When the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving, they may ask you to take a breathalyzer test at some point. It is meant to ascertain your blood alcohol (BAC) levels, and should the reading be above the legal threshold of 0.08%, the police can arrest you for drunk driving.
So, what happens if you refuse to take the test?
You have a right to refuse a roadside breathalyzer test
A recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling gives drivers the right to decline a roadside breathalyzer test. However, it does not mean that the police will just allow you to go. If the police have enough reason to believe that you are intoxicated, they can arrest you for drunk driving. Once at the station, they can require you to take a blood test.
Declining a breathalyzer test can carry some penalties
Even though refusing a breathalyzer test cannot be used against you in court as evidence of drunk driving, it can come with some administrative penalties. You risk losing your driver’s license for a considerable period, usually one year, if you are not successful in reversing the suspension.
So, should you submit to a breathalyzer test?
The answer largely depends on your situation. You may be better off refusing a roadside breathalyzer test if you think you might fail. Even if you then need to take a test at the station, the delay could be beneficial as it gives your body more time to process the alcohol.
Most importantly, you need to be aware of your legal rights when the police pull you over. If things escalate and you are headed to the station, it is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.