Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, I was arrested last night for DUI in the State of Georgia. I told the cop several times I wanted to talk to my lawyer before I took any tests. That did not go over too well and eventually they notified me that I had refused the chemical test. What gives? I thought I could talk to my lawyer during a Georgia DUI arrest?
Georgia DUI arrest and your rights
Police officers may have the right to stop a driver if they observe any driving infraction. They also, however, may stop a driver and conduct an investigatory traffic stop if they have reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Unfortunately, sometimes police officers are ignorant of the laws and stop drivers for reasons they believe to be illegal- tinted windows or dangling air fresheners- which may or not be valid. Unfortunately, often judges refuse to throw out evidence found at these stops.
Other common reasons officers stop cars is if they observe weaving, drifting, braking erratically, straddling the center lane marker, driving more than 10 mph below limit, stopping without reason in traffic lanes, or turning abruptly or illegally.
What do I have to do when I am stopped by a police officer?
Regardless of whether the stop was illegal, if you are stopped by a police officer its important to understand your rights before and after a Georgia DUI arrest. For example, you may be required to provide your name and drivers license to the officer, but you have the right to decline to answer other questions.
You also have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. In fact, most DUI lawyers suggest that taking the field sobriety test prior to your Georgia DUI arrest will not help your case. In fact, it generally only helps the police collect more evidence for a Georgia DUI case against you. Experts also generally agree that some police officers may not be fully trained to accurately interpret the results while they are administering the field sobriety test.
If you refuse to take a field sobriety test or you take the test and fail, its likely you will be arrested for DUI. If you are arrested the police officer will also probably request that you take a chemical test. Under Georgia state law, you have given your implied consent to take this test. Refusing to take the test or stating that you will not take the test until you talk to your lawyer will likely result in a one year license suspension.
Can I contact my lawyer after a Georgia DUI stop?
No, under Georgia DUI laws the police do not have to let you contact your lawyer until you have been arrested and taken to jail. This means you will have to decide whether to answer the police officers questions, submit to a field sobriety test, and take the chemical test prior to receiving any legal advice. But just because you do not have the legal right to talk to a lawyer does not mean you should not ask to speak to one. In some cases, they might let you before they are legally required to do so under the law.