Know Your Rights: Roadside Sobriety Tests in Georgia

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The police already know the law before they pull you over. This can cause major problems for you if you don’t know your rights ahead of time.

Consider how Georgia’s laws impact you and give yourself the best chance at fighting the charges, if necessary. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Georgia’s Implied Consent Law

According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, if you refuse a chemical test for the presence of drugs or alcohol during a traffic stop, your license will be suspended for a minimum of one year. This is true for your first offense. However, it is not true for a field sobriety test, only for chemical tests.

2. You Have the Right Against Self-Incrimination

You do not have to submit to a field sobriety test. (Standing on one leg, looking from side to side, walking a line). You can politely decline. This may not prevent your arrest, but you do not have to perform tasks that insinuate your guilt. It may be a worthwhile strategy to decline the test.

3. Your Rights Allow You to Remain Silent

Yes, the arresting officer will tell you this, and it probably benefits you. Wait until later to share your side of the story. The arresting officer is listening to and possibly recording everything you say. You are likely stressed by the whole situation and may feel pressured to admit guilt. Remaining silent is a constitutional right that can work in your favor.

4. Do Not Give Permission for Them to Search Your Vehicle

Do not give the police and prosecution any evidence, verbal or otherwise. If they do not have a warrant, they cannot legally search your vehicle. They will do their job. You should do yours. Acting within your rights is responsible and may help you avoid certain legal consequences.

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