Georgia Implied Consent & BAC Testing

Have you ever experienced a DUI arrest in Georgia? It is essential you know what implied consent and BAC testing mean. Regarding alcohol, drivers in Georgia can face two kinds of charges – DUI per se and DUI less safe.

Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on October 11, 2023.


Implied Consent Law in Georgia

Implied consent law is one of Georgia DUI laws as provided in G.A. Code § 40-5-55. It states that if you operate a motor vehicle in Georgia, you are deemed by the State to have given consent to a chemical test or test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). These chemical tests are administered by any law enforcement officer with reasonable grounds to believe you are driving under the influence.

So, your refusal to submit to this test after your DUI arrest may cause a minimum of 12 months suspension of your driver’s license.

You must note that driving is not considered a right in Georgia but rather a privilege. So, that an officer reasonably suspects you of driving under the influence is sufficient to effect a DUI arrest. The officer has to give you an implied consent notice upon your arrest for DUI. The exact notice to be read will depend on your age or driver’s license status.

Types of BAC Tests Used in Georgia

The officer in a DUI situation must give you implied consent advisement after the DUI arrest. This advisement includes a statement concerning the BAC tests that can be conducted on you and how the test results or refusal can be used against you.

Three chemical tests are done to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration in Georgia. These chemical tests include the following:

  • Breath Test

  • Blood Test

  • Urine Test

Importance of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Testing

BAC testing is essential to determine the presence of alcohol or other drugs in your body while driving. The BAC testing will reveal your alcohol level and determine whether your arrest is appropriate depending on the test result.

If your BAC test result is below the legal limit, it will prove your innocence. But, having your BAC test result over the legal limit will be evidence the officer can use for your DUI trial.

If you, being above 21 years old, submit to BAC testing and your BAC is shown to be 0.08 grams or more, you may have your Georgia driver’s license suspended for a minimum period of one year. This suspension goes into effect before you answer the DUI criminal charge. However, you can get a limited permit during your suspension period.

The BAC testing result as a commercial motor vehicle driver must not be up to 0.04 grams. If it is shown to be 0.04 grams or more, you may have your driver’s license suspended for a minimum period of one year.

The 0.04 grams test limit applies if you drive a commercial vehicle during your arrest. You can get extra tests after submitting the requested state tests at your own expense.

However, if you are under 21, the legal limit is 0.02 grams.

If you are over these legal limits based on your age or driver’s license status, you have committed a DUI per se offense.

Can I Refuse a BAC Test in Georgia?

You can refuse to submit to Georgia state-administered chemical tests when arrested for DUI. However, your refusal can make the State of Georgia suspend your driver’s license or restrict your driving because driving is deemed a privilege and not a right.

What Are the Consequences of Refusing a Bac Test?

Since you are driving in Georgia, you agree to submit to the BAC test based on Georgia’s implied consent law. So, refusal to submit to the BAC test has several consequences, including:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license.

  • Availability of Evidence to Support Criminal DUI Charge

How Accurate Are BAC Test Results?

The extent of BAC test results accuracy depends on the kind of test done and several other factors. Factors such as medical conditions, device malfunction, and human error can generally affect the accuracy of BAC test results. In Georgia, blood tests for DUI are mostly considered more reliable than breath tests.

How Can I Challenge the Results of a BAC Test in Court?

Many assume erroneously that there is no way out if their BAC test result exceeds the legal limit. This assumption is not valid. Your BAC test result may not automatically confer guilt on you for a DUI offense. An experienced DUI attorney can challenge your BAC test result accuracy in the following ways:

Improper calibration and maintenance of the breathalyzer

A breathalyzer needs frequent maintenance and periodic inspections. The results produced using the breathalyzer may be inaccurate if the device is not kept up to standard. The result would not be admissible during your criminal DUI trial if the result is inaccurate.

Even when properly calibrated, the breathalyzer can still give a faulty reading if administered improperly. Such events can be caused by inadequate officer training on using the device.

Absence of reasonable cause

The law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a DUI arrest. So, where it is proven that there was no reasonable cause to validate a stop by an officer, your BAC test result may become inadmissible. Your DUI lawyer can help you establish this challenge during your DUI trial.

Refusal to read the Georgia implied consent notice.

In Georgia, officers are mandated to read the implied consent advisement or notice to you upon your DUI arrest. Your BAC test result can be challenged when they fail to read the advisement. Also, where the officers give you advice contrary to the implied consent notice is a ground to challenge your BAC test result.

Foreign substances

Foreign substances residue can make the alcohol vapour in your mouth exceed the alcohol level exhaled from your lungs. These residues can be from breath fresheners, mouthwash, and toothache medications.

Medical conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes, gastro disorders, and high volume percentage of red blood cells can make your breathalyzer test exceed the legal limit.

Philip Kim Law, P.C. Can Help You

You can attract severe DUI penalties if you are found guilty of driving under the influence. So, it is beneficial for you to hire skillful DUI attorneys upon being charged with a DUI per se. Our experienced DUI attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C. are committed to representing our clients’ interests well in DUI cases.

Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation.

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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