Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

Should Someone Submit To Chemical Testing Or Refuse It In A DUI Case?


I can tell you what the consequences are if you submit or you do not submit, but the answer to what you should do really depends on the circumstances. One of the single biggest pieces of evidence against a DUI client is a report that shows an illegal amount of alcohol was in your system while driving.

In Georgia, there is a yearlong hard suspension, meaning no limited or temporary permit of any kind, if you refuse the test.

Each individual has the right to choose whether to submit or refuse a chemical test in a DUI case in Georgia. In Georgia, there is a statutory right passed by our general assembly that allows you to refuse the test. However, there are consequences when you refuse urine, breath or blood testing in the state of Georgia. A recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court has allowed some states to impose criminal punishments for a refusal of a breath test. In a small number of states, it is actually a crime to refuse, which is very troubling to DUI defense attorneys. Fortunately, Georgia is not one of those states. We do not criminalize the refusal itself, but there are license consequences that come into play if you do refuse.

What Is The Interlock Ignition Device? Who Is Required To Have It Installed In Their Vehicle?

An ignition interlock device is a device that is placed in your vehicle and in order to start the vehicle or to keep the vehicle running, the driver has to blow into a tube that is installed in the vehicle. You can be driving down the road and you might have to stop to blow into this machine. It can happen periodically. In Georgia, we do not require an ignition interlock device to be placed in a vehicle on a first DUI offense. There is a movement underway throughout the country to get state legislatures to put that into place, where even on a first DUI you would be required to have an ignition interlock device system installed. I suspect in coming years we will probably see that happen, but not yet.

In Georgia, if you are convicted of a second DUI, you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Basically the license consequence on a second DUI in Georgia is eighteen months of a hard suspension. The first one hundred and twenty days of your license suspension you cannot drive at all. You can have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle after the first one hundred and twenty days and then you may drive. There has to be a minimum period of twelve months without incident with the ignition interlock device installed before your regular driver’s license can be reinstated.

What Are Some Factors That Could Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge?

We do not necessarily use the terms enhanced or aggravated like some states do, where they have enhanced DUIs and Aggravated DUI charges. However, from a practical standpoint, I can tell you what makes a DUI case worse. Any time there is an accident, particularly if another person is harmed in that accident, that is an aggravating factor and one in which the prosecutors are relentless in their prosecution of that offense. Another enhancement factor is if there is a minor in the vehicle during the DUI arrest.

In Georgia, you can also be cited for DUI with a child in the vehicle. That charge actually counts as a DUI offense too, so technically if you are driving impaired in the state of Georgia and you have two young children in the car with you that could go on your record as three separate DUIs. It could suspend your license for five years minimum with no hardship license or interim license. That is a very serious situation. I have seen cases where individuals have wrecked their vehicles and children were playing in the area close to where the individual had the accident. Any time children are in the area, any time that someone is hurt or there is an accident causing injury, you can expect those types of situations to aggravate or enhance the penalties and consequences involved.

For more information on Refusal Of Chemical Test, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (229) 207-0850 today.

Paul W. Hamilton, Esq.

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