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Are DUIs down because more people are refusing sobriety tests?

Earlier this month, it was reported that drunk driving convictions have dropped significantly over the past five years in Georgia, which seems to suggest that fewer people in the state are driving under the influence of alcohol.

While that may be part of the reason, experts say that it likely isn’t the only reason. They point to data showing that the number of drivers who have refused sobriety tests has shot up over the same period of time.

According to data from the State Department of Driver Services, there were 44,017 DUI convictions in the state in 2008 and 32,514 in 2013. During the same time, there were 5,608 people who refused sobriety tests in 2008 and 11,480 who refused the tests in 2013.

Although drivers can still be arrested for drunk driving without taking a sobriety test, such as a breathalyzer, urine or blood test, prosecutors often don’t have enough evidence without these test results for a DUI conviction. Instead, many drivers end up facing less-serious traffic offenses.

While it may sound like a no-brainer for anyone who gets accused of drunk driving to refuse a sobriety test, the decision isn’t without risks. Refusing the sobriety tests can result in an automatic license suspension, and a one-year license suspension if you are eventually convicted of DUI.

What that means is that if you refuse the testing, the stakes will still be extremely high in your DUI case, so you still must take it very seriously and consult with a lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases.

Our Athens firm concentrates on handling contested DUI cases, and we especially enjoy handling cases in which drivers refused to submit to a breath test and was arrested for DUI based on field sobriety tests.

To find out more about the unique approach our firm takes in defending DUI cases, take a look at our website.