DUI Law in Georgia continues to change. First, by rulings in the Georgia Supreme Court, and now by the Georgia Legislature. That latest change was an adjustment to Georgia’s Implied Consent law.
GEORGIA’S OLD LAW
The Implied Consent law for people over the age of 21 created wording for officers to read to people suspected of a DUI. Prior to March of this year, it explained that as a driver in Georgia, people suspected of driving drunk were expected to submit blood, breath or urine tests. It explained that if the person refused those tests, their driver’s license would be suspended and the refusal could be used against them in court.
But then, last year, the Supreme Court decided that Georgia drivers have a constitutional right to refuse a breathalyzer test in the court case Olevik v. State. This February, the Court further enumerated this right in Elliot v. State. In this case, they ruled that the refusal to submit a breath test could not be used against a person in court.
So, in March, the Georgia Legislature quickly adjusted the language of the law. They removed the statement that a breathalyzer refusal could be used against a suspect in court. Now, this potentially incriminating evidence only applies to the refusal of a blood test.
Members of the Legislature are looking at ways to reintroduce a breathalyzer requirement. But, this would probably require a change in the wording of the Georgia Constitution. Legislators need approval from two-thirds of the State House, Senate and voters to accomplish that.
At present, the refusal to take a breathalyzer test can still result in a one-year administrative suspension of a person’s license. This may eventually change, as well.
One thing is certain. Now more than ever, those accused of a DUI should seek an attorney that is well versed in the nuances of these legal changes.
Arrested and Need Help? Call Ashley Schiavone
If you are arrested for DUI, we advise you to contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible. Ashley Schiavone can take a look at your case and see if there are ways your charges can be reduced or if it is a case that can be tried in court.