Ask for a Lawyer
Ask to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. After you make this statement, do not make any other comments about your case. Be aware that most patrol cars have recording devices and your statements and actions can be used against you.
Under “implied consent” laws in all states, when you apply for a driver’s license, you agree to submit to a chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test if you are arrested for DUI in exchange for your driving privileges. When you are arrested, an officer must read the implied consent notice to you stating that if you refuse to take a chemical test, your license will be suspended for at least one year and your refusal may be used against you in court. The officer must also explain that if you choose to take a test, you then have the option of asking for a second test (at your expense) and choose who gives it. Choose the Breath Option
Breath tests can often inaccurately measure your blood alcohol level (BAC). This choice of testing is your best defense due to their unreliability. If your breathalyzer test confirms your BAC is less than 0.08, you should be free to leave (if you have no other charges.)
If You Refuse
Once you refuse to take a test, the officer will take your license and give you a 30-day permit. You can request a hearing to challenge the suspension within those 30 days.
It usually does not help you to refuse to take a chemical test when you are arrested for a DUI. But in Georgia, the consequences for refusal are milder than those for a DUI, which include jail time, fines, community service, and completion of an alcohol program. However, refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t still be convicted of DUI.
Make Bond as Soon as Possible
You will need to bond out of jail or wait in custody until your arraignment (which must be within 48 hours of your arrest.) You can plead ‘not guilty’ and request release on your own recognizance or get a ‘cite and release,’ where you sign the ticket with a promise to appear at a later court date.
After Release, Record the Event
Write down every detail about your arrest. Thorough notes will assist your attorney with fighting the charges brought against you.
Talk to a DUI Lawyer
The single most important thing to do now is to find a qualified DUI attorney who knows the applicable laws and can help guide you through the legal process. Appropriate representation will cost you but choosing a subpar attorney or representing yourself will cost you more in the long run.
Contact the DMV
In order to protect your driving privilege after being arrested for DUI, you must contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule what’s known as a DMV APS hearing. If you wait too long, you waive your right to the hearing, and the suspension of your license will automatically take effect 30 days after the date of your DUI arrest.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be taken as legal advice or intended to condone driving under the influence, but rather to inform you of your rights during a DUI arrest.