A question we receive a lot after someone has been arrested for a DUI is:
The officer read some notice to me and I was given a form that says my drivers license was suspended, what does this mean and what can I do?
Now, a full discussion of Implied Consent would take thousands of pages. This is a nutshell version of the general aspects of Implied Consent for people who are over 21 and do not have a CDL license. For specific questions or issues, contact a criminal defense attorney.
When you have been arrested for a DUI the officer should read to you a notice from a card. This notice does not have to be read word for word but the notice must be substantially complied with, this notice is known as Implied Consent.
Implied Consent for Drivers over 21 years old reads as follows:
Georgia law requires you to submit to state administered chemical
tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for
the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol
or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license
or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended
for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to the
required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial.
If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol
concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or
privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for
a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required
state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your
blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense
and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to
the state administered chemical tests of your ( designate which
tests ) under the implied consent law?
Well, what is Implied Consent anyway?
It is a legal concept created by the General Assembly that assumes every person in Georgia driving vehicles on roads has consented to be tested by law enforcement for alcohol and/or drugs if the officer believes that driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is the primary mechanism used by law enforcement to obtain physical evidence in a DUI prosecution.
When the Implied Consent notice is read, the officer is asking the driver for a specimen of the driver’s blood or breath. (Keep in mind that the portable alcosensor that is sometimes brought out by an officer at the scene is a field sobriety test. This, and other field sobriety tests should never be taken by the driver under any circumstances.) The IC notice is referencing the Intoxilizer machine that is usually at the police station.
Basically, this means that if you do not agree to take the designated test then your license is automatically suspended. At which point you will (should) be given a 1205 form that indicates your license has been suspended and you now have 30 days to appeal that suspension.
Important note: This suspension is for one year.
It is very important that you appeal that decision and fight to keep your license.
Also an important note, sometimes officers forget to give you a 1205 form but still suspend your license. If you have refused a test, you need to file an appeal anyway!
If you decide to take the test, you have the right to an independent test at a place of your choosing. This usually takes place at the closest hospital and is in the form of a blood test.
If you request a hearing, you will be summoned before an administrative law judge. There are several issues that can be considered at the hearing. But, most of these cases are either worked out between the driver and officer at the hearing or rescinded if the officer does not appear.
There is also a way for law enforcement to bypass Implied Consent altogether — the search warrant. Under some circumstances, a judge can sign a warrant whereby a person’s blood can be taken from his or her person without consent.
Out-of-state drivers are treated a little differently. For example, if the driver has a license from Alabama, the state of Georgia lacks the authority to suspend it. However, Georgia can prevent the driver from driving within the state of Georgia.
Also, Georgia may notify the other state if the driver is ever convicted of DUI. The other state may or may not act on the driver’s license.
Remember, just because a driver is accused of DUI doesn’t mean he or she is guilty. But, it does mean that their lawyer needs to be notified soon.
Again, this is a brief description of Implied Consent laws and how they affect you. If you have been arrested for a DUI you need to contact an attorney right away. As you have read above you have certain deadlines rapidly approaching. You also have certain rights and an experienced attorney will know the best way to handle your case.
If your questions about your DUI case or about Implied Consent give us a call today. 762-200-2924
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.