How has the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling affected DUI defense?
Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a critically important decision in the field of DUI law. The Georgia high court held that a driver’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test cannot be admitted against the defendant in criminal court. Previously, a driver’s refusal to take the test was commonly testified to in court as evidence of his or her guilt. In reviewing the issue, the Supreme Court found that using a driver’s refusal to take the test against them was a violation of the Georgia Constitution’s rule against self-incrimination. Further, the court reaffirmed a previous ruling holding that it is unconstitutional to force drivers to take a breathalyzer. DUI defense lawyers across the state are closely reviewing the ruling and its ensuing fall out to better aid their clients.
Supreme Court Ruling Impacts Police Procedure
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, police officers in the state of Georgia are finding themselves needing to alter their procedure for investigating potential DUI suspects. Now, per the new ruling, officers in Georgia will need to seek a warrant when a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer. Police will need to pursue a warrant for a blood or urine test, which must be performed in a medical facility. While some jails are equipped to perform such medical procedures, police in other counties will need to take suspects to the hospital.
Already, Georgia legislatures have drafted a revision to the DUI bill. The new law will alter the language that officers must read to drivers after they are pulled over. Drivers will no longer be informed that their refusal to take a breathalyzer test may be used against them. In the meantime, police departments in other counties are reworking procedures to aid in the granting of warrants.
Your DUI Defense Under the New Ruling
The Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling should equate to good news for anyone who is pulled over on suspicion of a DUI in the future. Now, suspects can refuse a roadside breathalyzer without fear of criminal consequences. Given the notorious unreliability of roadside breathalyzers, this is a positive outcome for anyone pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. If you have been arrested for a DUI, now is the time to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer for assistance.