Forsyth County DUI: I Refused the Blood Test

Question: I spent the morning fishing on Lake Lanier looking for something that would bite. I was with a couple of friends from Georgia State, Lanier technical College and the University of North Georgia and West Forsyth High School. We were fishing and swimming and drinking some beers and doing some homemade whiskey drinks.

It was all good and then I drove home. Problem was that I got pulled over by a Forsyth County deputy near Cumming. The police officer said that I was weaving and because my truck was towing the boat he said I was dangerous. He said that he smelled alcohol and marijuana. I was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a joint but I don't smoke pot.

One thing led to another and I was arrested for DUI. I did some walking tests and then he asked if I would take a blood test. I said that I don't like needles and he asked me again. I said again that I don't like needles. I said I would talk a breath test or something else.

He said that I refused and that my driver's license was now suspended for a year. I need my license for work and to help my wife and kids. I said I wouldn't take a blood test but I said I'd take a breath test. So I really didn't refuse, right? What can I do now?

Answer: You need to submit an administrative appeal to the Georgia Department of Driver Services within 10 business days of your arrest; it is usually referred to as a "10 day letter." That will trigger a hearing date where your attorney can negotiate a resolution with the Forsyth County deputy sheriff, perhaps allowing you to keep your license, or you can proceed to an actually hearing to contest the suspension. Many times there is an agreement between the deputy and the accused that allows the driver to maintain his or her driving privileges.

As for whether the Forsyth deputy sheriff was legally correct or not in relation to the refusal, he was. If you refuse to take the test that the officer offers, that is considered a refusal. It is a refusal even if you volunteer to take another test, such as a breath test or urine test. It is the officer's choice which test to offer. He likely thought that he would find marijuana as a result of the blood test.

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