Breath, Blood and Urine Test Refusals
If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be asked to submit to one or a series of field sobriety tests. These standardized field sobriety tests are not the chemical tests that you are required to submit to. Field sobriety tests include the one leg stand, walk and turn test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. If the law enforcement official believes there is justification for an arrest, the individual will be arrested and taken in and asked to submit to a chemical test. There are three types of chemical tests: breath, blood and urine. Anyone who refuses a chemical test could face up to a years' license suspension. This is called a "hard suspension." These types of suspension are unique in that the driver cannot petition for limited or restricted driving privileges. Were you arrested and charged with a chemical test refusal? Contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer from our firm.
Alleged Chemical Test Refusal
One important thing to remember is that the handheld AlcoSensor test is not a chemical breath test. These handheld breath testing machines are administered on the side of the road during the actual police stop. They are a field sobriety test and not a chemical test. Only after a lawful arrest can a law enforcement official ask an individual to submit to a chemical test. Here is one common mistake to avoid. Because some individuals submit to an AlcoSensor test on the side of the road, they believe they do not have to submit to a chemical breath test at the police station. This is not a second request; it is actually the only mandatory breath test.
Reasons for Refusing a Chemical Test
One possible reason for refusing a chemical test is that an arrestee is waiting to speak with an attorney. Refusing to take a chemical test until you have an attorney present could be charged as a refusal even though the arrestee is not actually refusing. In other scenarios, a police officer could perceive an arrestee's questions or conversation as a delay of submitting to the test or a challenge to their authority. Some police officers ignore required police procedure and charge a person with refusal simply because they know the case is weak. You may have refused a chemical test because you were unaware of the requirement or you firmly believed that you were not impaired. There are many reasons for refusing a chemical test, but any refusal can result in an automatic one year license suspension.
If you believe that you were wrongfully charged with refusal, there is something you can do about it. There are actually many proven defenses against charges of breath, blood or urine test refusals. An Atlanta DUI attorney like Richard Lawson could build a strong case to present at an administrative license suspension (ALS) hearing. License suspension could significantly alter your day to day freedoms, especially since you would not be able to petition for restricted driving privileges. How will you get to work? How will you drive your children to school? Many people cannot afford license suspension for one day, let alone one year. Learn more about legal representation you could receive from an Atlanta DUI attorney at The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson by contacting the firm today. Free consultations are available!