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What issues can be contested in an implied consent hearing?

Previously, we looked at a recent U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of imposing criminal penalties on drivers who refuse to submit to alcohol testing under state implied consent laws. Implied consent law in Georgia is something that often must be dealt with alongside criminal penalties in drunk-driving cases.

Here in Georgia, motorists must submit to chemical testing when a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she was driving or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle and the individual has been arrested for certain violations or has been involved in an accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. 

Law enforcement officers are supposed to provide notice to motorists of certain points of law. Specifically, drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing must be notified that they may, under implied consent law, have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year. In addition, refusal to submit to testing can be used against a driver at trial. Motorists who do submit to testing and who return a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more may have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year. Drivers who are under 21 years of age and who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more may have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year.

Drivers who have their license suspended are able to request a hearing to challenge their license suspension, but this must be done in a timely manner. The issues that may be brought up in the hearing are limited, and touch upon some issues that may come up in drunk-driving criminal cases. We’ll take a look at these issues in our next post.

Sources:

Section 40-5-67.1

Section 40-5-55

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