How can they prove me guilty of DUI when I refused the breath test and all field sobriety tests?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Several times a week I am told by a prospective client that the police cannot prove that they were DUI because they did not take a breath test or do field sobriety tests.

When someone refuses to test in a DUI case, it can potentially make it harder for the State to prove its case. However, there are still many possible things that can be used against a driver accused of being under the influence.

Prosecutors routinely argue the following in “double refusal” cases:

  • The accused drove in an unsafe or less safe manner.
  • The accused refused testing because he or she knew that they were under the influence.
  • The accused has slurred speech
  • The accused was unsteady on their feet.
  • The accused seemed disoriented and could not follow instructions given by the police.
  • The accused was in an accident because they were unsafe to drive, as a result of the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
  • The accused has had a prior DUI, and as a result, they knew to refuse to take a breath or blood test in the present case.
  • The accused had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage.
  • The accused had blood shot or watery eyes
  • The accused caused an accident with another vehicle
  • The accused has disheveled clothing

The point is that all of us know when a person has been drinking or is impaired. Police officers are allowed to use their personal experience when evaluating someone.

Jurors can also use their common sense when deciding a DUI case. In fact, Georgia Jurors are instructed as such in every criminal case. Georgia jurors are also instructed that when determining if a person is under the influence that they may consider a person's driving and physical dexterity in making that determination.

Jurors are also specifically instructed that when a person refuses a breath or blood test that they may presume that he or she knew the results would not be favorable. Of course, that presumption may be rebutted by the defense.

My point here is that there is more evidence used in a Georgia DUI case than just a breath, blood, or field sobriety test. There are the common-sense observations of the witnesses.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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