DUI: Requesting an Independent Blood Test in Georgia

You may be surprised how important it is to understand the complexities of the laws in Georgia surrounding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a DUI arrest; unfortunately, this often happens after it is too late. While you may assume that a DUI offense is as simple as blowing into a Breathalyzer and registering either under or over the 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration, if you have been drinking—even moderately—and choose to get behind the wheel, you could find yourself in unexpected legal trouble.

In most cases, if a law enforcement officer stops you and suspects you may have been drinking and driving, they may request you to perform field sobriety tests. One of these tests is a preliminary breath test in which an officer uses a portable device known as an Alco-Sensor to determine whether or not there is a presence of alcohol on your breath. This preliminary breath test is used to help an officer establish probable cause to justify a DUI arrest. Because this test is not reliable enough to determine the concentration of alcohol in your body, the results of your Alco-Sensor test are inadmissible at trial. You have the right to refuse the requested Alco-Sensor test.

Once an officer makes an arrest for a suspected DUI, they will read you the Georgia Implied Consent Warning, after which they will request that you consent to a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances. Which test(s) you are asked to take is in the discretion of the arresting officer, however, the most common test is a breath test which is performed at the police station. This state administered testing is mandatory and any refusal may have repercussions on your driving license. Unlike the results of the Alco-Sensor test, the results of any chemical tests may be admissible at trial. However, following a decision by the Georgia Supreme Court, your refusal to submit to the state administered breath test cannot be used against you in court

While you should understand all your options during a DUI stop, it is important to know that you can also request an independent blood test. Georgia operates under the implied consent law though, meaning that as soon as you are given a license to drive, you also agree to take a chemical test to establish whether or not you are driving under the influence (at the time of your arrest, the officer should read you a notice regarding implied consent—otherwise your test results could be found inadmissible).

If you have completed the requested state administered chemical test, then you have the right to request an independent test (to be paid for by you). In this case, the officer is expected to take you to the facility of your choosing, within obvious reason. And while this is your right, such a request may be scrutinized by the court in terms of how far away the lab was, how long the delay was before the independent blood test was given, and the details regarding arrangement and payment of the test. If you have refused to take a chemical test offered by law enforcement, the option of requesting an independent blood test is not available.

If you had a valid reason for refusing to take a Breathalyzer or blood test, your attorney may be able to help you overturn the possibility of an immediate one-year suspension of your license. You probably have many questions if you have been charged with DUI, from wondering whether you will have to go to jail to worrying about getting your license back. Speak with an experienced DUI attorney from the offices of H. Lehman Franklin, P.C. Call now to learn more at 912-764-9616, or contact us online.