You've just been pulled over by a Georgia State Patrol's DUI task force officer and you've had a drink earlier in the evening, what do you do? Even though some people will just submit to a breath test because they don't know they can refuse one, there is an increasing number of people who are choosing not to take a breath test if they are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Some criminal law attorneys will even recommend that people who have only had one drink should refuse to take a breath test because the testing equipment will sometimes give inaccurate readings and lead to DUI charges.
Refusing to participate in field sobriety or breath tests, however, is no longer the end of a drunk driving investigation in Georgia. Two law enforcement agencies have started seeking blood warrants when suspects refuse a breath-based blood alcohol concentration test. Now, the Atlanta Police Department is considering similar measures, meaning that many more people could now be stuck choosing between a potentially faulty breath test and an invasive blood draw.
According to Georgia law, if you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, you can still be arrested for drunk driving if the arresting officer believes there is other evidence of intoxication. Some of the evidence police often rely on, however, may seem somewhat trivial, including fumbling for your license when the officer asks for it or having bloodshot eyes.
Once you have been arrested, police will often apply for a blood warrant with a state judge. If a judge approves the officer's request, there is little you can do to prevent the police department from withdrawing your blood.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "DUI test refusals prompt blood warrants," Rhonda Cook, Dec. 23, 2011