible at trial.
- Medical Conditions: There are some medical conditions such as diabetes where the results may indicate the person was over the limit when they were sober. Furthermore, mouthwashes and other things may also lead to a false result.
- Contributing Factors: There are a number of variables that can cause a false reading. The person's core body temperature, a diet high in protein, the amount of time between alcohol consumption and testing, and hyperventilation are all factors that could lead to an incorrect result.
- Lack of probable cause for the officer to initiate the stop: A lack of evidence that there was impaired driving validating a stop by an officer could lead to the breath test results being excluded.
Refusal of Chemical Testing
As stated previously, you have a right to refuse the field breathalyzer test. However, you may still be arrested if the officer has probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated. If you refuse the test offered at the police station, then that will be deemed a refusal and will result in a suspended license.
However, if you refused the testing, there is still help for your case! There may be a reason to justify your refusal. Contact our Georgia DUI Lawyers who understand how important it is that your driving privileges are saved.
You Have Options if You Submitted or Refused the Georgia Breath Test
The science behind the DUI breath test in Georgia is very complicated. You need an experienced DUI Attorney in Georgia to handle your charges. We will enlist expert witnesses, pour over all the evidence, and present all of your options to you. We will investigate all of the scientific and legal aspects of your case in order to build the best DUI defense possible. At our firm, there is no one defense fits all. We tailor it to your situation to make sure we achieve your goals! Contact us now for a free case evaluation.