A Georgia DUI stop, investigation and arrest can be a scary thing for most people, especially if you’ve never been stopped, investigated, interrogated or arrested before. You may think that if a police officer pulls you over for a DUI investigation, you must submit to various forms of impairment identification and testing, as directed by the police officer. In actuality, all of the testing is voluntary. It is unlikely, however, that the investigating officer will indicate to you that the testing is voluntary. Oftentimes, when a driver hears an officer say “I need you to complete some field sobriety exercises so that I can verify that you are safe to drive,” the driver consents to the testing, not knowing that the exercises are not required.
Of course, there may be consequences to refusing the standardized field sobriety testing at the roadside. First and foremost, there could be consequences which affect your Georgia driver’s license. For example, under Georgia’s Implied Consent laws, a motorist is deemed to have “impliedly consented” to voluntary field sobriety testing merely by taking to Georgia’s public roadways. If the motorist refuses scientific testing, their Georgia driver’s license can be suspended, typically for a period of one year.
Why not just consent then? Won’t I get arrested if I don’t consent? These questions are sensible, and lawyers hear them frequently. Yes, you are probably going to get arrested if you don’t consent. If the officer claims to have witnessed “manifestations of driving impairment” (weaving, running a red light, failure to yield, speeding, etc.), and then pulls you over, it is unlikely that he or she will permit you to go on your way in the event of a refusal. However, when the DUI case reaches the trial level, the State is likely going to lack critical evidence needed to prosecute the case, i.e., scientific evidence provided by the testing. Most people would rather face DUI arrest in the short term, but win their DUI case in the long term. This is a common scenario when the motorist refuses all roadside and scientific testing.
A DUI arrest can have many ramifications, including jail time, fines, community service, loss of your driving privileges, negative publicity, and even negative effects on your career. It is a serious matter that needs immediate attention from an experienced attorney. In Georgia, if you or someone you love has experienced a DUI arrest, contact Treadaway & Treadaway – as soon as possible – at (770) 429-8119. Former prosecutors, the attorneys at Treadaway & Treadaway have worked and understand Georgia DUI law from both sides, and can put this experience to work for you today.