Protecting Your Legal Rights Since 1994

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Drunk Driving
  4.  » Drivers should understand the details of implied consent for DUI

Drivers should understand the details of implied consent for DUI

Refusing a chemical breath test in a DUI traffic stop  is a legal violation that can cause problems for defendants independent of whether they were under the influence. Whether they realize it or not, when a person who has a driver’s license in the state, they are automatically agreeing to submit to this test when asked.

A refusal will lead to different penalties contingent on the person’s age and the type of license they have. When confronted with any DUI-related charges, the ramifications can be extensive and knowing what can be done to lodge an effective defense is key.

Penalties differ depending on licensing and circumstances

All drivers must submit to the test when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. However, the penalties will hinge on the amount of alcohol in the system and on other factors.

For an adult driver 21 or older who can legally consume alcohol, the refusal could automatically result in a driver’s license suspension for at least one year. If the case goes to trial, the decision to refuse to take the test could be used as evidence. Those who submit to the test and show a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08% will also face a one-year suspension.

Drivers under 21 are even more vulnerable to thinking they can simply refuse the test. The consequences for them can go beyond losing their driver’s license as a DUI charge and its accompanying penalties can negatively impact them as they try to advance in life. Since most everyone understands the concept of “the right to remain silent” and not speak to law enforcement, people – especially juveniles – might be unaware that they must agree to the DUI test if they are asked to take it.

Since juveniles are not legally allowed to consume alcohol at all, the threshold for a DUI charge is lower. Whereas an adult driver must have a BAC of 0.08%, a juvenile will be charged if they register 0.02%. The refusal will result in a one-year suspension as will registering a BAC of 0.02%.

Commercial drivers rely on their license to make a living. If they refuse, they too face a one-year suspension. The BAC for which a driver with a commercial license will be penalized is higher than it is for a juvenile, but lower than it is for an adult driver. For the commercial driver, it is 0.04%.

Once they have been tested and found to have any alcohol in their system, they will receive an out-of-service order and cannot drive a commercial vehicle for 24 hours. When they have been found to have a BAC of 0.04%, they will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for at least one year.

The laws surrounding a DUI investigation can be complex

People who are stopped on suspicion of DUI, refuse the test and are later found to have been under the influence will be confronted with a litany of scenarios that can cause problems for them. This is true regardless of their age and the type of license they have.

While the penalties for a DUI can be significant with fines, lost driving privileges and the possibility of incarceration, other challenges can present themselves. A commercial driver will not be able to earn a living as a driver. Adults could have problems commuting, running errands and helping their family. Juveniles may face an uncertain future.

Fortunately, there are avenues of defense that can be effective. Understanding DUI charges and defenses in Georgia can be helpful with assessing the traffic stop, checking the officer’s behavior, scrutinizing the evidence and finding ways to avoid the worst penalties or getting an outright acquittal.