If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Savannah, Georgia you must take a test. If you don’t take a test then you risk losing your driver’s license, unless you’ve got a good legal explanation or attack. A good attack is usually showing that the officer didn’t follow the specific requirements of Georgia’s implied consent statute.
Georgia Implied Consent Notice
Georgia law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse the testing your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required state tests you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which tests) under the implied consent law?
Attack Compliance with Procedure
To win in either the administrative license suspension hearing or the DUI criminal case, you attack the State of Georgia’s compliance with the implied consent laws.
- Untimely Warning. In Georgia the warnings must be read at the time of arrest or close enough as the circumstances allow. Any delay must be reasonable and justified. Otherwise, the test is out because of a delay in reading implied consent warnings. You must be arrested before the implied consent warning is read to you.
- Misinformation. If a the police officer properly gives the implied consent notice, and then gives you more, deceptively misleading information that impairs your ability to make an informed decision about whether to submit to testing, your test results or evidence of your refusal must be suppressed. You should watch for situations where the correct implied consent warning initially is given, but then is followed by a question and answer session wherein the officer misstates information. Then, the test results should be suppressed.
- Missing the legal limit. Decimals are confusing.
- Reading the wrong implied consent notice. For example if the cop reads the notice for under 21 drivers.
- Failure to designate test.
- You didn’t really consent.
- You refused at first and then tried to take it back.
- Right to independent test violated. If you never got the choice to take an independent test, then bad luck for you officer.
Implied Consent Strategies
- You should always challenge the implied consent procedure because once you do, then the State of Georgia must prove that the arresting officer complied with the notice requirements of the implied consent statutes. If they do not, then the test or your refusal is thrown out.
- You should always try and keep out evidence that you refused to take the State tests. Your refusal to take a test can come in against you at your DUI trial. You could keep the refusal out of evidence if the cop does not properly inform you of the warnings; or if they were confusing and misleading; or incomplete.
- Never accept that the warning was complete, clear, timely given, or accurate. Always get video and audio proof.
How We Handle the Implied Consent Part of Your Case
First we analyze the officer’s reading of the implied consent notice. If any word is changed, we check it to see if it affects your rights or obligations under the implied consent law. Next we analyze any statement the cop made to you. Finally we analyze any statement or request that you made to the officer.
If you told the cop: “I don’t understand,” and he said:”I can’t talk to you.” This could be a problem. Or, if you told the police officer that you were confused, and asked him to tell you the meaning of “Implied Consent.” The answers that I see from cops are across the board, and always interesting, even though the officer has read it a thousand times. Often, the cop will testify that he read the Implied Consent Notice. Well, what section did he read to you? Did he read the under 21, over 21, or commercial driver? Which category do you fall into? Did the officer read them all?
The last line of the implied consent card reads: “state administered chemical test of your (designate test).” Many of my clients were advised by reading the Implied Consent Notice to themselves. They read to themselves to “designate test.” They have no idea what that means. Unless the cop said something like “skip the part where it says to designate which test. That’s up to me and I’m designating the breath test”, then there may be a problem with the implied consent notice.