Serving DUI/DWI Clients Throughout Forsyth County
Forsyth County in northern Georgia is one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest areas in the United States. Its natural beauty and proximity to Atlanta combine to make it an appealing location for commuters. Over recent years, it has absorbed so many high-income professionals that its median household income was ranked by Forbes in 2008 as number 31 on the list of wealthiest U.S. counties. Established on land originally belonging to the Cherokee Indians, the county’s present name is derived from John Forsyth, a notable Georgian, who, in addition to being the one-time attorney general of Georgia, a member of both houses of Congress and the U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents Jackson and Van Buren, became the minister to Spain and negotiated the purchase of Florida. Now Forsyth County is known for its lovely sights, such as Lake Lanier, Sharon Springs Park, and Suwanee Mountain Preserve.
Even with all its positive attributes, natural and historic, Forsyth County, like all counties everywhere, has its share of DUI problems. If you live in its environs and are experiencing legal difficulties relative to a DUI arrest, you have the distinct advantage of having Carter Pilgrim, Attorneys at Law available to assist you. Located in Suwanee, we serve clients throughout north Georgia. Our highly capable trial attorneys — Amy Carter and Phil Pilgrim — are fully prepared to evaluate your options, protect your interests, and vigorously defend you in a court of law.
What Happens If You’re Arrested for DUI in Forsyth County
If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may find yourself facing an arrest for DUI. It is best to understand in advance what is likely to happen if you are arrested. The arresting officer will request that you submit to a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). What should you do now? Is refusal an option?
At Carter Pilgrim, our DUI/DWI defense attorneys deal with questions regarding breath and blood tests on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances where both refusal to comply and agree to comply with such tests has become an issue for those arrested later in the process. Whether or not you have been faced with the choice of refusing a test to determine blood alcohol levels, being armed with the knowledge of the law can help you moving forward.
Georgia’s Implied Consent Laws
When you drive on the roads in the State of Georgia, whether in Forsyth County or elsewhere, you have (even if you’re unaware of it) already agreed to submit to breath and blood tests to determine your blood alcohol content  if you have been lawfully arrested for a DUI offense, or  if you are involved in an accident that has resulted in serious injury or death. This law is known as “implied consent.”
The arresting officer may choose which test to administer to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol: blood, breath, urine, or saliva. These tests are supposed to be run as soon as physically possible since the level of an intoxicating substance in your body will lessen as time passes. It is important to know that certain protocols that must be followed in order for such tests to be admissible later in a court of law. This is where it pays to have the experienced DUI/DWI attorneys of Carter Pilgrim on your side. In some cases, we may be able to have all charges against you being dropped simply because your chemical test was administered improperly.
Georgia Implied Consent Advisement
Although it may seem a bit late to you to be informed about implied consent at the time of your arrest, remember that the arresting officers cannot administer any type of chemical test to confirm their suspicions that you are driving under the influence unless they first read you Georgia’s implied consent notice. This notice informs you that:
- You are required to submit to testing.
- There are penalties for refusing to submit to testing
- You have the right to request an independent test
After informing you of your rights, the arresting officer must ask you if you agree to be tested in the manner the officer chooses. If an arresting officer fails to provide this advisement, the results of any test administered on you will not be admissible at your criminal trial. This failure can also prevent the Georgia Department of Driver Services from suspending your driver’s license, based either on your results or based on your refusal to be tested.
In some cases, even if the arresting officer provides the notice, the results may not automatically be admissible at trial. Your attorney may be able to show that even though the notice was given, under the circumstances, your consent was not freely given.
Should you request an independent chemical test following a DUI arrest?
If you request an independent chemical test, you must first submit to a test by the arresting officer. If you refuse the officer’s test, you forfeit your right to an independent test. Once you have requested an independent test, the officer must make reasonable accommodations to get one for you. If such accommodations are not made, you may request that the court disallow the results of the officer’s test.
There are a few things that you should know about requesting an independent test:
- You have to pay for the independent test, which could cost over $100
- An adequate implied consent notice doesn’t automatically make the results of the test admissible in a criminal trial.
If you request an independent chemical test and the officer refuses, the court will look at a number of factors to determine whether your request was reasonable, including:
- Whether you had the ability and opportunity to arrange for the independent testing
- Whether you had the ability to pay for the test
- Whether there was a significant delay in the execution of the independent test
- Whether the location of the facility to which you had to be taken for the test was accessible
- How much time the officer would have had to spend on satisfying your request
Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side can help turn the facts in your favor when it comes to a request for independent chemical testing.
Can You Refuse a Chemical Test Following a DUI Arrest?
The short answer is, yes – you have every right to refuse to take the blood, breath or urine test. The only exception to this is when an officer has a search warrant, in which case, implied consent is not an issue.
However, it is important to realize that if you do refuse to submit to a chemical test, that refusal will be brought into evidence at your criminal trial and the prosecutor will undoubtedly state or imply that you had something to hide. In addition, a refusal to submit to chemical testing can also result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year — without the issuance of a limited driving permit.
DUI Defense Attorney That’s Available 24-hours a Day
If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, whether you refused a chemical test, requested an independent test, or submitted to an officer’s test, your best chance at a positive outcome is to have an experienced DUI attorney fighting for your rights. DUI defense attorney Phil Pilgrim previously served as the Senior Assistant Solicitor-General in a courtroom that prosecuted over 4000 DUI and BUI cases a year. Because of this experience, he knows the other team’s playbook. Knowing how the other side is going to react before they do is a significant advantage if you are facing DUI charges. You don’t have to face this complex and disturbing challenge on your own. Contact our experienced attorneys at Carter Pilgrim or request a consultation online.