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You can refuse a Breathalyzer in Georgia, but should you?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | DWI/DUI

In the state of Georgia, you can legally refuse a Breathalyzer if you’ve been pulled over for suspicions of driving under the influence. However, the thing to keep in mind is that you can still be made to take a blood test.

Georgia Supreme Court opinion

In other states, if you refuse a Breathalyzer test when an officer asks you to in a traffic stop, it’s a one-way ticket to getting arrested. But that’s not the case in Georgia after the Georgia Supreme Court issued its decision on the matter.

It used to be the expectation among Georgians that any officer’s request to test your level of intoxication by use of a breathalyzer test would be enforced by law. Now, the Georgia Supreme Court’s new opinion gives drivers the right to legally refuse to take this test, and it won’t damage their DUI case.

What happens if you refuse the test?

Members of the district attorney’s office have warned drivers throughout Georgia that in spite of this opinion from the state’s highest court, they should remember that law enforcement still has other methods at their disposal to impaired drivers. If an officer can manage to find some other reason besides your refusal to take the breathalyzer test, they will be able to pursue probable cause to obtain a search warrant and test your blood for alcohol.

An end to implied consent

Prior to this Georgia Supreme Court decision, the state had an implied consent law as soon as you were issued your driver’s license. This is what gave the police the right to perform arrests after the driver fails a field sobriety test.

This decision reflects the fact that a more holistic approach is called for in police traffic stops, and whether or not someone is willing to take a Breathalyzer test shouldn’t be the only thing that counts. This is an opinion that some members of Georgia’s police force have expressed publicly who are in favor of this move by their Supreme Court.