What Are the Different Breath Tests in an Atlanta DUI?
There are two types of breath testing devices used in Atlanta DUIs. One of them is voluntary, one is mandatory. One gives a preliminary alcohol screening, and the other can be used against you in court. Refusing one of them may mean nothing, while refusing the other will mean you'll lose your license for a year.
The portable breath test is also known as a breathalyzer. Believe it or not, the original breathalyzer was invented way back in the 1958. Since that time, the use of chemical breath testing devices to determine a driver's alcohol level has increased to use in nearly all police departments. But just because everyone is using a breathalyzer does not mean that it is an accurate measure of alcohol in a person's body.
The small, handheld device is used by Atlanta police after they pull over a car and suspect the driver may be under the influence of alcohol. The police will want you to blow into this device, to test the approximate amount of alcohol in the driver's body. However, these results are not admissible in your criminal case. Police use this to establish probable cause that the driver is intoxicated, along with their observations, and any results from a field sobriety test. You have the right to refuse a handheld breathalyzer test. Even if the police make it seem like you'll get arrested if you don't give a breath test, they most likely will be ready to arrest you anyway, and just want some additional ammunition to justify your arrest.
After a driver is arrested, then they will be confronted with a different type of breath test device. This is larger, desktop device like the Intoxilyzer 5000. These are generally more accurate than the handheld devices, but that really depends on who is operating the machine, and if it has been properly calibrated. Even when it is properly calibrated, the police station breath testing machines are still not perfect. Still, the results from these breath tests can be used in evidence at your criminal trial to show that you were above the per se limit for intoxicated driving. For most drivers, that level is 0.08 percent BAC or higher, but for drivers under 21, the limit is only 0.02 percent.
The difference between being asked to blow into a portable breath test device and an evidentiary breath testing device is that refusal to submit a breath test after you've been arrested has some real consequences. Under the implied consent law in Georgia if you get arrested for a DUI, you are required to submit to a chemical test in order to find out how much alcohol is in your body. If you refuse, then the Georgia Department of Driver Services will automatically suspend your license for 1 year. In order to fight the suspension, you will need to request a hearing, but you only have 30 days to request an ALS hearing or you will lose your chance to contest the automatic suspension. Unlike a suspended license for testing above the per se DUI limits, if you refuse to submit to a breath test then you cannot even apply for a limited driving permit. That means no driving anywhere for a full year.
DUI Lawyer in Georgia
Whether or not you submitted or refused a field or regular breath test, you still have rights. Contact an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer who can investigate your case, and make sure you have all defenses available. Don't wait another day because you only have 30 days to challenge an administrative one-year license suspension. Call us today so we can fight for your rights.