Like most states, Georgia has an “implied consent law.” This means that if you drive on Georgia roads, you are required by law to submit a blood, breath, or urine test if you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving. You do have a right to request which test you submit to and to request an independent test at your own expense. You also have a right to refuse this test. However, refusal to take a DUI chemical test has always been used against DUI suspects in court and prosecutors usually argue that a refusal indicates you had something to hide.
Now, however, some of the state’s DUI laws may be changing. In February, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a portion of the state’s DUI law. In particular, they stated that a driver’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test could not be held against them in criminal court. Why? They found that refusing to submit to a breath test violated the Georgia Constitution protections against self-incrimination. The state Legislature will need to now rewrite the law to address the concerns of the court.
The new ruling means that instead of being forced to submit to a breathalyzer test, driver’s may now be able to refuse this test without fear of it being used against them in court. It also means that arresting police officers must get a warrant before taking suspects to an appropriate medical facility to take blood or urine tests. This could have a significant impact on officers in more rural areas.
When a police officer suspects a drunk driver, they will need to take the suspected driver to a hospital, clinic or a jail that has trained workers who can perform either blood or urine tests. They will also need to obtain a warrant in order to do so. Warrants will either need to be obtained electronically or in some cases, judges may need to be woken up in the middle of the night to sign off on a DUI warrant. This can delay DUI charges and impact DUI test results significantly.
Georgia DUI laws are constantly changing, and it is unclear how this new ruling will affect DUI stops in Atlanta in the future. As such, if you are arrested and charged with DUI in Atlanta, it is important that you speak to an experienced Atlanta DUI defense lawyer immediately to protect your rights and fight these charges. You may be able to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced.
Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a DUI in Atlanta?
Have you been arrested and charged with a DUI in Atlanta or anywhere in the state of Georgia? At Schnipper Law, P.C., our Atlanta DUI defense attorneys can help you protect your rights and your driving record after a DUI arrest. DUI laws are constantly changing in Georgia, and as such, refusing a breathalyzer may no longer be used against you in court. To learn more about your legal rights, you need an experienced law firm on your side. Call Schnipper Law P.C., at (404) 545-5845 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Let us get to work protecting your future.