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DUI Testing in Georgia: Legal Guidelines and Procedures

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Have you ever wondered what happens if you’re pulled over for a DUI in Georgia? It’s a scenario that can be pretty daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect. In Georgia, DUI testing is a vital part of that process, and it can determine your legal standing and significantly impact your future.

As a road user, it is crucial to understand the types of tests involved and your legal rights. Georgia law allows officers to administer various tests to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) or check for drugs. These might include standardized field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, or a blood or urine test.

At the Waltman Firm, based in Forsyth, we understand the complexities of DUI testing in Georgia and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate these challenging situations. By knowing your rights and the details of testing procedures, you can be better prepared to face this difficult time.

Types of DUI Tests in Georgia

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are used to assess whether a driver is impaired. These tests check balance, coordination, and attention.

Common types include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. Each test evaluates different physical and cognitive functions.

They are often subjective and may have inaccuracies due to various factors like medical conditions or nervousness. 

Learn more about these tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Breath Tests

Breath tests measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through exhaled breath. There are two main types:

  • Preliminary Breath Tests (PBT)
  • Evidential Breath Tests (EBT)

These breath tests use breathalyzers, which are devices designed to detect alcohol levels. Common devices in Georgia include the Intoxilyzer 9000.

Breath tests are generally reliable, yet can have legal implications. Their accuracy may vary based on device calibration and user error.

 

Blood Tests

Blood tests measure the exact BAC by analyzing a blood sample. This test is usually administered when breath tests are impossible or more precise measurements are needed.

The procedure involves drawing blood and testing it in a lab. Blood tests are highly accurate, but they require legal procedures, which, if not followed, can be challenged in court.

An example is the Missouri vs McNeely case, where a Missouri police officer stopped a driver for speeding and suspected drunk driving. After the driver refused a breath test, he was arrested and taken to a hospital for a blood test. The officer ordered the test without getting a warrant or the driver’s consent.

When charged with DWI, McNeely challenged the blood test results, arguing it violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. The case went to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in McNeely’s favor.

Learn more about strategies in DUI defense and how to beat a DUI.

Legal Rights and Options During DUI Testing

During a DUI stop in Georgia, you have specific legal rights. It’s important to know these rights to handle the situation effectively.

First, you have the right to remain silent. This means you don’t have to answer questions beyond providing our license, registration, and proof of insurance. Additionally, you can request an attorney before answering any further questions.

You also have the right to refuse DUI testing. However, refusing to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test can have significant consequences. This is because, by driving a car in Georgia, you already agreed to Georgia’s implied consent law. Under this law, everyone driving on Georgia’s roads has agreed to chemical tests if necessary.  

According to Georgia law, refusal can lead to a license suspension of up to one year. If you refused the test, learn more about DUI Refusal GA.

What to expect during a DUI stop:

  • Be polite and cooperative.
  • Provide your driver’s license, registration, and insurance.
  • Don’t volunteer information or make statements without an attorney.

Options during a DUI stop:

  1. Remain Silent: It’s within your rights to refrain from discussing where you’ve been or what you’ve had to drink.
  2. Request an Attorney: Once you request an attorney, the questioning by law enforcement should stop until your lawyer is present.

Additional insights can be found on the importance of witnesses in DUI cases.

Challenging DUI Test Results

Challenging DUI test results in court is possible. There are several ways to question the accuracy and validity of field sobriety, breath, and blood tests.

First, field sobriety tests can be questioned. These tests rely on physical coordination, which can be affected by many factors, such as medical conditions or even uneven surfaces.

Second, you can challenge breath test results. Breathalyzers must be calibrated correctly. If they aren’t, the results can be inaccurate. It’s also important to consider when the calibration was last done.

For blood testing, the chain of custody is crucial. If there’s any break in this process, the sample can become contaminated. This can cast doubt on the blood test results.

Common defenses include arguing that the testing equipment was faulty or improperly maintained. You might also point out that the officer administering the test was not properly trained. For instance, in 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court threw out the results of breathalyzer tests managed by an indicted state police sergeant. This decision potentially compromised over 20,000 driving while intoxicated convictions due to improper calibration of Alcotest machines between 2008 and 2016.

Legal representation is essential in these cases. A DUI attorney can present these defenses effectively. An Atlanta DUI attorney will likely understand the legal challenges involved and can navigate the complexities of DUI law.

For more strategies, check out this Expert Guide: How to Beat a DUI in GA.

How The Waltman Firm Can Help

Representation in DUI Cases

At The Waltman Firm, we handle DUI cases, and our team has represented numerous clients facing DUI charges, providing the legal assistance needed to navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Challenging DUI Test Results

We understand that DUI tests, such as breath, blood, and field sobriety tests, can have inaccuracies. Our attorneys can challenge the validity and accuracy of these tests. By scrutinizing the procedures and methods used, we strive to find potential errors that can be used in your defense.

Contact Us Today

Understanding DUI testing in Georgia and knowing your rights is crucial. Whether you are facing your first charge or have previous offenses, it’s essential to be informed about the legal processes and potential consequences.

We at The Waltman Firm are here to help. Our team of attorneys is dedicated to providing legal assistance. We will discuss your case in detail and explore all possible legal options with you.

Recently, we successfully defended a client in a DUI case where the state-administered blood test showed a result greater than 0.08. Attorney Holly Waltman meticulously examined the case and uncovered substantial constitutional violations. As a result of her diligent work, the judge dismissed the case entirely. This is one of many testimonies of how we help our clients achieve favorable outcomes, even in challenging situations.

Why Choose Us?

  • Personalized Attention: We focus on providing tailored legal advice for each case.
  • Comprehensive Support: From initial consultation to court representation, we stand by your side.

Take control of your situation by reaching out to The Waltman Firm today. Let us help you navigate the complexities of DUI testing and defense in Georgia.