Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

What Happens If I Refuse A Chemical Test For A DUI?


There are two types of breathalyzers in Georgia. One is the PBT. This is the portable breath test, and it’s usually a handheld device administered at roadside to see if you have the presence of alcohol on your breath. Then there is the breathalyzer machine called the Intoxilyzer 9000, which is usually administered at the jail. If the officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, in Georgia, there is the implied consent law. If, in fact, you do refuse that test, the penalty is, generally, a one year suspension of your driving privilege.

If you are ultimately found not guilty of DUI or you have that charge reduced, it would reverse the suspension for that refusal. Often people ask, “Should I blow? Should I refuse to take the test?” It really just depends on the circumstances, but those are the penalties if you refuse it. It’s not absolutely concrete because if you are not convicted of DUI, if you are acquitted or if it’s reduced to a lesser charge, then the refusal suspension is also reversed.

Will I Go To Jail For A DUI?

If you are arrested for a DUI, in almost every case, you will have to go to jail. The only times that probably wouldn’t be applicable is if there is an accident of some sort and you are hospitalized. In that case, you may not ever have to go to jail, depending on what happens with the DUI charge itself. But yes, if you are arrested, generally, you’ll be taken to jail where you’ll be able to post bond.

Some jails have different policies on how long they hold you. Sometimes they only hold you for an hour or two, and sometimes they hold you for 12 hours. If you are convicted of a first time DUI in Georgia, there is a mandatory 24 hour period that you must serve in jail. Some courts are a little bit liberal in enforcing that, and they’ll substitute a few hours in jail for that 24 hour requirement. Of course, the penalties for the amount of time in jail increase if it’s a second or subsequent DUI. If you are arrested, you will more than likely spend some amount of time in jail. It just depends on the jurisdiction as to how much.

Is A Criminal Case Dropped If Miranda Rights Are Not Read?

Miranda actually comes from a US Supreme Court case from the ‘60s. The case is Miranda vs. Arizona. Basically, what Miranda says is that you have to be read your rights if law enforcement is going to ask you questions. In some cases, law enforcement can ask preliminary questions, such as, “What’s your name? Where are you going? Why are you out here late at night?” Those types of things won’t trigger Miranda; but if you are in custody and don’t feel as though you are able to leave and the law enforcement officer asks you questions, then your answers to those questions can be suppressed, which means they can’t come up in trial or be brought up to a jury or to a judge, but in many cases, such as DUI arrests, those preliminary questions that are asked prior to your arrest are not considered custodial statements, and that’s the important distinction with Miranda.

Paul W. Hamilton, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min strategy session (229) 207-0850

It has to be a custodial statement, meaning you have to be in custody of law enforcement when they are asking you questions. If they put you in custody and don’t read you your Miranda rights, those answers, generally, can be excluded from any information that is going to the jury. Oftentimes, the preliminary questions, before you are in custody, often can be introduced to the jury. A number of people feel that if law enforcement doesn’t immediately Mirandize someone, the case can be thrown out, but that simply is not the case. Miranda is an important right, but we have seen some erosion in the protections that Miranda affords since it was issued in the 1960s. Those are important distinctions to understand if you are facing a criminal case.

Why Do I Need An Attorney To Represent Me In A Criminal Case?

In some very minor cases, such as traffic tickets, you might be able to represent yourself without hiring an attorney. But if it’s a more serious traffic violation, such as a DUI or any type of felony offense, I highly encourage you to consider hiring an attorney or, if you don’t have the money to hire an attorney, apply for the services of a public defender. The criminal justice system consists of a maze of different things, and it’s important to have someone that is advocating on your behalf to tell your story. You need someone that you can trust; you need someone that frankly knows the flavor of the local jurisdiction where you have a pending criminal charge.

The local lawyers know the judges, the prosecutors, the solicitors, the clerks of the court, the idiosyncrasies and the different things about the judges and what the judges will or won’t do and what the prosecutors will do and not do. They have often formed relationships over a number of years with those people, and they have knowledge and experience. We go to law school to learn, and then we cover the practice of law because we are constantly learning about the law, how it applies and how it affects our clients. There is certainly great benefit, and I would encourage anybody that has a serious traffic offense or any type of felony offense to hire an attorney, and the same goes not just for the criminal cases but also family law cases.

Divorce not only is an emotionally difficult thing to get through; it’s also financially difficult with so many different implications. When children are present, their location and which parent they are going to be with, are certainly extremely important issues. So hire an attorney that is experienced and has dealt with a number of different situations; this will greatly benefit any individual that is facing those types of circumstances.

For more information on Refusing A Chemical Test In Georgia, 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.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min strategy session (229) 207-0850