To Consent or Not to Consent?

Everyone has heard the term “implied consent,” but what does it mean? When the State of Georgia issues you a license to drive, they do so under the condition that you agree to take a “State administered test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance.” What this means is that, if you are ever stopped by the police and they suspect that you are intoxicated, they can demand a sample of your breath, blood, or other substance to determine the amount of any intoxicating substance that is in your system, and if you refuse you risk losing your driver’s license. They can do this because, as a condition of them granting you a license to drive, you automatically agree (or consent) to give a sample.

Some Common Questions:

What happens if I give a breath sample? If you give a sample of your blood, breath, or other bodily substance you are giving the State evidence to use against you at trial. The State can and will use a refusal against you at trial as well, but usually a refusal is better than a high BAC number in front of a jury.

So I have to give a sample? No, you can refuse to give a sample.

What happens if I refuse? The State allows you to go before an Administrative Law Judge to determine whether there was probable cause for the officer to arrest you for DUI. If the judge determines that there was probable cause then he or she will suspend you license for 1 year without the possibility of a temporary permit.

So, the question for the day is “To consent or not to consent?” This is a question only you can answer. However, understanding the consequences of both decisions may help you to make that decision.



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