In a recent unanimous decision, the Georgia Supreme Court issued what could be a dramatic blow to the state’s “implied consent” law. The concept of that law is that by applying for and receiving a Georgia driver’s license, you’ve already given your “implied consent” to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if an officer reasonably suspects that you were driving under the influence. While you can refuse to take the test and essentially “revoke” that consent (and the officer can’t force you to give a sample), there are serious consequences that will automatically follow your refusal, including a mandatory one-year license suspension and use of that refusal against you in court, even if you are ultimately not convicted on a DUI charge.
The Court held that “a suspect’s right under the Fourth Amendment to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the compelled withdrawal of blood, and the extraction of blood is a search within the meaning of the Georgia Constitution.” The Court concluded that under the current way of obtaining consent – an officer essentially telling a driver to agree to give a sample or lose their license – is in effect a compelled withdrawal and likely unconstitutional.
That case made it all the way to the state’s highest court because the lawyer for the defendant had moved to suppress the blood test evidence (which showed that the driver was well over the legal limit) on the grounds that it was illegally obtained. Moving to exclude or suppress evidence in a DUI case is one of a number of ways to defend against a DUI charge.
Other ways that an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer will attack the prosecutor’s case include:
Challenging the Legality of the Stop
Police officers must have a lawful reason to pull you over. They are not permitted to target specific drivers or certain vehicles because a particular car or motorist “looks” a certain way. Furthermore, if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, he needs a separate, independent reason backed by probable cause or a reasonable suspicion that you are impaired to question you about drinking and driving.
Miranda Rights Violations
The police are required to inform you of your right to speak to an attorney upon your arrest. If they fail to provide this Miranda Warning, or they provide an inadequate warning, the court could dismiss the charges against you.
Improperly Calibrated Breathalyzer
As I discuss in detail here, there are a number of common problems with breathalyzers that can be the basis for attacking the validity of its results. The law requires police departments to maintain their breathalyzer equipment and to perform routine calibration checks. They must also maintain proper records of their maintenance. If the machine used in your arrest was not properly maintained or calibrated, it could be enough to dismiss your case.
Alan Welch: Your Brunswick and Southeast Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing a DUI charge, give me a call today at (912) 265-9811 for a free consultation. Together, we’ll work to preserve your driving privileges and develop the best defense strategy for your particular case that will allow you to move forward with your life. I look forward to speaking with you.
This website has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.