Cobb County DUI-Refusal Lawyer
The question that every DUI lawyer gets asked the most is: should I refuse to take the breath test? This is a loaded question and one that thousands of drivers across the State are forced to consider every year. Refusing the State-administered test of your blood, breath or urine is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, by refusing you deprive the State of some of the evidence they will want to use against you. On the other hand, by refusing you put your driver's license in immediate jeopardy.
Refusal Cases at the ALS Hearings
The administrative license suspension hearing process is described in more detail here. However, whether or not you are accused of refusing the breath/blood/urine test will have an impact on your administrative hearing. This is because, if you allegedly refused, a loss at the ALS hearing will result in a "hard" 12 month suspension of your license, meaning you can not obtain a limited permit during that time period. You will be able to get fully reinstated if you thereafter are acquitted of DUI or get the charge reduced to a lesser offense, even if the 12 months has not passed.
An alleged refusal can be challenged at the administrative hearings in several different ways. If you were arrested without probable cause, your refusal cannot be held against you. If the officer waited too long after arresting you to read the implied consent warnings, your refusal cannot be held against you. If you refused at first but then changed your mind within a reasonable period of time, yet the officer ignored your consent to the test, your refusal cannot be held against you. These are a few of the things an experienced DUI lawyer will look for in your case.
Refusal Evidence at Trial
A DUI charge involving only alcohol takes one of two forms: DUI per se, meaning you drove with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08, and DUI less safe, meaning you were rendered a less safe driver due to your alcohol consumption, regardless of your actual blood alcohol concentration.
When you refuse the State-administered test of your blood, breath or urine, the government does not know what your BAC was and therefore can only charge you with DUI less safe. Your refusal can still come into play at your trial, however.
The prosecution will argue that you refused the test because you knew that the results would prove you had been drinking. The prosecution will be able to get the judge to charge the jury as such. However, a jury is not permitted to consider the refusal as evidence that you were intoxicated, only that alcohol would have been present in your system.
Returning to the complicated question of whether or not refusing the test is advisable, don't make the mistake of thinking that your case will go away merely because you declined to take the test. DUIs are prosecuted aggressively. To discuss your situation, contact Ben immediately.