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Can you refuse roadside breathalyzer tests?

When the police have reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, they will stop you and perform a chemical test to determine your breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to act accordingly. Georgia’s Implied Consent Law requires drivers to submit to state-administered chemical tests. If you refuse, your license may be suspended for a minimum of one year.

However, you can refuse a roadside test. Here is how you might do this.

Ask politely

It will help to be polite when refusing a sobriety test at a stop. Consider using a statement like, “Officer, can one be administered at the station?” This politely informs the officer of your refusal to have a roadside test, but you are not entirely refusing to comply. 

Refusing a roadside test can be challenging for a police officer, as they will have to make plans for another officer to follow you to the station and for a test to be administered when you arrive. Thus, being impolite may not help the situation. 

Why would you refuse a roadside test?

If you were stopped minutes after having a glass of wine, your BAC may be high. With this evidence, the police can incriminate you and, in turn, you may face high penalties. 

When you request a test to be administered at the station, you will have enough “waiting” period for your liver to metabolize the alcohol in your body. Accordingly, the result can be lower upon administration of a test.

However, note that your results may still be high, especially if you had one too many. Metabolization may not be completed during your trip to the station.You will also likely face penalties if you refuse to take a breathalyzer at the police station, as this is a violation of implied consent laws.  

Contrary to what most people believe, you can refuse a roadside sobriety test in Georgia. It will be best to get legal help to make informed decisions.