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Can I refuse to take the breathaylzer test?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | DUI

During a police traffic stop, the officer likely will ask you — really, pressure you — to take a roadside breath test. Commonly known as the breathalyzer test, this involves blowing into a device that is supposed to measure your blood-alcohol level (BAL).

Like other tests the officer requests and the questions they ask you, the breathalyzer’s only purpose is to help them get enough evidence to claim probable cause for DUI so they can arrest you. Submitting to the test is rarely, if ever, in your best interests. But doesn’t the law say you must take the test anyway?

What ‘implied consent’ means

Actually, nothing in Georgia law requires you to take the roadside breath test. Like every other state, Georgia has an implied consent statute that says anyone who drives on a public road in the state agrees to submit to DUI testing by implication. But it is not a crime to refuse to take the breathalyzer test, unlike states like Florida, which have criminalized this choice. Nor can it be used as evidence against you at trial. However, a breath test refusal will trigger an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

Also, keep in mind that after the officer arrests you, you must submit to any blood, urine or breath test they order you to take at the police station or hospital. Refusal to take one of these tests can be used as evidence in a trial on drinking and driving charges.

Whether you agree to take the roadside breath test is up to you. But your decision will have consequences that could affect your freedom and criminal record.

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