Does a Driver Have the Right to Request a Second Independent Test?
Ted Morgan Law
Does a Driver in Georgia have the right to request a second independent test of their choosing? Georgia’s Implied Consent law requires the officer to inform the driver that after first submitting to the required state test, the driver is entitled to additional chemical tests of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substances at the driver’s own expense and from qualified personnel of the driver’s own choosing. Just as the State of Georgia has a legal right receive the sample of the driver’s blood, breath or urine, the Georgia driver has a right to an independent test of his blood, breath or urine if so requested. Any failure to reasonably accommodate the driver’s request (or any interference by an officer) in obtaining an independent test will result in suppression (exclusion) of the State’s test results. For example, where the defendant driver was a few dollars short of the amount required by the hospital to perform a test, and the officer refused to allow the driver to negotiate another form of payment or telephone relatives to obtain assistance in paying for the test, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that the driver’s right to an independent test had been violated and the State’s test results were suppressed. Similarly, where the officer, 30 minutes after taking the State’s breath test, refused when the defendant requested an independent test, the Court held that the police had violated the defendant’s right to an independent test and the State’s breath test was suppressed.