DUI Refusal Charges: Can You Be Charged Without Evidence?

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In Georgia, you have a legal obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test when an officer has pulled you over on a reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence. You can face serious consequences if you refuse the test, primarily the loss of your driver’s license. The question is how much evidence an officer needs to show that you refused to submit to the test. Given that a driver’s license suspension is an administrative sanction, the answer may be that there is a lower standard of proof. Contact a Carrollton DUI attorney at Moffitt Law, LLC if you have been pulled over and charged with any alcohol-related driving offenses.

How Implied Consent Works in Georgia

When you obtain a driver’s license in Georgia, you are promising certain things in exchange for the privileges of operating a car in the state. You give your implied consent that an officer can administer a breathalyzer test if they believe that you are under the influence. The officer would read you a warning that tells you that you can lose your license if you do not submit to testing.

Of course, you do not waive certain rights, such as the one to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. However, you must take a breathalyzer test when asked or give samples of your blood or urine for testing, or be subject to administrative license suspension.

Cases in Front of the Office of State Administrative Hearings

The authorities do not even have to take you to court to suspend your driver’s license for up to a year. They can initiate an administrative process in front of the Office of State Administrative Hearings, which could result in the loss of your driving privileges. Because this is an administrative process, the case against you does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Nonetheless, there will still be significant consequences because it could result in the loss of your license. If your license has been suspended, you must file an appeal within 30 days of your arrest in order to be granted an administrative hearing. If this is your first DUI, you could also elect to use an ignition interlock device instead of appealing.

You Have Legal Rights in an Administrative Hearing

You still have legal rights in an administrative hearing. First, you are given due process, which means that you must have notice of the hearing itself and be able to show up and be heard. You can hire an attorney who can present your side of the story to the administrative law judge. You may also be able to present your evidence that supports your side of the story and counters the evidence that the state is trying to use against you.

Second, the state is the one that has the burden of proof to demonstrate the charges against you. However, they are held to the preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning they must show that what they are alleging against you is more likely than not to have happened. This is a lower standard than what they would need to show in a parallel criminal case that you are facing and makes it easier to lose your license. Nonetheless, if the state does not meet its burden of proof, your license cannot be suspended. The best thing that you can do is hire a lawyer, even if there is no potential jail time involved in your case.

Contact a Georgia DUI Attorney Today

Moffitt Law, LLC defends drivers facing administrative and criminal sanctions for alleged alcohol-related offenses in Georgia. We provide our clients with a strong and vigorous legal defense that could hopefully lead to the best possible outcome in resolving charges against them. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney, you can send us a message online or call us today at 762-200-2924.

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