Many drivers do not know that if they are arrested for a DUI in Georgia, and consent to the state-administered chemical test, that they are also entitled to their own independent test. Only a small number of drivers arrested for DUI request their own independent test because they are unaware of their rights. With an experienced Georgia DUI Attorney your rights can be protected.
The right to an independent test attaches as soon as he or she has submitted to the arresting officer's chemical test. If the driver refuses to submit to the chemical test, there is no right to an independent test. Important to note is that submission to the handheld Breathalyzer test at the side of the road does not qualify as "submission" to the test. Rather, it is the state-administered breath test performed at the jail that causes the right to an independent test to attach.
O.C.G.A. 40-6-392(a)(3) states that "the person tested may have a physician or a qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or other qualified person of his own choosing administer a chemical test or tests in addition to any administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer." This requires the driver to notify the law enforcement officer that he or she wants the independent test.
Law enforcement officers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for a driver who requests an independent test. This usually means that a police officer will take the driver to a medical or testing facility for purposes of the test. The officer must take the driver to any testing facility within a 50-mile radius, and failure to do so means that the right to reasonable accommodation has been violated.
If your rights to reasonable accommodation are violated, your test results may be thrown out.
Arrangements and Costs
Although the driver has a right to the independent test, he or she is obligated to make the arrangements for it. The driver must inform the police officer of the time and place of the testing, and the driver must be able to pay for it. A police officer can be required to drive you to an ATM to help you obtain funds for the independent test.
If you do not know what facilities offer independent tests, law enforcement is required to assist you by providing you with access to the internet, a phone book, and a phone so that you may contact facilities that may be able to help.
Benefits of the Independent Test
Drivers will benefit from an independent test in two significant ways. First, the independent test gives you more reliable test results to assist your lawyer in your defense. Tests performed by Georgia law enforcement are often inaccurate, and addressing these inaccuracies with the court can aid your case.
The second is that if the arresting officer does not accommodate the request for an independent test, the case may be thrown out. This is not a possibility if you never request the test to which you are entitled.
Your case can benefit from an independent test, and a highly qualified Georgia DUI Attorney can assist you in defending your case. Just because you were arrested for DUI does not mean your are guilty. Contact us today for a free consultation.