The Georgia Supreme Court has issued a new ruling that could affect drunk driving suspects in the state and make it more difficult to convict them. According to the court, the way that blood samples are taken from drunk driving suspects is unconstitutional in many cases. Defense attorneys, prosecutors and police will be gathering to discuss the ruling this week.
In the Georgia case that the justices ruled on, a driver was accused of dangerously weaving through traffic and failing to maintain his lane. Police pulled him over and performed a routine blood test. The test showed that the man had three prescription drugs in his system. One of the drugs he had taken at 2.5 times the usual dose. The test evidence was used to convict the man. However, the supreme court says that the test evidence was unconstitutionally obtained in this case, so it overturned the conviction.
Law Denies Fourth Amendment Rights
In the decision, the Georgia Supreme Court said that the state's Implied Consent Law dictates that drivers suspected of drunk driving will lose their driving privileges if they do not submit to testing of their blood, breath, urine or some other kind of bodily substance. Due to the threatening language of the Implied Consent Law, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that the man in this case was denied his Constitutional right to refuse the tests. The court ruled that this represented a violation of the man's Fourth Amendment rights, which protect him from unwarranted searches.
More Drivers May Refuse Testing
The court's ruling on this case could result in more Georgia drivers refusing to submit to various alcohol tests. Nevertheless, officers will still have the right to arrest suspects and seek a proper search warrant to perform the tests later. Also, it is important to remember that drivers can be convicted of DUI in criminal court based on witness testimony and field sobriety tests alone; therefore, a blood or urine test is not required for a conviction to occur.
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